Disclaimer: The statements made in this post are the opinion of the author. They should not be viewed as financial advice. Please consult with a financial specialist before making any financial decisions.
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It is hard to save money, so any way that we can help ourselves save money can really boost our finances. Saving money challenges are just the way to do it.
When saving money is a game, it becomes easier to save because you want to do it. It is no longer a nice idea but a concrete goal that you can achieve.
So if you want to save money, try a money challenge.
What Should I Save Money For?
When doing a money challenge it is important to have a goal in mind. What is the point of all of this saving anyway?
There are many reasons you can save your money. These include:
- Preparing for a large purchase like a car
- Putting money aside for your or your children’s education
- Having a enough money to avoid debt during Christmas or other holidays
- Saving a down payment
- Building your emergency fund
- Replenishing your savings account after an unexpected purchase
- Going on vacation (without credit card regret)
- Jumpstarting your investing
- And anything else you spend money on!
Where Should I Save My Money?
I would highly recommend that all of your savings from any money challenge get put into a high yield savings account. There are many different places you can get a high yield account, I personally use Ally Bank.
As of right now Ally Bank’s Saving’s account interest rate is over 12 times higher than the national average. On top of that it is entirely online so you can use them anywhere.
High yield account rates are always changing, so if you want to compare accounts I would recommend searching “High Yield Savings Account Comparison” to get the most up to date information.
What is a Money Challenge?
A money challenge is simply a contest with yourself to see how much money you can save in a certain period of time.
Sometimes the goal is to hit a certain amount saved. Other times the goal is to save for a certain amount of time and see what you end up with. Either way it should be goal driven to get the best results.
Based on my research, money challenges can be broken down into a few main categories.
- 30 Day Money Challenges (sometimes 90 days)
- 1 Year Money Challenges
- No Spend Challenges
- Spare Change Challenges
- Other Fun Money Challenges
30 Day Money Challenges
A 30 day money challenge usually gives a target goal of how much money you want to save in the next 30 days and breaks that down into 30 chunks so you know how much to save each day.
Here are the best examples of 30 day money challenges.
Save $500 in 30 Days
The save $500 in 30 Days challenge is pretty doable for many people. If you were to simply divide 20 by $500 you would need to save about $17 per day to reach your goal. The great thing about challenges is that they can be a bit more flexible when needed.
This money challenge gives different amounts for each day ranging from $4 to $32 dollars. This is helpful because while in a perfect world you would save $4 the first day then $6 then second day and $26 the 12th day (as shown above) that isn’t always going to happen.
You can mix and match if you need to and that is hugely beneficial.
Save $1,000 in 30 Days
The save $1,000 in 30 Days is a lot like the $5,00 challenge. This one comes with a high quality printable, so make sure to check that out and support the creator of this challenge.
The fun thing about the printable is you get to color in each amount that you save. This way you get $1,000 in your savings account and a fun coloring project!
Just remember you don’t have to go in order. One day you can save $5 and the next you can save $55, as long as it fits your needs.
1 Year Money Challenges
While 30 days money challenges are broken down by how much you need to save each day, a 1 year challenge is usually broken up weekly or biweekly.
There are a couple of reasons for this. Keeping track on a sheet with each day and a different amount to save would be time consuming and annoying. Breaking down a year into months can make the amounts you save daunting. Weekly is the best of both worlds.
Here are the best 1 year money challenges.
Save $1,000 in One Year
The save $1,000 in one year challenge is great be cause what you save when is up to you. If one week you get a huge doctor’s bill then you then you can save a measly $3. If you have another week that leaves you feeling pretty rich you can save $48. It is up to you.
Just remember that you will save $1,000 over the course of an entire year, so this is not a get rich quick scheme or an extreme minimalism budget. You just need to do your best to save one of those amounts each week and you’ll have $1,000 in savings at the end of the year.
26 Paycheck Challenge
The 26 paycheck challenge is a modification of the $1,000 in one year challenge. This challenge is meant for people that get paid biweekly. So instead of randomly saving money every week you can save some money with every paycheck.
The other great thing about this system is that it ramps up how much you save during times that typically see less spending (like early April or mid September) while keeping how much you save low in the middle of the summer and in December.
This challenge should be doable for anyone that gets paid biweekly since the highest amount you’ll need to set aside is just $60.
Save $5,000 in One Year
The save $5,000 in one year money challenge is just like the $1,000 challenge, but more intense. But to show you that it is possible if you want to, let me point out that the most you will need to save in any week is $155.
Save $10,000 in One Year
The save $10,000 in one year challenge is a big thing to ask of someone who doesn’t make a lot of money. So I don’t expect that many of you will start with saving $10,000 in one year.
But if you are really committed to something, then you can save $10,00 in a year with a maximum of $310 saved a week. If you really put some hustle in and cut your expenses this is doable. So if you’re interested then go for it!
No Spend Challenges
No spend money challenges are just different ways that you can go about reducing your spending. It helps keep your spending and expenses in check while also tapping into your competitive spirit.
The best way to approach a no spend money challenge is set a goal and a reward for when you reach that goal. But please note that the reward should not involve spending a bunch of the money you just saved!
Here are the best no spend challenges.
The No Spend Challenge
The no spend challenge is almost exactly what it sounds like. The basic idea is you go for a certain period of time, whether that is a day, a week, a month, or more, without buying anything (other than the essentials).
That means that you still pay your mortgage, your car payment, your bills, you can buy necessary food and gas for your car, etc. But you are cutting out everything that isn’t absolutely necessary.
Unnecessary things you can cut include eating out, entertainment, shopping, hobby buying, pretty much anything on Amazon, etc. By cutting these things out you dramatically increase your savings.
The pantry challenge is like a no spend challenge, but for food. Instead of thinking up what you want to eat and going to buy the ingredients, you look at the ingredients you already have and you decide what to eat based on that.
This doesn’t have to be long, but the goal should be to clear out pretty much everything you have to avoid waste. A good timeframe for a no pantry challenge is about one week.
By eating what you already have you avoid throwing away food (read money) and you don’t spend money on food for a week. This can have a huge impact on your grocery budget!
No Go Challenge
The no go challenge is something that I made up, unlike most of these challenges. It is simply to turn your date night out into date night in. This is helpful for a number of reasons.
First, you don’t spend money driving around. Second, you don’t buy over priced tickets to basically anything. Third, you get to be creative and have fun with the person you love and not NEXT TO the person you love.
Here are some ideas on what to do at home, but remember that the more you get to actually interact with your partner for a lower price the better!
Spare Change Challenges
Spare change money challenges take that little bit of extra cash you have lying around and build on it to have large amounts of savings. These challenges are getting more difficult, especially with a coin shortage going on, but there are some electronic options too if you are interested in those.
Here are the best spare change challenges.
The Spare Change Challenge
The spare change money challenge is the basic piggy bank method of saving spare change. Any extra coins you have you put into a jar. Then total it all up at the end of a certain period of time. This is usually most effective over a long time like a full year.
This can be a great chunk of change to throw at debt or fund Christmas shopping to end the year. Another great option is to use this for charitable giving, whether that is to a family in need that you know or to an organization of your choice.
The $5 Challenge
The $5 saving challenge is unique because it is random and targets a certain type of money. The basic idea is whenever a $5 lands in your wallet you save it instead of spend it. You never know when you’ll get a 5 dollar bill, but it also is pretty easy to give it up to savings.
This has the potential to save you just a few dollars or a few hundred dollars each year depending on how much you use cash.
The next step up variation on this is the $10 challenge where you save every ten dollar bill you get. Either way, you get to save money in a pretty painless way.
One Penny More Challenge
The one penny more challenge as I like to call it is simple. Every day you save one penny more than you did yesterday. The first day you save $0.01 and the second day you save $0.02 and so forth.
By the end of the year you will have only saved $3.65 maximum on any given day, but your total savings will by $667.96! Talk about the power of pennies.
Rolling Weekly Savings Challenge
The rolling weekly savings challenge is a break down of a yearly challenge into spare change parts. All you have to do is save $1 on Monday, $2 on Tuesday and so forth to $7 on Sunday then start over on Monday.
By doing this you effectively save $28 a week which comes down to $1,456 a year. That is a sizeable chunk of money for something so small.
If you want more money try rolling it every two weeks with your paycheck (saving $14 on the last Sunday). That way you save $105 every two weeks or $2730 in a year.
Other Fun Money Challenges
There are way more money challenges out there, but they all amount to fun ways to save money on a regular basis. For a taste of these ideas, check out these other money saving games.
Money Saving BINGO
The Money Saving BINGO card is just a fun way to save money. The whole idea is you save a different amount each day (whatever you can afford that day) and at the end of 24 days you will have saved $300.
What I like about this, especially for people that are just starting, is you can have little wins. Try for a bingo and reward yourself in some small way. When you get a black out celebrate with a fancy home cooked meal, etc.
This can be motivating because you will win often!
The Christmas Savings Challenge
Depending on when you read this, it might be too close or too far from Christmas to do the Christmas savings challenge shown here, but the idea is still good. Start preparing for the holidays in advance by challenging yourself to save a little every week.
This challenge has the amount you save increase every week until Christmas, I personally would recommend the opposite so you have a little more breathing room around the holidays to spend on experiences with your family.
Either way, not letting Christmas knock you off of your financial feet makes this a worthwhile challenge.
Saving Money Challenge Tips
Money challenges are meant to be fun ways to get a few extra dollars to stay in our pockets. That means that it is up to us how we use them.
The worst outcome is to start a money saving challenge, deciding it is too burdensome, and giving up.
Adjust and tweak the challenges to your needs then grow from there.
If you are in the midst of one challenge and it is too easy, consider ramping up to the next challenge. There is no reason you have to stick with the $1,000 in a year challenge if you realize that you could actually make it to $5,000 instead.
Many of these challenges aren’t mutually exclusive as well. That means you can do more than one.
The rolling weekly savings challenge could be a great baseline to start from. And everyone can do the spare change challenge. If saving for one challenge is getting tight that week try the no spend or the pantry challenge.
Mix and match to meet your needs.
What are some creative ways you can think of to save money? Have you tried one of these challenges? How did it go? Tell me about it in the comments below.
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A list of definitions used on this blog can be found here.
Down Payment: An amount that you pay up front that is a portion of the total price of something you are getting a loan for. Usually you have down payments on houses, cars, and other large purchases.
Emergency Fund: Money set aside to be used in emergencies only. When you use money from your emergency fund you will need to replenish it as soon as you can.
Savings Account: Where you place money while you are trying to save up for an upcoming expense or to have on hand when needed that isn’t your regular checking account. It is different than and emergency fund.
Investing: Giving an entity (or an individual) money whether in the form of stocks, bonds, or buying any other type of asset in hopes of getting more money back in the form of interest.
High Yield Savings Account: A savings account that pays interest above the national average. Usually this is much closer to keeping up with inflation although it is a bit lower than that. While rates vary, around 1% is a high yield in 2020.