I love a good challenge, especially when it’s going to help me improve my finances. Saving money is difficult for a lot of people.
The average median savings account balance in the U.S. is $5,200. However, adults under the age of 35 have an average savings account balance of only $1,580. If you want to increase your savings, now is the best time to start. It’s easy to procrastinate on saving money but this can come back to bite you in the future when you’re unprepared for unexpected expenses and even retirement.
A challenge can easily help you get motivated to save more money and be accountable for that goal. Here are a few of the best money saving challenges to consider trying out.
52-Week Savings Challenge
I love the 52-Week Savings Challenge because it’s easy and straight-forward. I’m actually doing this particular challenge this year with some people, and I’m using it to boost our short-term savings.
Basically with the 52-Week Savings Challenge, you save money each week and the amount matches the number of the week throughout the year.
There are 52 weeks in a single year. During week 1, you’ll save $1. During week 2, you’ll save $2 and so on. By the time you get to the final month, you’ll save $49, $50, $51, and $52 each week for the final 4 weeks.
At the end of the year, you should have saved $1,378. With this challenge, you’ll increase your savings amount slowly over time. Since you know how much you need to save each week, you can plan accordingly so your budget can afford the increase.
$5,000 Savings Challenge
Did you know that you can save $5,000 in one year? Whether you want to save for a house or build your emergency fund, it’s very possible to save a decent amount of money like this in just 12 months.
I’ve seen the $5,000 savings challenge floating around on Pinterest for some time now. It’s more intense than the 52-Week Savings Challenge but that’s because you set aside more money in the same amount of time.
To free up money for this challenge, you can pocket raises or bonuses from work, sell items from your home, cut other expenses, or make extra money.
No Dining Out Challenge
How often do you dine out? If you often go out to eat for lunch, you’re likely spending $1,000+ on work lunches per year. If you pack your lunch and eat more meals at home, you could probably save thousands extra each year.
Doing a no dining out challenge is easier said than done. The most important part is planning. You need to shop for groceries knowing that you’ll be packing your lunch for work each day.
You also need to have the willpower to avoid restaurants when you’re looking for a convenient meal. To cut out dining out, I have a specific meal plan that I like to follow. I shop for groceries every two week and write all my meals down on a whiteboard that I keep on my fridge.
We also get quite a few snacks and easy meals to make for busy nights. If you don’t want to get stuck cooking all night and prepping food all the time, I don’t blame you. Try batch cooking so you can prepare your lunches and dinners for a few nights in advance.
Spare Change Challenge
I love saving my spare change. It’s a small but effective effort that adds up over time. When I was younger, my dad kept one of those 5 gallon water jugs in his closet. He always filled it with spare change month after month, year after year.
One day, it was completely full and he cashed in all the coins to find out he’d saved thousands of dollars. He used this money to help pay for a family trip to Mexico one summer.
The great thing about this challenge is that everyone has spare change. Start taking spare change out of your wallet and off the floor in your home or car. Put it in an empty jar and place it somewhere that’s visible to you every day.
This will motivate you to get into the habit of saving more money.
No Spend Month
To make a no spend month successful, you need to set clear rules and be honest about what you won’t spend money on.
You also need to be committed and get the whole family involved. Be creating when it comes to entertainment and fixing things around the house. Eat through your cabinets and cook meals based on the food you have on hand.
To make a no spend month most effective, take the money you saved from not spending over the past 30 days and put it directly toward debt or savings.
A savings challenge can definitely help give you the motivation you need to increase your savings rate or save consistently. There are so many different challenge options or you can even make up your own.
What are your thoughts on savings challenges? Have you ever done one?