Saving money is the only way to becoming financially secure. Achieving financial security prepares you for those scary life emergencies and living well on your own terms. Unfortunately, saving money isn’t always fun. It isn’t easy for everyone either. That’s why these sneaky money saving challenges can be massively helpful.
These fun and effective challenges take the grunge away from budgeting and saving money. Money challenges are all about tricking yourself into saving – without feeling any real financial pinch. Try out these fun and creative money-saving challenges we’ve vetted and get inspired to save even more money.
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Zero Day Challenge is essentially what happens when no-spend day challenges and a money diary were to have a baby.
The Zero Day Challenge focuses on the bigger picture (and I’m all about that.) Financial fitness is very much like going on a real diet, the fads financial diets don’t work!
You need to change habits over a longer period of time. The best part is it’s simple enough to use. Simply mark on the calendar the days you spent unnecessary money or not.
Did you have a day without any unnecessary spending?
A) Yeah? Then zero out that baby and pat yourself on the back.
B) No? How was it worth it Spendy-Sally? 😛
If you’re using your money online, this challenge might not be for you. The only rule in this $1 challenge is to save every $1 bill handed to you. Is there a $1 in your allowance? Did somebody give you a $1 change? Put it somewhere and never spend it!
Savings depends on how frequent you get a $1 bill and will be bigger if you encounter small bills every day.
For those who have a higher income or allowances, the $5 challenge is for you if $1 is too small. Whenever you receive or find $5, it goes to your saving jar or box instead of spending it. Keep this habit within one year.
Savings will depend on how frequent you can get your hands on a $5 bill.
One of the easiest and most popular saving method for people who don’t want to have a saving schedule. Every time you make a purchase, the spare change would go down to your saving jar.
Saving varies on your spendings, but the more you spend, the more you save. For casual or first time savers, this is a perfect saving style that doesn’t compromise lifestyle.
No-Spend Weekend Challenge
This challenge is for people who think the popular “No Spend Challenge” is too much and would want a chance to take a break from it for a while.
The No-Spend Weekend Challenge is simple: don’t spend a single dollar for anything on the weekend until you hit your savings goal. If you’re a person who always hangs out with your friends on the weekends, this challenge might not be the right one for you.
Free Water Challenge
It’s beneficial on a diet too! Try the free water challenge. Don’t spend on any unnecessary flavored drinks, coffee, or liquor. Non-bottled water is free, and a necessity. Water keeps your body running smoothly. If the drink is free, it’s up to you to drink without breaking the challenge.
Avoid being tempted to buy a can of soda or a bottle of juice just for the sake of it. Avoid trips to Starbucks, no matter how limited edition their pumpkin spice latte is! No soda, no beer, no wine, no juice, etc. To make this challenge easier, make accepting a free drink within the rules.
Automatic Savings Challenge
Automate deposits to your saving accounts. The Automatic Savings Challenge is a very simple yet very effective way to save money, especially if your salary is given through direct bank deposit.
To start, talk to your bank about your plan to divide deposits and put money into another account. This way, you will not be tempted to delay your savings as the savings is there before you can even use the fund.
Competitive Savings Challenge
A Competitive Savings Challenge is best done with you and your family. Even kids can join the fun if they want. The rule in this challenge is simple: to compete, members just need to have the most money saved within a certain period of time. Regardless of the winner, you and your loved ones saved money, so it’s really a win-win situation.
The HBO series “Game of Thrones” is here once again and for its final season this time. Ever heard of the Game of Thrones drinking game? This challenge is similar, but instead of drinking, you will have to save money based on the conditions met during an episode. If you enjoy Game of Thrones, this is enjoyable money saving the challenge for you.
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Instead of buying coffee on Starbucks, brew your own coffee instead. Buying coffee in coffee shops is a good way to save time and effort, as well as being able to get your daily cup of coffee. Each cup can cost from $2 to more than $5 depending on the size and the flavor.
Instead of going into your favorite coffee shop each morning, this challenge’s rule is for you to brew your own coffee. You might have a little struggle in this, especially if you’re busy. But how you handle the difficulty of curbing your coffee cravings will be part of the challenge.
Divide your goal amount into bite-size amount. This 1% challenge is to test your commitment to saving and if you need improvement when it comes to your financial habits.
The first thing is to have a specific money goal that you want to reach. You will then have to save 1% of it every day until you reach your goal.
For a clearer example,
- 1% of a $1,000 goal is $10 a day. Save $10 until you reach your goal in about 100 days.
- 1% of a $5,000 goal is $50 a day. Save $50 a day for 100 days and you will save $5,000.
- 1% of a $300 goal is $3. Save $3 a day for 100 days you will end up with $300.
The Weekly 401(k) Challenge
Increase your monthly savings by 1% per week. This 1% per week is slightly different because it involves your 401(k), which is not money you can touch but something locked and reserved until your retirement.
In doing this 401k challenge, the challenger needs to raise his or her savings amount by 1% each week. It may sound easy since 1% is not a lot but there are 52-weeks in a year.
1% Weekly Savings:
$25 = Week 1
$25.25 = Week 2
$25.50 = Week 3
The ultimate goal of this is to get your maximum contribution limit each year, or as close to it as possible.
For the first time savers, this is a very simple way to earn money. By taking this challenge, you will need to save any amount (as long as its under $10) daily.
What makes this challenge more appealing is the fact that students and anyone on a fixed-income can do this feasibly. After a week, participants on this challenge can have as much as $70 saved, depending on the exact amount saved.
The 365-Day Savings Challenge
The 365-Day challenge is a saving challenge that does not compromise your lifestyle and is easy to do. You just have to drop $1 a day for one year. What makes this challenge hard is the commitment needed to finish this one since it does take 365 days from start to end. But it is so easy, if you finish this challenge, you’ll have $365 that you can use when you need it.
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$1,000 for 100 days
Looking to start that Dave Ramsey emergency fund? Save $10 per day for 100 days and you will get to $1,000.
By saving $10 for 100 days (or 14 weeks), you will have $1,000 which you can use to step up your saving game, build an emergency fund, or just to reward yourself. Although this might be hard for people who don’t have a constant source of income, with proper planning and these extra money ideas, this feat is totally doable.
Save according to the weather (e.g. Sunny: $10, Rainy: $50). Weather can affect our daily activities, like the food that we eat, the place that we go, and the savings that we’ll get.
In Weather Savings Challenge, you need to save according to the weather. For example, if it’s currently sunny outside, save $10. If it’s raining, save $50. What’s good about this challenge is that you will be able to save something every day.
Saving is one of the most important “adulting” activities to partake. But let’s admit it, saving is not a fun activity and is not something someone can enjoy every month. To make saving more fun and to get diverse experiences, the themed monthly challenge is for you.
An example of this is “No-Spend November”, “Pack A Lunch January”, “No Chocolate-February.” Savings will be different each month, but it will enable you to save while enjoying the thrill of finishing the challenge. The exact difficulty of this will depend on the theme you choose for the month.
10% Salary Challenge
One of the most important functions of saving your salary is covering for unforeseen occasions. Job loss or an emergency situation can be a real-life nightmare if you are unprepared. This challenge will let you save a month’s worth (or more) of your salary by saving 10% each month for a whole year. After succeeding for a year, increase your rate to increase savings.
Would you dare to take the Homemade Snack Challenge? In this challenge, instead of spending on food for deliveries, you should cook your own snacks out of what’s inside your fridge. If you want to improve your cooking skills, you might want to try this challenge.
There are lazy nights where you really just want to spend your whole time laying and scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed. But instead of doing that, trying this homemade snack prep challenge is something that can save you a lot of money on eating out.
Save $600 in three months. This challenge has simple rules, and that is to save $50 weekly for three months. By the end of three months, you’re expected to have saved $600 already! $50 a week is still less than $10 which can be done, especially if you have the time to try out these easy side hustles.
It doesn’t matter if you have $1 on Monday and the other $49 on Sunday. For those who want to step up their saving game, this is the challenge for you.
$1,000 Monthly Bingo
The goal in this challenge is to save $1,000 by the end of the year by following this monthly schedule. Savings amount ranges from $75 to $150. After one year, you’re expected to have saved $1,000. The exact schedule is up to you. You can save heavy in the first weeks of the month or save more at the end of the month. What matters more is you being able to save the exact goal amount you intended to each month.
10 Week Flex Challenge
Everyone heard of the 52-week challenge where you save $1 and double its amount each week? The flexible 10-week challenge is like that except you stop until it gets uncomfortable then start over so you will know how hard you could pinch a penny.
Week 1 = $1
Week 2 = $2
Week 3 = $4
Week 4 = $8
Week 5 = $16
Week 6 = $32
Week 7 = $64
Week 8 = $128
Week 9 = $256
But with this method, you can save a lot of money with a lot of flexibility. When it gets harder (usually by the 9th to 10th week) you start over from $1 again, then $2, then $4, etc.
The difficulty lies at the end since it ramps up pretty quickly. This flexible weekly saving challenge will let you save a reasonable amount from $1 to beyond until you start feeling the pinch. Then you can take a break, and ease yourself back in to save, then see if you can break your record of doubling at the 10th week.
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If you don’t want to save every day, this $50 weekly challenge is the right one for you. You can save as much as $2,600 yearly if you try this challenge. However, you can try this for three months if you want to check whether you can make it or not. You can still save $650 for three months just by trying this challenge, so its a win-win situation.
No Entertainment Challenge
Find ways to get the boredom out without spending any money. Entertainment is one category where people spend a lot and don’t really feel guilty about it. Being bored, after all, is one of the most expensive things in life, as you’re wasting your time doing nothing!
However, there are ways to still enjoy life and get rid of boredom without spending any money. With this free entertainment challenge, you’ll be forced to find free ways to fight boredom without spending money.
This “No Entertainment Challenge” will allow you to save a decent amount of money. You will likely need to cut your expenses allocated on entertainment such as Netflix and Spotify subscriptions.
To kick up this challenge to hard mode, consider lowering or getting rid of your mobile data plan.
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Free Exercise Challenge
Cut Gym membership and save money by exercising outside. On average, a gym membership can cost up to $60 per month, which can rack up to $720 per year. If you’re one of the people who want to stay fit while cutting the gym membership cost, this challenge is the right one for you. Instead of exercising at the gym, find ways to exercise outside.
Yearly Savings Challenge
If you’re really planning to start saving this year, an interesting way to is to save $2,019. If you are reading this in 2020, 2021, 2025 and beyond then this can still apply to you. Your technique and the amount of money each day is not important, as long as you complete $2,0xx amount this year. For example, you can start by putting $6 for 365 days or $170 per month.
Save Like You Spend Challenge
For every single thing, you buy that you don’t need, set aside the same amount into your savings. This challenge will not only help you save a lot, but it will also teach you a few important things when it comes to financial matters.
By saving money to match your spendings, you’ll likely ask yourself if each spending that you will make will benefit you. This is a fun way to know where your money is going each day. Savings will be equal to how you much you spend during the challenge.
Stockpile Food Challenge
Stockpile your fridge and extend its life in one month. For those who want to have an extra challenge, this survivorship challenge is your best choice.
The rules are simple, stockpile as much as you can as of the moment you took the challenge. After stockpiling, you need to prolong your stuff and see how long you’ll last. You can be creative and make any food that you want from your stockpile.
$25 Monthly Challenge
The $25 challenge is an eleven-week saving challenge where you need to save $25 in the first week and add another $25 in the following weeks. Once you reach $150, you will decrease the amount every week until you reach the last week, saving $25.
The hardest part of this is going to be in the middle part where you need to save more than $100 for five days. This challenge is for people who want to save big in a short amount of time. After the challenge, you will have $900 which is impressive in only 11 weeks.
When you want to save quickly for a vacation, this 8-week savings plan is the answer to your vacation’s financial needs. You can save up to $520, which could be enough or excellent extra pocket money. The middle part of this challenge is hard, so do this challenge if you can save $150 for 2 weeks.
$1,000 in 3 or 6 Months
Save $11 every day for three months straight! If you need $1,000 within a short time, this saving challenge is for you. For each day within the three-month time of the challenge, you will need to save $11. Allot $11 from your daily salary, or allot $77 each week, the technique is up to you.
If you want a similar but easier version, you can try saving half the amount for 6 months.
The Bad Habits Challenge
Do you want to cure some of your bad habits? In the meantime, do you want to save while doing it? The Bad Habit challenge is like the swear jar that your mother probably had to curb potty mouth! Every bad habit that you do, you will put a corresponding amount of money in your “Bad Habit Jar.” The amount will depend on how bad your habit is and how much you put in each time.
In this challenge, the less you save, the better, as it will mean you’re successful in curbing your bad habits. This saving challenge in that theory should be a fun, supplementary challenge only.
The Ultimate Retirement Savings Challenge, which was proposed by Luis F. Rosa, can be done by maximizing your IRA contribution yearly. This means contributing $6,000 (max) a year.
When finally out of the workforce, you’ll thank yourself later if you always max up your IRA contribution each year. $6,000 on IRA contributions might be too much for some, so this challenge is recommended for people with a relatively high income.
1-Month Bike Challenge
Sadly, commuting is one thing that we can’t avoid if we want that paycheck. Gas and bus fares consume a decent amount of the budget every day. Instead of commuting, how about riding a bicycle for a month when commuting to work? This challenge can only be done when your workplace is relatively near and if the streets have a safe place for bikers so it may not be suitable for everyone.
Back when Elon Musk was still 17 years old, he decided to challenge himself and live for only $2 a day for food in one month. Business Insider author Kathleen Elkins also tried this challenge and succeeded. One of their best tips is to buy healthy and cheap food in bulk.
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This challenge can work for everyone because everyone eats! But this might be a bad idea for people who need to follow a specific diet for health reasons.
Cash Only Spending Challenge
Only buy the things you don’t need using cash, like a trip to the corner store or a quick cafe trip. Split half the typical cash you carry in your wallet. A lot of people these days usually make their purchases using their money online.
All major e-commerce company supports debit and credit card, which can drain up funds quickly because the cash is not physically leaving your hands. In this challenge, the challenger can only buy the things that he or she needs using cash that they have in their pockets during the day.
This challenge is for people who don’t want to be caged in a certain time frame for saving. In addition, this challenge is also children-friendly and doesn’t need complex instruction to set up. The only rule is to fill up a 2-liter bottle with money. It doesn’t matter if you put coins, $1, $5, or even $100 as long as it fills the bottle. But if you want bigger savings, bigger bills will do the trick.
Money Diaries Saving Challenge
The Money Diaries saving challenge runs in 6 weeks and can save up to $600 and is made by Refinery.com author Lindsey Stanberry. Stanberry made a list of financial task which aims to improve your financial status such as checking your credit score, updating your resume, and writing down debt details. After finishing the task, you’ll have to save a certain amount of money based on the task. With this challenge, you’ll improve your financial status and save at the same time.
The EXTREME Challenge
Best for if you are single and independent. In life, there are needs and then there are wants.
Look at your budget and past transaction histories on spending to see what each of those needs or wants spending fell into.
Needs are food, shelter, clothing, childcare, and transportation (to work). Wants are things like dining out, gifts, salons, spas, vacations, entertainment, coffee trips etc.
This extreme challenge tackles every want and bringing it to a stop cold turkey starting on a fresh and new month. The goal is to keep wants as close to $0 as possible for an entire year.
It’s similar to a year of no-spend except you are targeting all wants and living on bare bones. It’s not easy. Naturally, this is a very difficult challenge, and you probably think it’s too much. And you are right, but that is the point of the extremer challenge. It’s only when you can cut until it hurts that you will see a dramatic shift in the way you look at money, spending, needs, wants, and life.
I learned this “challenge” from my mother and father who grew up in abject poverty and remained there most of their lives. There were only necessities that mattered in their life, which changed the way they lived and viewed life and changed the way I was raised.
The reason for this challenge is not really to save money (although yes it definitely can!), but it’s to live “like a monk” so you can flush out what it means to live humbly. It’s so you can feel enlightened for everything else you have. It’s an extreme challenge for an entire year, a year to change your perspective for the rest of your life.