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When it comes to saving money, whether it’s for a holiday, an emergency fund, or just for extra spending on the house, I believe it’s not so much about the money as it is about discipline.
Let’s all admit it, we don’t need to have an extra hundred dollars to start saving. We can start with just a dollar every day. So, enter money-saving challenges! Not only are they effective in making sure we’re hitting a savings target, but they can help us build a savings habit through consistent regular practice.
A challenge may sound exactly like it is–challenging. But I always find it exciting, a learning experience, and a major accomplishment once you hit your goal. So, here are a few reminders to help you succeed in your next money-saving challenge.
Sure, there’s nothing like the idea of a thousand dollars at the end of the year as enough motivation. But if you treat your money-saving challenge like a game, you’ll find it even more exciting.
Make the idea of saving more appealing by identifying a purpose for why you want to save in the first place. I’ve found that if I know how (or where) I’m going to spend all that money, whether it’s for a vacation or a home appliance I’ve been wanting to buy for months, I’m more determined to consistently tuck away a penny (or two) as often as I can.
Create a virtual pot in your current account where you can set aside the money for your savings challenge. Or you can even go old school and get yourself a piggy bank or a jar (whatever tickles your fancy) where you can put the money. The important thing is, it’s someplace that you can’t easily access or withdraw
It’s easy to get super excited and overwhelm yourself with multiple challenges – only to realize you haven’t done a proper study of your monthly money-in, money-out. Part of committing to a money-saving challenge is taking a good long look at your lifestyle habits and knowing which items you can cut down on so that the money typically spent on these things will be diverted into your savings instead.
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Before you jumpstart your next money-saving challenges, let me share a few tricks that will help you boost your savings.
Most people don’t know that they can earn cash back each time they buy groceries using this free app. If you love mailer couponing, then you’ll love Ibotta because it is the digital version of it. It’s so easy to use–simply scan your grocery receipts using the app, and you’ll earn cash back from your purchases.
Ibotta will also give you up to a $20 welcome bonus for signing up today. You can sign up here to receive the bonus!
I use Ibotta every week, and it has paid me over $1000 for buying groceries I would buy anyway. It’s free money you can use to complete your money-saving challenges!
When I shop online, I always do my shopping through Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) to earn cash back from my purchases.
Rakuten is a cashback online portal or website that is affiliated with over 2500 stores (Amazon, Macy’s, Apple, etc.) These stores pay Rakuten for referring customers to their sites and in turn, Rakuten splits the payment with you!
You can earn up to forty percent cash back when you shop online through Rakuten. A bonus? You’ll also receive $10 FREE here for signing up and using the cashback site.
I’ve received over $1000 from Rakuten, and I think it’s amazing because it’s technically FREE money.
Find a Side Hustle
If you are living paycheck to paycheck and you think that you don’t have enough money to save, find a side hustle! The good thing is that with the Internet, there are more ways than ever to make money! You might even be surprised at how many money-making opportunities you have online–from watching videos and answering surveys, to proofreading and blogging.
Explore these posts below to get ideas:
- 15 Best Stay-at-Home Mom Jobs that Pay Well
- How to Make $100 a Day Without a Real Job
- How to Make Money Online Without Paying Anything
- 15 Part-Time Night Jobs from Home
Easiest Ways to Make Money Online
- Swagbucks – Get paid to answer surveys, watch videos or shop online! Get a welcome bonus here for just signing up!
- MyPoints – Earn points to read emails, answer surveys, shop online, or play games and convert your points into cash. Get up to $10 bonus with your first purchase.
- InboxDollars – Get paid to answer surveys and more. Get $5 free for joining here.
- Buy groceries for other people and get paid for it. Become an Instacart shopper here and get paid up to $16.49 per hour!
- Branded Surveys- Get paid instantly by answering simple questions. Join now!
- Neighbor– Rent out your extra space at home and make money. Join Neighbor!
- Looking for a job? FlexJobs is my recommended job site for flexible, work-from-home jobs. Get an exclusive discount of up to 30 percent off with the promo code FLEXLIFE.
Let’s begin with the easiest of them all, very low pressure, and you won’t even be kept on a firm schedule: tucking away every one-dollar bill you get, whether they’re several one-dollar bills you dug up by chance in your pockets or change from a grocery trip.
Put away every one-dollar bill you get your hands on and forget about them. This challenge doesn’t require a weekly or even a daily payout so it’s like shooting for the moon as far as a savings target is concerned. But you just might be surprised come the end of the year at how many $1 bills you’ve managed to save!
This is another manageable challenge for those of you who get paid monthly. You can start with any amount in your first month and set a specific amount for succeeding deposits or double or triple up amounts on certain months.
This challenge is perfect if you have a variable income every month and cannot commit to a fixed amount, or you’re just starting and would just like to build the habit of saving money on a regular basis, no matter the amount.
Now that you’ve gotten the hang of saving every spare dollar you can find and regularly depositing something into your savings pot, it’s time to up the game and increase the increments of the amount you’re tucking away on a daily or weekly basis.
Begin with something simple and less intimidating such as this $1 for 52-weeks challenge. Save a dollar on week 1, double it up on week 2 at $2, triple it up on week 3 with a $3 deposit, and so on.
By week 52, you will have saved $1,378! The idea is to consistently increase the money you’re putting into your savings every week. It’s a good way of building a positive outlook toward the idea of saving and realizing that as we grow older or earn more, we should be increasing our savings instead of scaling down.
If you have more cash to spare, try this challenge, maybe for another savings goal such as new furniture or Disney tickets. By the end of the 52 weeks, you would have saved $1820! I spread out a four-week cycle of $20-40-30-50 payouts to my savings pot until I complete all 52 weeks.
Depending on your weekly income and expenses (money-in, money-out), you can change up the order of the amount that you deposit. The trick is setting a consistent pattern so it’s easy to remember and tracking your progress and the money you’re supposed to be saving every week.
Get your free printable for this challenge here.
You can set this as your final challenge when you feel that you’ve gained enough discipline and control over your spending and saving habits. I know that a no-spend challenge almost sounds impossible, especially for moms and households with kids. One thing to note though is that this should be a decision that you and your partner should agree on and commit to. It doesn’t have to be as radical as it sounds.
After a proper review of your finances, try a one-month no-spend challenge–don’t spend on anything except necessities. If you want to push the envelope further, you can then go on a three-month no-spend on clothes challenge, for instance. You can \test this out by setting no-spend days first, setting aside a day or two of the week during which you don’t spend a single penny on anything.
The beauty of this challenge is that it can push us to carefully evaluate the items in our expense list that we can eliminate by choosing free alternatives instead. It can lead to a beautiful lifestyle change that can prove to be lighter for our homes and our wallets.
This money challenge is as straightforward as it gets. Each time you get spare change from your purchases when using cash, the spare change goes straight to your money jar or piggy bank. This is a terrific way to keep the saving momentum going, especially when you see the money jar filling up over time. When the jar is full, you can deposit the coins into your account, and restart the process.
You might think this challenge won’t work for you if you use debit or credit cards most of the time. Fortunately, there are investing apps like Acorns that take your spare change from your card purchases and then invest them for you. When you attach your Acorns account to your credit or debit card, the app runs in the background and does the investing for you.
This is an amazing alternative for people who aren’t very knowledgeable about investing, or simply don’t have the time and energy to track their investments.
If you want a more fun and challenging money-saving experience that will help you save over $1000 in 44 days, this is for you! This cute Honeycomb Savings Tracker can help you stay motivated while saving to hit your goal. Include this tracker in your budget/ finance binder or simply hang it up on your wall or visual board to always be reminded of your goals!
8. Bad Habit Challenge
I know many of us are guilty of spending on little things, like those $5 coffees you can’t resist on the way to work. Dropping $5 each day on coffee won’t stop you from becoming wealthy. But if you think of saving that $5 per day for a month, you could have some money to spend on something more important or meaningful.
It’s not necessarily just about commercial coffee though. Maybe you spend way too much on Friday night parties. The bad habit challenge is all about restraining yourself from spending on these vices so you can put the money elsewhere. It may be difficult to stop smoking or buying coffee all at once, so try to challenge yourself for maybe a week or a month to start.
The one percent money-saving challenge is for people who struggle to start saving. Maybe they think saving is too much of a chore or too restrictive, so they end up not saving at all. But if you start small, at one percent, you could build the momentum to get saving for the entire year.
The challenge is all about finding one percent of your monthly income and saving it. To make it simpler, just take the last two digits of your paycheck and put it into savings.
The next month, you increase the rate to two percent, the following month save three percent, and so on. By the end of your 12-month cycle, you would have saved quite a decent amount, to say, fund your future travel, increase your emergency fund, or add to your savings.
To succeed in this challenge, you want to create a separate bank account that’s dedicated to your savings. Each time you receive your paycheck, transfer one percent right away (or whatever percent you’re due to add to savings that month), and forget it. This is a money-saving challenge monthly method that will get you rolling with your savings, little by little, until the habit grows on you.
If you want to add a bit of fun surprise into your saving strategy, then you’ll definitely want to do the Weather Wednesdays Challenge. Every Wednesday, you’ll look up the temperatures in your entire state and take note of the highest one. That figure will be what you have to save this week. So, if it was ninety degrees, then you’d have to save $90.
The amount you’ll save will be totally random, so be sure to expect the unexpected. During the colder seasons, you’d be saving smaller amounts. But if you tend to have hot summers, you want to keep some extra cash just in case the temperature goes over your prepared amount. There’s some pressure involved in this challenge, but it does help you build up savings faster.
What can you buy with a $5 bill? Your favorite cup of latte, two classic McDonald’s hamburgers, or perhaps a piece of sheet mask. But instead of spending that $5 bill on unnecessary things, why not make it invisible by saving it?
There’s only one rule in this challenge: take every $5 bill you come across and put it into a money jar. You don’t want to count the cash to keep the excitement. This is perfect for people who use cash regularly.
You don’t want to count the bills until you’ve reached the end of your saving period. This is to keep the excitement coming. If you’re saving for several things, such as a vacation, a home appliance, or a minor home improvement, keep separate jars for each saving goal. This money challenge can be an incredible way to save money without really noticing it.
If you follow the rules of this challenge strictly, you should be able to save $5,050 in six months. Sounds crazy, right? But it’s certainly doable!
So, for this challenge, you get 100 envelopes. You write the numerals1 to 100 on the envelopes. Each week, for the next six months, you take two envelopes from your pile at random and check out their number. That digit would be what you have to save for that day. So if you’ve pulled out say #52 and #9 that day, then you should put $52 and $9 into their respective envelopes.
This money-saving challenge biweekly hack has been going quite viral lately, and loads of people have jumped onto the bandwagon. I think this saving method is more aggressive because you’ll have to save a certain amount each week, but it’s also a fantastic way to fast-track your savings. You just need to have the discipline and commitment to stick to it until the end. The element of surprise will lend more fun to this challenge.
If you want to pare down, you can adjust the frequency and/or the saving amount. For instance, you can do 50 envelopes instead of 100. At the end of six months, you will have saved $1,275.
If you are looking for more money-saving challenges such as the ones below, then check out my printables shop!
Ready to Rock Your Money-Saving Challenges?
Saving money doesn’t require us to have huge amounts of extra cash. These money-saving challenges show us that even with just a dollar every day or once a week, s done consistently and regularly, we can save and hit our money goals. What are your money-saving challenges?