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No matter what time of the year it is, the best time to start saving money is now! When it comes to money, you can never be too late. The modern lifestyle brings so many expenses and unexpected expenditures that having savings becomes a necessary security blanket. A money-saving challenge is a perfect solution!
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Having said that, it is easy to make plans rather than follow them, right? One of the best ways I have found to stay on track with savings is to participate in a money saving challenge. There are so many types available which ensures everybody will be able to find one that resonates with them and their situation.
With these money saving challenges, you will easily be able to save up a considerable amount of money before the year ends. Oh, and these challenges are absolutely doable. Are you ready to save?
Here is a quick index of the savings challenges we describe in this post:
- Monthly Saving Challenge
- 26-Week Savings Challenge
- No Spend Challenge
- Spare Change Challenge
- 365 Day Savings Challenge
- Coin Challenge
- Lesser Is Better Challenge
- Automatic Money Transfer Challenge
1. The ‘Monthly Saving Challenge’
For this challenge, all you have to do is to make a table and set a fixed amount per month for saving. You could approach this a number of different ways. The simplest is to just pick a dollar amount to save for the month and add that amount as your savings line item on your budget.
That’s not really a “challenge” though is it? It’s certainly not as much fun. A savings challenge is more meant to find savings above and beyond what you would normally save for the month.
I like the idea of a monthly savings challenge because you aren’t locked into a long period of time like some of the other challenges. Also, you can get started mid-year without feeling like you “failed” the first part of the challenge.
It is important to consider that some months have fewer holidays than others, and you will be able to save much more during these months. Similarly, a few months will be very heavy on expenses because of holidays, travel, and festivities. Hence, your savings will not be as much during these months.
All these details should be considered when you create your monthly saving target list. You should strive to save at least as much as you have planned every month. If you are able to do so, by the end of the year, you will be able to save a significant amount of money.
I have created a number of awesome monthly savings challenges just for you! The free printables are all available in my resource library!
2. The “52-Week Savings Challenge”
The 52-week savings challenge is great for those of you who receive a weekly paycheck. It’s fairly simple, choose how much you want to save over the course of the year and start saving!
Traditional 52-Week Savings Challenge
The traditional 52-week challenge starts with $1 saved on week 1, $2 saved on week 2 and ends with $52 saved on week 52. By the end of the year, you have saved $1,378.
You aren’t limited to $1 though. That is the usual amount you’ll see when individuals reference a 52 week challenge. That number could be changed, though, to be $.10 for saving $137.80 for the year (a GREAT challenge if you have a low income or, to get the kids on board with saving).
Alternatively, if your income allows it, add a zero and start with $10 working your way up to $520 for the week. Now. while that probably isn’t doable for most people reading this blog, that would amount to $13,780 saved for the year which would be a huge chunk towards a fully funded emergency fund or down savings for a home.
The problem that some may encounter with this method is that leaves the most money saved during the busy (and expensive) holiday season. For example, in December, theoretically, you would be trying to save $49, $50, $51 and $52 each week respectively. To try and avoid that, try the reverse 52-week savings challenge.
Reverse 52-Week Savings Challenge
This savings challenge works just like the traditional version however, the amounts are reversed. Week 1 you would be saving $52, Week 2 you would save $51 and so on. With the reverse method of the 52-week saving challenge, you are saving less during the very busy Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. The last four weeks of the year would only be a total of $10 needing to be saved.
Fixed Amount 52-Week Savings Challenge
With the fixed amount version of the 52-week savings challenge you are saving the same amount each week. The amount could be anything, $10 a week results in a savings of $520 at the end of the year. Increase that to $40 and you are up to $2,080 saved for the year. The benefit is, the amount doesn’t change so you know each week how much you need to save.
3. The “26-Week Savings Challenge”
Just as with the 52-week savings challenge, the 26-week challenge is great for those of us who get paid twice a month. My job pays me on the 15th and the last day of each month so this type of challenge is easier for me than the 52-week challenge because I can just transfer the money into savings right when I get paid.
This savings challenge also has variations using amounts that increase (or decrease for a reverse challenge) each saving period. There are also variations to save for a specific dollar amount total goal or to save a specific amount each paycheck (i.e. $100 for $2,600 saved at the end of the year).
4. The ‘No Spend Challenge’
Don’t be scared by the name of the challenge. This is a short-term version of challenges that require you to cut down on your expenditures by not spending on unnecessary items.
This challenge is also sometimes called the “Spending Freeze Challenge”.
Typically this challenge is very popular in November. Around that time of year you are sure to see a lot of people talking about “No-Spend November”! But, this challenge can be done at any time of the year.
To do this challenge, you dedicated a few days or weeks each year where you will buy only the most essential items. For example, if you have been eating out a lot, this challenge would require you not to do so for one full month. You will be surprised at the amount that you can save by doing a no-spend challenge.
Typically, you will want to establish rules for the challenge that fit your household. For example, determine what expenses are allowed. Obviously, you can’t cut out necessary expenses like rent and utilities. Everything else though, including food, is up for grabs.
Most No-Spend Challenge printables will include a box for each day so you can color in the days you didn’t spend anything. Alternatively, you can just use a sticker in your planner to track your no-spend days. Your goal with this challenge is to get as many “stickers” or no spend days as possible.
Your no-spend challenge can be as strict or specific as you like. For example, Kumiko Ehrmantraut at The Budget Mom has a series of 12 savings challenges, one of which is “Make Your Own Coffee October” where the goal is to cut out any purchased coffee and make your own at home.
5. The ‘Spare Change Challenge’
Remember the piggy banks that we all had as children? This challenge will take you down that memory lane. All you have to do is to collect all the spare change that you can find in your pockets every night.
It might not seem like much right now, but when you do it over a dedicated period of time, you will be pleasantly surprised with the amount you see in that jar (or piggybank).
The best part of this challenge is that it does not ask you to cut down your expenses consciously, and thus, you don’t feel like you have been asked to give up on something.
If you are doing the envelope method of budgeting, it will be even easier. Take your coins from each envelope at the end of the day and set them aside. How much are you able to save in a week? What about a month?
In contrast to some of the other challenges, the spare change challenge has no restrictions on how much you put into your piggy bank, as long as you are putting in something. That means you won’t be able to predict the total amount saved at the end of the year, but you will surely get a significant amount in your piggy bank if you don’t break the challenge.
6. The ‘365 Day Savings Challenge’
This might appear similar to the spare change challenge but has subtle differences. In the daily saving challenge, you establish a fixed amount of money that you will save every day.
You could increase the amount saved each day like the 52-week challenge. This amount can be as little as you wish, even as little as $0.01. Ideally, your savings on the next day should be more than that of the day before. Thus, if you start with $0.01 on the first day, $0.02 on the next day, and so on, you will end up saving $3.65 on the 365th day, with your savings totaling to $667.95! It is truly amazing what small steps can do.
I’ve written a complete guide on 10 different ways you can spin the penny challenge including the “double trouble” challenge.
Saving a fixed amount works just as well. $1 saved each day will result in $365 saved at the end of the year. $5 saved each day results in $1,825!
7. The ‘Coin Challenge’
This one is super interesting for those who don’t want to plan and commit a fixed amount for saving every week. In this fun and easy challenge, all you have to do is to save one coin of any denomination. If you choose dimes, for example, each day you’ll check your pockets, purse or cash envelopes for any dimes you have acquired throughout the day. You’ll set those aside in a jar or envelope to be saved.
At the end of the month, count up how much you have saved. This would mean that you will have variable savings, but something is better than nothing, isn’t it?
This challenge has the advantage of being the least restrictive, and that’s why it is ideal for people who don’t want to miss out on anything and still end up saving something.
This challenge is great for four types of people.
- Those on very tight budgets.
- Those not aiming for a fixed amount to be saved per month.
- Those of you on a zero-based budget who want to be able to save a little extra above what was budgeted each month.
8. The ‘Lesser is Better Challenge’
Although this one doesn’t qualify as a conventional money saving challenge, like the ones mentioned above, this challenge is extremely unique and fun.
With the KonMari Method being so popular, this challenge is great on two fronts. It helps you to declutter your home and, potentially brings in some extra cash!
You have to make a list of all items in your house that you no longer need. Your aim should be to sell off these items and keep the earnings in your savings account.
Pick 12 categories of items, one for each month to make it easy to get going on this challenge. Throughout the month, put all items into a bin. At the end of the month decide if you want to list them or donate them. If you sell them, record that money as income for the month. If you donate them, be sure to get a donation receipt for your accountant and do the same.
This challenge is gaining immense popularity because it not only allows you to save money, it also helps in decluttering your house. With less clutter in the house, you will also save a lot of money that would otherwise be sent on its upkeep and maintenance.
Imagine how much money you can save by adopting this practice for the whole year!
9. The ‘Automatic Money Transfer Challenge’
This challenge is for the brave hearts who are ready to dedicate a fixed amount to be directly debited from their bank accounts and saved in a separate savings account.
You have the freedom to choose the amount that you wish to be transferred, depending on your salary and expenses, and also on your saving target. The advantage of this challenge is that you won’t have to consciously remember putting money aside for saving.
The disadvantage is that once you have fixed the amount, you cannot have a monthly variation. Choose this method if you have a steady inflow of cash every month and your expenses are more or less defined.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to have the automatic withdrawal come out on the same day or day after your paycheck is deposited. In fact, my company offers me the option to have my direct deposit split into two accounts.
I can set a fixed amount for one account and the second account gets the balance. I have been doing this for years and it works out great because I never “see” the saving amount. I do my entire budget off of what gets deposited into my main account.
Thus, we see that there are plenty of fun and interesting ways to save money without burdening yourself. The seven money-saving challenges that have been described above are suitable for a variety of people.
Since most of these challenges allow variations in the amount that you save per month, these challenges are easy to complete. However, along with these challenges, you should also void unnecessary expenses and impulsive purchases.
After all, saving money is all about making choices. Are you ready to save money this year?
Which money-saving challenge appealed to you the most? Let us know in the comments below.