Save more with fun money saving challenges
Don’t let money stress you out this year. Instead, take the task head-on and get competitive by accepting a challenge to achieve your savings goals.
Saving money doesn’t have to be a chore that sucks all the fun out of life! Turn it into a game with one of these 53 fun money-saving challenges.
You’ll become more aware of your financial habits, learn new tips and strategies, and build your savings at the same time. There are a *lot* of fun challenges listed here, so pick one that suits your style and start saving money.
Once you’ve completed one challenge, start another. The more money you can save, the better you’ll set yourself up for financial success.
Grab these free saving trackers and watch your savings grow!
What is a money-saving challenge?
Money saving challenges are strategies that help you save more money and have a little competitive fun at the same time. They turn the chore of saving money into a game that keeps you focused and motivated to achieve your financial goal.
Each challenge has its own simple rules and timelines, but all of them can be tailored to your specific purposes. You can choose one that lasts a day or a year. You can decide to save pennies or $20 bills. The choice depends on how much you want to save, and the deadline you’ve set to reach your goal.
If you struggle with saving money, try approaching this important financial habit from a different angle. Pick one from over the 50 challenges listed below, and see how it works for you.
Nobody said saving money was easy – but you can at least make it fun!
Why a money-saving challenge is worth doing
Sometimes we can get stuck in a certain money mindset that hinders us from achieving our goals. Trying different money challenges is one way to try something new, and reset our perspective toward saving.
If you see saving money as an impossible goal, or a necessary chore that keeps you from having fun, then a money challenge might make it more appealing.
This is especially true if you have a goal in mind. Some people challenge themselves to save more money for a big vacation, or to payoff a large credit card balance. Having this focus can make saving money fun, because you know you’re going to get a big reward at the end!
A money challenge can also help you create better habits, such as sticking to a budget, living within your means, and building an emergency fund. Developing good money habits like these will help you build the financial security you desire.
Don’t let your past failures to save money discourage you. Start with a simple challenge with a short time period. Build trust with yourself that you *can* save money – and then take on tougher challenges to save more.
53 money saving challenges to save more money
Whether you’re trying to practice better money habits or you’re a seasoned saver, trying a savings challenge is a fun and smart way to build savings.
Before you pick one, make sure you know what you’re saving for. Define a financial goal that will keep you motivated to complete the challenge.
Ready? Let’s go! Here are 50+ money saving challenges to help you build more savings.
1. No-Spend Challenge
Pick a time – one month is typical, but choose what you think you can do and don’t spend extra money. The only money you spend during this challenge is on necessities, food, shelter, and transportation.
This no spend challenge helps you think about every purchase you make. Is it necessary? Can you live without it? With enough practice, you’ll become more mindful about spending, and may save significant amounts of money without trying.
2. No-Spend Weekend Challenge
Don’t want to commit to a whole month? Pick one weekend.
If you’re like most people, your biggest spending days are on the weekends. That means this challenge could possibly save you a significant amount of money (especially if you can do it more than once a month).
Weekend activities like going to the movies, eating at restaurants, and shopping for clothes can easily add up to hundreds of dollars in a single month.
Challenge yourself to take a weekend (or two) off from discretionary spending, and put that money in savings instead. Do this every month and see your savings account grow quickly.
(Of course, you’ll only save money if you don’t reschedule your normal weekend activities during the week instead!)
3. Free Fun for More Funds
A fun night out can easily set you back a C-note or two. Live concerts, sporting events, or even just dinner and a movie for the whole family can cost you a good chunk of your paycheck.
One way to boost your savings quickly is with this fun money-saving challenge. Simply find fee-free activities that are fun but don’t cost a dime. Doing a quick Google search, you can easily find free things to do in your area. Or, you could just stay in and play board games or watch old home videos with the fam.
This may challenge you to be open-minded and creative when it comes to your entertainment options. But, I bet you’ll find you have just as much fun *not* spending money – and, you get to add to your savings balance.
4. Save Your Washingtons
If you like to pay with cash for most of your purchases, try this challenge to turn your change into big savings.
Simply take all of your $1 bills at the end of the day (you know, the ones with Washington’s face) and put them in a savings jar.
Some days you may have several, other days you won’t have any. The point is to just leave it up to chance how many dollar bills you’ll have on any given day.
So, don’t ask for specific change – just take what you get!
Give yourself a deadline and count up all your bills on that date. Then, put that cash in your account – stat!
Make this a monthly practice and you can build big savings with little effort.
5. Any Dollar Savings Challenge
Taking a little twist on #4, with this challenge you choose which dollar amount to save. Pick the denomination of your choice and save that bill any time it’s in your possession.
Let’s take the $5 bill for example. Every time you have a $5 in your wallet, take it out and put it in a shoebox, safe, envelope, or any other container you’ve labeled as your ‘bank.’
Do this challenge for 1 month, 6 months, or make it a 12-month money challenge – it’s up to you. You choose the time frame that suits your purposes.
At the end of the challenge, count up the money you saved. It will likely be much more than you anticipated!
6. Cut Back For A Purpose Budgeting Challenge
Cutting back on expenses is never fun, but if you cut back for a purpose and for a predetermined amount of time, it’s more rewarding.
For example, let’s say you want to get laser-focused on paying off one of your credit cards. This your big ‘why’ and will keep you committed and focused.
Make your timeline relatively short so you have quick wins. Then, figure out how much your weekly savings needs to be to achieve your goal.
Maybe you set an 8-week timeline. In that 8 weeks, you cut down to only spending on necessities, and any extra money you have you put toward your credit card balance.
In 8 weeks, you’ll have less credit card debt to pay, which is an awesome reward!
7. Do Less & Save More Budget Challenge
If you’re not ready to make major sacrifices to save money, start with smaller steps.
Choose one small nonessential expense that you can live without for a week, such as that mid-afternoon visit to the vending machine, or that nightly glass of wine as you stream episodes of The Crown.
Every week, pick something new that you can go without. At the end of the week, reward yourself by putting an extra $10 or $20 in savings.
This won’t result in big bucks, but it will get you into an intentional money-saving mindset. And, when you start making savings a habit, you’ll be more willing to challenge your spending in bigger ways.
8. Kick the Bad Habit Challenge
We all have habits we’d like to change or improve. Maybe you spend too much with online shopping, or you love to buy an expensive fancy coffee at your favorite coffee shop every morning. Or perhaps you overindulge in screen time and procrastinate important tasks.
Whether it’s time or money or health, bad habits can keep you from your money goals.
This bad habit money challenge can help get you focused on making improvements in your life. Do what it takes to make changes for the better, then save what you’d normally spend on that bad habit.
You’ll feel better, and have more money too!
9. $50 Envelope Challenge
Does saving money feel like a chore to you? Try this fun money challenge and even include the kids!
Label 50 envelopes with dollar amounts from $1 to $50 (no duplicate amounts). Every week choose two envelopes from the stack. You can do this at random, or purposefully choose the envelopes you know you can fill.
The envelopes you choose are the envelopes you fill that week. For example, if you pull the $10 and $20, you must save $10 in the first savings envelope and $20 in the second. So, for that week, you must find a way to save $30.
This 50-day challenge helps you be more mindful of your spending since you have two goals to fill. By the end of the year, you’ll have $1,275 saved.
A variation of this is the Bowl-Grab Challenge. Instead of using envelopes, you would write varying amounts on 30 separate pieces of paper. Throw them all in a bowl or jar, then randomly select one each day for 30 days. Then, set aside the amount that’s on the paper.
If you want to double your efforts, ready my post on the 100 envelope challenge to save over $5,000.
10. Sale Items Only
This money-saving challenge helps you change your mindset about money and creates better spending habits. Choose your time period – make it a weekly or even monthly challenge, and commit to only buying items on sale.
The longer you commit to this challenge the better. It helps you be more intentional about how and where you spend your money. Plus, only buying items on sale should put more money in your bank account.
11. Discount Grocery Store Shopping
Don’t let the stigma of discount grocery stores have you spending too much money on groceries. Most Americans spend too much on their food budget category. Why do that when you can get the same food for a fraction of the price at stores like Aldi?
Give yourself a month and try it out. When you see the money you’ll save and that you didn’t have to sacrifice the quality of your food, you’ll likely change your mind.
12. Automatic Transferring
You can say that you’ll save money all you want, but unless you do it, there’s no difference. Instead, set up an automatic transfer from your checking to a savings account every week or month – you choose.
Determine an amount you can save and commit to it. Now you don’t have to think about it – the saving is done for you!
For some good ideas, read my post about 11 ways to automate savings.
13. Expense Tracking Challenge
When you track your expenses, it makes you more mindful of your spending. Set a timeline, for example, one month or three months, and track every dollar you spend.
It should become a habit you carry on for life, as budgeting is an important skill. But for now, focus on your spending and where you may be able to cut back.
You’ll quickly find those spending leaks and be more in control of your finances.
14. Debt Snowball
This debt payoff method was made popular by Dave Ramsey, founder of Financial Peace University . Though not necessary to get yourself out of debt, it’s an effective way to stay motivated and focused.
Basically, you make your largest debt payment on your smallest balance while making minimum payments on all the others. The point is to quickly eliminate one balance and then apply those payments to the next smallest balance.
This strategy can give you some quick wins and boost your financial confidence fast. Just keep snowballing your payments as balances are paid off, and you’ll have your debt paid off before you know it!
If you want more info about this debt payoff strategy, read my post about how to use the debt snowball to achieve a debt-free life.
15. Cash Only Challenge
Do you want to reduce your debt and minimize impulse purchases? Pay for purchases with cash (*only*).
You’ll save money, stick to your budget, and you’ll be more discerning about every purchase. This is also a great way to ensure your values are aligned with your spending.
Our brains process spending cash differently than paying with cards. Use this to your advantage, and commit to only paying for items with the money in your wallet.
It’s the one rule you need to follow to live within your means.
16. 30-day Minimalist Lifestyle
This one requires laser focus and commitment – you have one month to save up $1,000 for emergency savings. It’s not as hard as you might think!
By taking on this minimalist lifestyle challenge, you would commit to living on only necessities for 30 days. You would cut expenses in your monthly budget, sell a few things lying around the house, and avoid any unnecessary spending.
You could also do what you can to generate a little more disposable income. Work a few more hours, pick up some shifts, do a 30-day side gig – so you could have a nice $1k emergency fund in 30 days!
Read my post about how I cut $1000 in monthly expenses to give you a little inspiration!
17. Spending Round-Up
When the cashier asks if you’d like to round up to the nearest dollar on your purchase and donate to charity, it’s easy to say yes. After all, it’s only a few cents and it’s for a good cause.
But, did you know that your savings account could be the good cause?
You can sign up with your bank’s “round-up” program or download a mobile app that will transfer every “round-up” amount to a designated savings account.
Every time you make a purchase (using a linked spending account), the difference between the total and the next nearest next dollar is automatically added to a linked savings account. This means it’s just cents with every purchase, but it adds up to significant savings over time.
This could easily be a daily money saving challenge that saves you hundreds every year. And, you never even miss that money!
*Bonus Tip*: You have some options with this challenge, such as transferring a specific dollar amount every time you make a purchase, or having your round-up amount automatically invested. Check out Acorns for more info.
18. Protect Your Windfalls
Financial windfalls are considered those larger, unexpected sources of income, such as a work bonus, an inheritance, a tax refund, or gifted money.
Many times, this extra inflow of cash can get blown away quickly in the winds of pleasure and spontaneity.
It’s easy to categorize it as extra income that “doesn’t really count” because you didn’t budget it for it anyway. Why not have some fun with it?
Because, if you take that $1,000 Christmas bonus and put it in an investment fund where it makes 7% annually for the next 10 years, then you’ve doubled your windfall. After 20 years? You’ve quadrupled it.
So, protect your windfalls. Make them count. Because they have the capacity to buy you so much more than a new TV or a weekend vacation (both of which don’t do anything to support you in retirement).
19. Holiday Savings Goal
Ever wish you could get through the holidays without getting into more debt? You can!
The key to meeting this upcoming expense is in planning ahead. Don’t wait until December 1st to figure out your Christmas budget. Start in September – or better yet, July.
If you have past budgets to look at, you can easily figure out the average amount you spend on holiday gifts and activities. If you don’t, just take your best guess and claim it as your Christmas savings goal.
Now, depending on when you start, break down that goal into weekly or monthly amounts. Then, set up an automatic transfer every payday into your holiday savings fund.
When the holiday season is in full swing, you’ll be flying high with holiday spirit instead of stressing about the money you’re spending.
And – your credit card bill won’t be painful to open in January.
20. Dollar Store Purchase Swap
This is a great challenge if you like to hunt down a good bargain. Simply take your shopping list to the local dollar store, and find at least 5 items that are a dollar or less.
Then, when you go to your regular store for the rest of the items, write down what you would have normally paid for the things you got at the dollar store.
You’ll feel pretty good about yourself, knowing you saved money on stuff you normally buy. Just be sure to *save* the difference, so you’re actually making progress toward your saving goals!
21. Coin Savings Challenge
The coin savings challenge is one of the easiest money challenges and it adds up faster than you’d think.
At the end of each day, empty your pockets or wallet of the coins. Put them in a jar, and at the end of the year, add up your savings. It won’t pay the mortgage, but even a few hundred dollars is worth something!
22. 365-day Dime-At-A-Time
Don’t want to save *all* your coins? Simply take just the dimes and drop them into a container of your choice until it’s full. Making this a ritual at the end of every day will turn this small action into a money-saving habit.
To give you some perspective, here is how much you can save with this 365-day challenge:
- A 16-oz water bottle will hold about $100 in dimes
- A 2-liter bottle will hold approximately $589 in dimes
- A 1-gallon jug can fit close to $750
- A 5-gallon bucket could help you save close to $3,750!
*Other variations: 365-day nickel challenge, 365-day penny challenge
23. The Quarter Drop
Okay, so I had to take the dime challenge a step further! Except, it’s not just one more step – this money challenge is 2.5 times more savings for every quarter you drop in the container.
Yes, I know, quarters are much larger than dimes so you can’t fit as many. But, you’ll still save more, so why not?
Drop those spare quarters in a jug or jar as you’re emptying your pockets every night. When it’s full, you’ll be hundreds richer.
24. Go Generic
If you’re used to buying name brands when you go shopping, try going generic for 6 months. This will save you immediate cash at the grocery store since most items have a store-brand option.
But, you can also do this with clothing, household goods, and personal care products. You can pretty much find store-brand options for these items at places like Walmart, Target, and Walgreens.
To actually *save* money on the lower-priced items, be sure to note the cost-different between the generic and name-brand items you usually pick. Add up your savings and transfer that amount to your savings account.
25. Water-Only Challenge
If you’re like me, you don’t drink nearly as much water as you should. When there’s a soda in the fridge, it’ll beat out a glass of water every time.
However, any beverage *besides* water is going to cost you money.
Why not go on a beverage fast and only drink water for 30 days, 3 months – heck, a whole year!
You’ll save money, be healthier, and you’ll find it easier to get in your 8 glasses a day.
*Of course, this only works if you’re not buying bottled water. Get a water filter if you have to and drink from the tap. You’ll save big bucks in the long run!
26. Homebrew Challenge
If you’re a coffee drinker, there is a $5 temptation on just about every corner. Buying a prepared cup of java just once a week would add up to $260 a year.
But, who drinks coffee just once a week? A recent poll found that millennials spend an average of $2,000 a year on prepared coffees!
Keep those dollars in your pocket and brew your coffee at home. Buy the flavored creamer, the k-pods, even the fancy espresso machine if you have to.
You’ll save money in the long run.
27. No Eating Out
A simple and very effective way to save money is to cut down on restaurants and fast food. Most meals can be duplicated at home for a fraction of the price.
Before COVID hit and my husband got furloughed, sometimes we would spend up to $800 a month on eating out. Yikes! We cut that expense down to $200 a month (once a week with a $50 max) and have saved thousands of dollars over the past year.
If you’re up for this monthly savings challenge, try restraining yourself from eating out for 30 days and see how much you’ll save. You may just be inspired to cook more meals at home.
28. 30-day Meal Planning
I’ve read many times the benefits of meal planning but didn’t take it seriously until COVID came to town. My husband got furloughed, substitute teaching jobs got canceled, and we had to become resourceful *real quick*.
We immediately cut down our eating-out habit to just once a week, and I started 30-day meal plans for the first time.
I don’t know why I didn’t start it sooner.
Having a 30-day meal plan has saved me money, time, and effort. And, it’s gotten easier because now I have a good rotation of recipes and I’m familiar with what groceries I need to buy.
On the first day of each month, I write down 26 dinners I’ll make for the month (leaving 4 days for eating out once a week). I have a grocery list of all of the items I use regularly, so it’s easy to highlight what I’ll need to buy.
Then, I do a big grocery run to get all the meat and other staples I need. This usually takes up about half of my grocery budget for the month. I usually have to do supplemental shopping about once a week.
All I have to do is pick a recipe in the morning, take the meat out of the freezer to thaw, and my dinner plan is set. No more wondering what to make, making last-minute grocery runs, or saying to heck with it – let’s just go to Chipotle.
Believe me – start a meal plan and I bet you’ll save money, time, and effort too.
29. Meatless Mondays (or month!)
If you really want to drastically cut your grocery bill, stop buying meat. It undoubtedly eats up most of your food budget, and yet it’s totally optional. *Right?*
Yeah, you may have some resistance from those other people living in your house. But, you can get creative and make recipes that will still be satisfying and delicious.
You can ease into it by just designating one dinner a week as a meatless meal, or you can go hardcore and declare that the entire month’s dinners will be vegetarian.
Track your savings so you can prove how money-wise a meatless meal can be – then incentivize the sacrifice by agreeing to use the savings for some family fun.
30. The Pantry Challenge
Your grocery bill is a great area in your budget to cut costs. One way to do that is to create a meal plan that uses up as many items in your pantry in 30 days.
C’mon, I bet there are boxes and packages of stuff that you *meant* to use but have been sitting on the shelves for months!
Take an inventory and plan your meals around what you have for the next 30 days. You’ll save money, and I bet you’ll come up with some interesting recipes your family will enjoy.
*Bonus Tip*: If you need a little help coming up with a meal based on what you already have in the kitchen, try Supercook.com for some inspiration.
31. The Freezer Spending Freeze
If you like to stock up on perishables by freezing them, you might have a few hundred dollars in meat, veggies, and other foods in your freezer.
Take one month to do a spending freeze while you use up all of those frozen items. Pair this challenge with the pantry cleanout (#15), and you might slash your grocery bill by 50%!
Don’t forget to take those savings and actually put it somewhere safe so it doesn’t get spent.
32. Pack A Lunch
If you have a day job with a lunch break, save a few bucks by packing your lunch before you head to work. Same goes for your kids who are still in school.
I once added up the cost of a PB&J sandwich, an apple, and a granola bar. It was, like, 44 cents. That convinced me to take a little extra time in the morning to pack homemade lunches instead of choosing cafeteria or fast food.
It takes a few more minutes, but you’ll save big bucks in the long run.
33. DIY Product Challenge
Every month, pick one household item that you can make yourself for less money.
Here are a few ideas:
- Laundry detergent
- Cleaning agents
- Dog food and treats
- Dryer sheets
- Weed killer
- Gifts and greeting cards
- Body moisturizer
Just hop on YouTube, do a quick search, and learn how to make any of these everyday items for less money while doing your part to save the planet.
34. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
You can do all three, or just commit to one:
- Reduce the number of new items you buy. This means being intentional with your purchases and making every one align with your values and financial goals. No emotional and unnecessary spending.
- Reuse what you already have and give it a new purpose. Take old ratty t-shirts and make them useful in the garage. Fill empty spray bottles with your own homemade cleaners. Rinse out peanut butter jars and use them to save coins. You get the idea. Be resourceful.
- Recycle other people’s trash into your own treasure. Start shopping at thrift stores and garage sales to find gently used items that will suit your purposes just as well as those expensive, new options. Check Craigslist or NextDoor before you go to Home Depot or Target. Keep a running list of things you want to find, so you can take advantage of good deals when they happen to cross your path.
35. Switch For Savings
Make a list of 12 services you pay for on a regular basis. This could be anything from your cell phone provider to your lawncare to insurance to cable.
Once a month, call one of the companies on your list and ask if they can either give you a discount or suggest a lower-priced plan that would work just as well.
If they can’t reduce your bill, run some Google searches for other lower-priced options and make the switch.
*Bonus Tip*: You can even call your credit card companies to ask if they’ll lower your interest rates. If they don’t, transfer your balance to a card with a lower rate.
36. 52-Week Money Challenge
This 52-week savings challenge is a common money-saving challenge that typically starts in the first week of the year, but it’s never too late to start.
The idea is to save the amount of money that’s equivalent to the week of the year. For example, if it’s the 14th week of the year, you should save $14 that week. Every week, you save one more dollar.
If you save for 52 weeks, you’ll be $1,378 richer at the end!
37. Save $5k In 12 Months
Would you like to be thousands richer by this time next year? Then take this challenge to save $5,000 over the next 12 months.
Thinking about saving $5k might seem overwhelming, but if you take small, intentional steps for the next 365 days, you can do it without much effort.
Read my post about saving $5k in one year to get some guidance on how to commit to this 1-year savings challenge and be successful.
*Bonus Tip*: Open a separate account so you’re not tempted to spend what you save!
38. 26-Week Biweekly Money-saving Challenge
Similar to the 52-week challenge, this 26-week savings challenge might be easier for you if you’re paid biweekly. Or, if you just want your savings goal to take less time to reach.
Maybe you want to go on vacation in 6 months. Use this biweekly savings challenge to determine how much you’ll need to save, then assign a dollar amount that you’ll transfer to your vacation fund every week.
You can save a set amount every week, varying amounts based on that week’s budget, or a percentage from your paycheck (if you get paid weekly). Add up all the amounts over the 26 weeks and make sure they add up to your savings goal before you start the challenge. Otherwise, you may come up short or left with weekly amounts that are beyond your ability to save.
The goal is to be specific and intentional, so you reach your savings goal by the end of 26 weeks – and pay for that vacation in cash.
39. Get Smart About Money Challenge
In a 2021 year-end survey by the National Financial Educators Council, over 3,300 American adults of varying age groups were asked how much money they thought they lost due to a lack of knowledge in personal finances.
The estimated average amount of money that lacking knowledge about personal finances cost people was $1,389 in 2021.
If these results are generalized to represent the 254 million adults in the U.S., this number would total more than $352 billion!
Take the initiative to get smart about money and strengthen your financial literacy. Learn how to budget, invest your income, prepare for retirement, and get better with money management.
Using your local library, Google, and YouTube, you literally don’t have to spend a dime. But, you’ll learn how to save thousands over your lifetime.
Read my post about 21 free online personal finance courses to get started.
40. Use A Financial App For Extra Money
This challenge gives you lots of options, and all of them will help you save money.
Pick an app that is relevant to your current financial goals, and try it out for a month. If you like it, keep using it. If you don’t, pick a different one the next month.
The goal is to find those tools that help you with your financial goals while making money management a little easier. Read my post about 14 money management tools to give you a little inspiration.
41. CNBC Select’s 7-Day Money Challenge
Created by the pros over at CNBC Select, this challenge includes 7 smart tasks to do a “financial deep clean” of your personal finances. You can start one on each day, but some may take longer than a day to complete.
Also, not all tasks are specifically focused on saving money. But all of them will strengthen your money management skills, which results in bigger savings for you in the end!
42. Be A Money Rockstar
This is a multi-part challenge that will keep you busy for the next 6 months.
Rockstar Finance created a different money challenge for 26 weeks that range from mindset habits to setting goals to investing money. And, although there are a few that won’t leave your savings account any bigger, they all contribute to achieving financial freedom.
If you like a wide variety in your challenges, this might be the one for you.
43. 31-Day Improve Your Financial Life
If you want to strengthen your finances from all sides, try this month-long challenge created by Philip Taylor over at Part-Time Money. Philip is a CPA and his shared action tips will get you up close and personal with your finances in just 31 days.
On each day, he gives an action item with steps you can take to be successful. From budgeting to debt to investments to estate planning, Philip’s challenge covers every major area of your personal finances.
44. Money-Saving Blackout Bingo Challenge
Make saving money fun with this clever twist on BINGO!
First, set a savings goal. Maybe you want to save $100, $500, or more. Then, write down 30 random dollar amounts that all add up to your larger goal. Of course, you can have duplicate amounts, but try to make them varied between $5 and $25.
Next, create a Bingo card with 30 squares and assign each square one of these dollar amounts. Finally, write down each dollar amount on a separate piece of paper and put all of them in a container like a bowl or a jar (make sure your hand can fit inside).
Each day, take a piece of paper from the container and find that amount on the Bingo card. Transfer that amount from your checking to your savings account, then cross it off your Bingo card.
If you start on the first of the month and do this every day, you’ll reach your savings goal by the end of the month! But, you can also choose to play only on certain days of the week, knowing you’ll reach your goal when every square is crossed off.
*Bonus Tip*: If your savings goal is $500, save yourself some time with this free Bingo template printable from Savvy Honey.
45. Save the Receipt Savings
Next time you go shopping, check the bottom of your receipt. Sometimes you’ll find a section that tells you how much you saved on your purchase by shopping at that store. (If you ever shop at Kohls, you know what I mean. But, you’ll also find it on receipts from grocery stores and retail stores like Target and Walgreens.)
Then … actually *save* that amount. Transfer those saved dollars into a separate account for a month, and see just how quickly it adds up.
46. Save the Date
Need to save $500 within the next 30 days? All you have to do is look to your calendar for guidance.
Simply save the dollar amount of the date for one month. You can start on any date, but in the end, you’ll have close to an extra $500 in your account!
*Bonus Tip*: Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to transfer each day’s amount to savings. If you miss a day, double the next date you save!
47. Get One Month Ahead
Budgeting a variable income can be tricky. But, if you can live off the previous month’s income, you’ll have a much easier time.
Over a year ago I decided to start using the previous month’s income for our budget. I could do it immediately because we already had a full month’s income in our savings. After the first month, I wondered why I hadn’t done it sooner.
Some of the benefits include less stress, more consistency, and no more paycheck-to-paycheck living. It’s been glorious.
If you don’t have one month’s income in savings, take the challenge to save up the money. Depending on the amount, give yourself 12 to 18 months to reach your goal.
With a variable income, just take the average of the previous 12 months, then divide that amount by the number of months you’ll need to save.
For example, with a $5,000 average monthly (net) income, you’ll need to save $417 a month for 12 months. Or, $278 a month for 18 months. Pick the one that will realistically fit in your budget but gets you there the fastest.
I know it takes time and patience and persistence. But, believe me, you’ll be so glad you did.
48. Make More Money Challenge
There are only so many corners you can cut to save money before you’re left with a circle.
However, your opportunities to make more money are endless.
Do you have a huge goal like getting out from under a $20,000 debt pile? Or building a $1 million retirement fund in the next 15 years?
Stop looking at your bills and start finding ways to make more money.
Yes, your lifestyle will be disrupted. Sometimes dinner won’t get on the table and clothes won’t get washed. You may need to get up earlier or stay up later than normal.
But, you’re fighting for your financial independence and setting up your future self for a comfortable life. So, make it a priority. Open up your mind to the idea of getting a weekend job, finding a side hustle, or even starting your own side biz.
Check out these 50+ ways to increase your income to get those money-making creative juices flowing.
49. The Craigslist Challenge
Would you like to take your family on a summer vacation, but don’t know how you’ll swing it financially?
Turn that goal into an incentive to start making a little extra cash with stuff around the house. Go through your closets, drawers, cabinets, garage, and basement, and pile up every item that you haven’t seen/touched/used in the past 6 months.
Some things will be destined for the garbage bin, but others will have some money-making potential.
Challenge yourself to sell at least 1 item a week on an online marketplace like Craigslist, NextDoor, eBay, or Facebook. Put all of your profits into a designated envelope or jar or account until you’re ready to buy the plane tickets and book the hotel.
You’ll be amazed at how easy it was to turn your trash into a treasure of memories.
50. The 1% 12-Week Money-Saving Challenge
You can use this challenge for any type of savings account, but applying it to a retirement fund can boost your nest egg considerably.
If you have a 401(k), IRA, or any other retirement account that you’re already contributing to, increase those automatic deposits by 1%. Or, you could start transferring 1% of your paychecks (whole or net, your choice) to a separate savings account.
Then, after you’ve achieved this 3-month money saving challenge, increase your contributions by another 1%.
After 1 year, you’ll have 4% more of your income being applied to your savings. Because you took small steps to get there, you’ll hardly miss it. In the meantime, that 4% has the opportunity to grow 5% or more, depending on your investment mix.
And, if you don’t have a retirement fund yet – go open one as soon as possible!
51. Subscription Cancellation Challenge
Have you ever signed up for a free trial, and then forgot about it until you saw the monthly subscription fee on your credit card bill?
Yep, me too.
This challenge is great for those who love to sign up for free trials but aren’t great about cancelling when the fees kick in. Or if you were once super inspired by a slick advertisement, so you signed up – but never really used the service.
An easy way to review all of your subscriptions is with Trim. This savings app will analyze your financial transactions to find all of your recurring subscriptions. After you review them, just tell Trim which ones you don’t want anymore, and Trim will take care of it!
52. Save 15% Of All Income
Okay, so you should actually already be doing this one. Many financial advisors recommend saving at least 15% of your annual pre-tax income for retirement. And, that’s assuming you started at age 25! If you’re a late saver, this percentage will need to be higher if you want to retire before you blow out 80 candles on your birthday cake.
This might seem impossible for you, and maybe it is right now. However … you have to start somewhere. Don’t blow off socking some away for retirement because you’re already so far behind.
Unless you want to work the rest of your life, live on food stamps with social security as your only income, or put the burden of your well-being on your children, you need to do all that you can to start saving for your future – today.
Start at 15% if you can. If you can’t, start at 10, or 5, or 3%. But *start*, and then – don’t stop.
Your future is coming whether you’re ready or not. Do what you can to be prepared, even if it means making some lifestyle adjustments today.
Your future self will be so ever grateful.
53. The FO5O Monthly Checklist Challenge
Here on Finance Over Fifty, I post monthly financial checklists to help you stay on track with your personal finances and focused on your money goals.
Each checklist has 5 unique tasks for each month, and you can even download a free printable that lists all 12 checklists for your convenience.
Take the monthly checklist challenge and complete all 60 tasks over the next 12 months. By this time next year, you’ll be a money boss!
Don’t forget to grab your free saving trackers to help you reach your financial goals!
Don’t forget to grab your free saving trackers to help you reach your financial goals!
When to start a money-saving challenge
When you’ve picked a challenge, you’ll need to decide when you’ll start. Keep in mind it might not be best to jump in right away. Think about anything coming up in your schedule that would hinder you from completing the challenge successfully.
For example, the holidays might not be the best time to try to save $5,000. This is when most are spending money on gifts and travel, and you might be setting yourself up for failure.
Another circumstance to consider is any upcoming event that will require an added expense to your budget, or one that can add stress to your life. This could be something like a wedding or surgery.
Find the block of time required for the challenge when you’ll be free of distractions and able to commit all of your efforts to saving money. Then, block it out on the calendar and try not to schedule any major commitments during that time.
How to be successful with saving money
Nobody said saving money was easy. But, there are some steps you can take to make it easier.
Here are 3 things you can do to be successful with your money saving challenge.
Have a motivating goal
This is so important! Include your spouse and kids and make it a group goal if you like. Or, decide once and for all that you’re going to take that international trip you’ve dreamed about for so long.
The point is, make it something you really … really … really want.
The motivation will help keep you going when the going gets a little tough.
As you save, keep track of your progress. To watch your balance increase week after week will make it difficult for you to stop.
You can download a free tracker offered in this post, or just create a simple one yourself. Make sure you update it frequently, and keep it somewhere you’ll see it every day.
Develop some awareness around those triggers that cause you to spend – and then avoid them as much as you can.
Maybe you get marketing emails from your favorite stores every week. Unsubscribe from the list, at least until you’ve completed the challenge.
Or perhaps you’re tempted to stop for dinner after late nights at work. Instead, create meal plans and keep a stocked pantry so you’re always prepared to make a home-cooked recipe.
If you tend to buy impulse purchases when you go shopping, start making a list of only those things you need before you go. Then, stick to the list.
Whatever it is that makes spending easier, do what you can to set yourself up ahead of time for saving money instead.
Don’t overdo it
When you’re picking a challenge, stay realistic. I know saving $10,000 sounds really nice, but it might be out of your reach right now.
Ask yourself – can I sustain this amount of savings over the specified time period?
If you think you can’t, pick a different one. Build a few small successes before you take on the bigger challenges. Your efforts will go a lot farther.
Keep savings separate and safe
You can choose to do most of these challenges with cash, or by making transfers online.
Either way, you’ll want to keep all of your savings in a safe place. This might mean keeping cash in a small safe at home.
When you’re ready to deposit your cash into the bank, put it in a separate account from your regular checking. This will keep all of your hard-earned savings separate from your spending account.
If you decide to just make online transfers between accounts, make sure you’re transferring savings into an account that is not used for regular expenses and spending.
Keep your money separate and safe, so your savings doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
Where to keep your savings
As mentioned above, it’s important to keep your savings in a separate account. Preferably, it should be one that isn’t easily accessible for spending money on a whim.
If you’re trying to build savings for the long-term (like an emergency fund), then get the most bang for your savings with a high-yield savings account. The rates for these accounts won’t make you rich, but it’s better than a regular savings accounts.
Also consider how accessible you want your savings to be. For an emergency fund, you want your money to be available at a moment’s notice, and without penalty for withdrawal.
A money market account will yield a slightly higher return, but be aware of the fees and rules attached before you open one. Most have a withdrawal limit and minimum balance requirement.
If you can set your money aside for an extended period of time without needing it, then a CD (Certificate of Deposit) might be a good option. You’ll get higher returns, but your money will be tied up until the CD matures.
On the flipside, you might want to spend your savings on debt as soon as you make it. The sooner you pay down your balance, the less interest you’ll pay. It’s still a good idea to have a separate account, unless you plan to pay your credit card bill as soon as you make a deposit.
Building a retirement fund is another good reason to save more money. You can open an IRA and deposit your savings into this popular retirement fund.
The bottom line is, where you keep your savings will depend on what you want to *do* with your savings. The important thing is that it’s kept separate from your regular spending account, and you apply it to whatever savings vehicle you choose on a consistent basis.
Have fun – and save money too!
Try one of these fun money saving challenges today and see how much money you save. Make saving money a game, compete with yourself, and overcome bad money habits.
With these money savings challenges, you can choose to save money quickly or over an extended period of time.
Even if it’s only a few dollars to start, every dollar counts. As you build up motivation, add more challenges to your routine and maximize the amount of money you save.
Soon, you’ll have a money-saving mindset that’s always looking for ways to cut costs, increase income, and build wealth.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- 15 Smart Strategies To Save Money When You’re Broke
- The One Thing Book Review: Going Small Leads To Big Results
- 8 Steps To Beat Lifestyle Inflation
- 5 Tips To Make Saving Money Easier
- 50 Smart Money Habits To Save More Money
- 50 Steps To Wealth Creation & Retiring A Millionaire
- 50 Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget
- Money Values: How To Align Your Priorities With Your Spending
- 9 Powerful Benefits of Setting Financial Goals
- 18 Money-Making Photo Apps To Sell Your Pictures Online