15 Money Saving Challenges Everyone Should Try

Let's face it, saving money can be boring. Make it something you look forward to with these 15 money-saving challenges.

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Adam Moelis
Sep 17, 2021
5 min read

Huge numbers of hard-working Americans are in a vulnerable financial position right now. Indeed, 61% of people are unable to cover a $1000 emergency expense!

There are a few key reasons for this scary state of affairs:

First off, when your income barely covers your expenses, saving anything from your salary can be a challenge. Throw debt into the mix and it can seem downright impossible! Furthermore, the reality of saving often feels daunting, and, let’s face it, dull versus the instant gratification of spending.

If any of these factors resonate with you, then money saving challenges could hold a solution to the problem! Not only do they provide a simple strategy that facilitates saving, but they also turn the task into a game. Saving becomes fun!

Want to learn about some simple ways to save money and turn your financial situation? You’re in the right place. Today we’re going through 15 of the best challenges to save money that we've come across.

1. The No-Spend Challenge

Simple yet effective, a no-spend money challenge is exactly what it sounds like. You set a specific period of time in which you refuse to buy anything but the essentials!

Start by writing a list with two columns. On one side, jot down everything you’re allowed to spend money on (e.g. groceries, utility bills, gas, music lessons, and mortgage payments). On the other, you’ll include the non-essential expenses that are off the cards (e.g. new items of clothing or home décor).

Make this list as personal as possible. If Amazon Prime’s your Achilles heel, for instance, make sure you include it. You’d then stick that finished list on your refrigerator or desk to remind yourself what is and isn’t permissible.

2. The No-Spend Weekend Challenge

For a slight twist on our previous idea, why not stop spending money on a set weekend each month instead of for a specific time-frame? It could make the task more practical and less daunting, while still helping you save.

Another bonus to a no-spend weekend challenge is that you can do it on an ongoing basis. Try incorporating it into your calendar! Whenever it comes around, you can swap the restaurants for home-cooked meals, the movie theaters for TV series, and clothes stores for your current closet.

3. The Uncluttering Challenge

One of the simplest ways to bolster your bank account and stimulate your savings is to sell your possessions. You might have thousands of dollars worth of old and unwanted items in your house!

That’s where this decluttering challenge comes into play. From second-hand clothes to ancient electronics, gather everything together that you no longer want/need. Then set about selling them to people via yard sales, Craigslist, and eBay.

4. The No Dining Out Challenge

Eating out on a regular basis is kryptonite to your savings endeavors. Need proof? Households spend almost half of their total food budget this way!

The no dining out challenge is designed to address this issue. As the name suggests, you ditch the restaurants, cafes, and bars, and commit to home-cooked meals for a set time period. For anyone who’s in the habit of buying breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, this can be a shock to the system!

To make it work, try planning your meals in advance, cooking them in bulk, and experimenting with new and delicious recipes.

5. The Automated Savings Account Challenge

Want to know one of the really easy ways to save money? Put the task on auto-pilot. Work with your bank to set up an automatic monthly transfer from your checking account to your savings account.

This strategy removes all effort from the endeavor! You’ll no longer have to move money around manually or worry about ‘forgetting’ to save each month. Reducing the amount of capital in your checking account will also remove the temptation (not to mention your ability) to overspend.

6. The Negotiate a Raise Challenge

The secret to financial success isn’t saving, it’s earning. Why? Because your income potential’s limitless, whereas there’s a ceiling on how much you can save.

With that in mind, we challenge you to negotiate a raise with your employer! Asking for a pay increase might sound daunting, but it’s one of the easiest ways to boost your salary overnight. If you’ve been a long-standing asset to the team, you might be surprised at how willing your boss is to grant your request.

7. The 52-Weeks of Saving Challenge

The idea of saving money every day for an entire year might sound unfeasible. Yet that’s exactly what the infamous 52-week money challenge entails! Here’s how it works: each week of the year represents the dollar amount you’ll pay into a savings account.

In week one, you’d save $1, in week 2, you’d save $2, and so on. That pattern continues all the way to the end of the year when you’d save a sizeable $52. Follow through from start to finish and you’ll have $1,378 in your account.

8. The 52-Weeks Doubled Challenge

Feel free to play around with the 52-weeks saving challenge too. You could double your weekly savings, for example, starting with $2 in week one, then $4 in week two, etcetera.

Aggressive saving strategies of this nature require greater sacrifice in the short-term, but they’ll deliver faster results. Take the doubled approach to the 52-week challenge, for instance, and you’ll have a highly-commendable $2,756 by the time you finish.

9. Reverse 52-Weeks of Saving

Alternatively, why not do the whole challenge in reverse? In other words, you’d save $52 in week one and $1 in week 52. There are numerous advantages to this methodology.

For one thing, you’ll have more capital to spare at the end of the year. That’ll take the pressure off in the expensive holiday period, helping you purchase gifts and groceries. For another, the process of saving will become much easier as the weeks progress.

10. The One Nickle a Day Challenge

The basic principle of this money-saving challenge is to save an extra nickel than the day before for an entire year. You’d put a nickel in a jar on day one, two of them in there on day two, three on day three, and so on…for 365 days. Stick with it and you’d save $3,300.

Of course, you don’t have to do this with actual nickels and jars. A more sensible option is to do it digitally. Transferring an extra $0.05 into your savings account each day will have the same effect without filling your house with coins!

11. The One Cent a Day Challenge

Of all the money-saving challenges on this list, the one-nickel-a-day idea might sound most doable. If a nickel seems too much, though, try saving a single cent each day instead.

It’d work in the same way apart from being five-times easier! On day 365, saving cents over nickels would be the difference between setting $18.25 and $3.65 aside.

12. Keep the Change

Some people tell vendors to “keep the change” numerous times a day. And, whether it’s for their morning coffee from the local café or groceries from the store, they’re leaving money behind that could have gone straight into their savings. This challenge is designed to turn that situation around.

All you have to do is a) accept your change from cash purchases and then b) save it. Place the coins and bills in a jar each time and watch them pile up over time. Then, once a year, count it all out and either treat yourself or pay it into the bank.

13. The Round-Up Challenge

You could extend the ‘Keep the Change’ challenge to card payments too. This time, though, you’d round up any purchase and transfer the difference into your savings.

Imagine using your debit card to buy drinks from the bar. If the final price was $18.50, you’d round it to $20 and save $1.50! Do that for every purchase and it won’t be long before your savings start to flourish.

14. Vacation Planning Money Challenge

Let’s face it, after 12 months of COVID-19 trials and tribulations, we could all use a vacation. This money challenge is designed to help make it happen. Best of all, it promises to do it far quicker than other options in this article!

Taking place over 12 consecutive weeks, the idea is to save $25 on the first week and add an extra $25 each time until you hit $150. From there, you’d work backward, subtracting $25 at a time until your final payment (on the twelfth week) was $25 again. In total, you’ll set aside an impressive $1,050 to put toward your vacation.

Here’s a rundown of each week:

  • Week 1 - $25
  • Week 2 - $50
  • Week 3 - $75
  • Week 4 - $100
  • Week 5 - $125
  • Week 6 - $150
  • Week 7 - $150
  • Week 8 - $125
  • Week 9 - $100
  • Week 10 - $75
  • Week 11 - $50
  • Week 12 - $25

15. The Hybrid Challenge

The challenges on this list don’t have to be tackled one at a time. In fact, a hybrid approach would be ideal for anyone who wants to supercharge their savings. By combining two to three compatible challenges at once, you’ll see much faster effects.

For example, the previous vacation planning task would work well with something like the “no-spend” or the “no dining out” challenge. By limiting your expenditure, you’d free up even more capital to contribute to the vacation fund.

Give These Money Saving Challenges a Try

It’s hard to overstate the importance of having access to savings and emergency funds. After all, unexpected expenses occur all the time. With no money in the bank, you’re left in a precarious place, one disaster away from debt.

Unfortunately, tens of millions of Americans find themselves in this predicament right now. The good news? Turning the situation around and skyrocketing your savings is more feasible than many people think!

With any luck, the simple money saving challenges in this article will have demonstrated that. Keep these tips for saving money in mind, give them a try, and you should be one step closer to bolstering your bank account. Are you looking for more effective ways to boost your savings?

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