money saving challenges

Save Money with a Money Saving Challenge

If you’re currently working to improve your financial situation, you might be wondering how to save money each month. It’s tough to save money when it seems like there’s already too little to go around. You need a money saving challenge!

Even when your budget is miniscule, there are ways to save money!

Sometimes all it takes is a challenge to get you going on that path to your goals. Use these 7 money saving challenges to make it easier and more fun to save money. Jump start your savings with one of these money saving challenge ideas!

(This post may contain affiliate links. They’re boring but you can read my disclosures for more information if you want.) 

Money Saving Challenge:

 

52-Week Money Saving Challenge

The 52-Week Money Saving Challenge has you save incrementally more each week over the course of a year. You start by saving $1 during week 1, $2 during week 2, and so forth until you save $52 during week 52. Following this money saving challenge, you’ll have $1,378 saved at the end of the year.

It’s not a ton of money, but it’s a great start toward an emergency fund.

Here some tips and tricks to make saving money easier:

  • Pay yourself first. Put money into a separate account or container before you spend on anything else. That way, you won’t even miss the extra money.
  • Start the money saving challenge going backward. Save $52 in your first week and $1 in week 52. This is helpful if you have a harder time saving towards the end of the year (um… Christmas expenses!).
  • Share your goal with friends or join a money savings group so that you’re openly held accountable.
  • Use this 52-week money saving challenge printable to easily keep track of your savings.
52 Week Money Saving Challenge Printable
52 Week Money Saving Challenge Printable

 

No-Spend Money Saving Challenge

I don’t know why, but I actually find this money saving challenge enjoyable and try to use it for a month at a time, several times throughout the year. This is one of the best ways to save money on a tight budget!

Choose an amount of time (a week, a month or longer) during which you won’t spend any money beyond what is absolutely necessary. Of course you’ll have to pay your mortgage, utilities and other bills. But you can easily cut out entertainment, eating out, unnecessary travel and so forth.

>>>Save Hundreds with a Simple No Spend Challenge!<<<

I’m betting that once you see the savings pile up, you’ll find this money saving challenge addicting, just like me. The key here is to put those savings to good use. Use them to pay down debt or invest, so they can improve your net worth.

>>>9 Reasons You Need a No Spend Month<<<

 

Save Money Each Month With the Coin Jar Challenge

You wouldn’t believe how much money my sweet Grandma saves this way. If you regularly use cash and end up with coins jingling in your pocket or weighing down your purse, this would be a terrific method for you to use.

The coin jar is as basic as it sounds. You stash your excess change in a large jar at the end of ever day. This money saving challenge is another great way to save money on a tight budget.

This is a great way to save for small extras — purchases that don’t fit into your everyday budget. My grandma always just hands out rolls of quarters to her grandchildren. But you could use it to fun a small getaway or buy someone a special gift.

 

Money Saving Challenge

 

Eat at Home for 30 days Money Saving Challenge

The single easiest way to cut back on your grocery bill is to eat at home. It might sound tough because you’ll have to meal plan.

It’s also not going to work if you need to eat fresh chilean sea bass and imported veal all month. You’ll have to cook relatively frugal meals. You might want to check out 7 Secrets You Need to Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half for more ways to save money on a tight budget.

>>>Need a few ideas for cheap meals?<<<

It’s easy, though, if you can commit to spending just a few minutes a day meal planning and cooking. Here are a few steps to help you rock this monthly money saving challenge.

  • Make more of dinner the night before and pack it for lunch the next day.
  • Cook large batches of a meal twice a week and freeze individual portions of the meal for the upcoming week.
  • Buy foods that are easy to combine into a simple meal — like tortillas, refried beans and shredded cheddar cheese to make cheap, easy burritos you can wrap in foil and freeze.
  • Save even more money eating at home when you use a cash back app like Ibotta. It’s simple. All you have to do is snap a picture of your grocery receipt and ibotta will send you cash. Just this morning I spent $97 on groceries and earned$12.25 back from ibotta: $2 on KIND bars, $4 on ice cream, $2 on Herbal Essence shampoo, 75 cents on milk, 50 cents on cereal, $1 on popcorn, and $2 on lotion. You can also earn referral bonuses, and it works at SO many retailers!

Get a $10 bonus just for signing up with Ibotta through this link.

This challenge is for only 30 days. You can do it! I suspect that you’ll be able to see such a HUGE difference in your food bill for the month that you’ll be excited to continue!

 

Entertainment Moratorium Monthly Money Saving Challenge

Entertainment is not a necessity for you to live. That makes it one of the easiest places to cut back on spending so that you can meet your savings goals.

Some people find this to be torturous, I know! I’m married to a movie aficionado, and he is of the opinion that watching them in our home theater doesn’t even come close to experiencing them on the big screen.

Just remember that this challenge doesn’t have to run indefinitely. You choose the duration of this challenge!

Instead of thinking of this challenge as horrible or boring, try seeing it as an opportunity to find fun, new ways to entertain yourself, like hiking or taking a bike ride. In fact, I’ve found that when I choose free entertainment, my health improves. Interesting, huh?

Not sure how to entertain yourself for free? Here are a few ideas

52 Free Dates that Could Save Your Marriage (and your budget!)

55 Free (or cheap!) Fun Winter Activities

101 Free, Fun Summer Activities

50 Fun Fall Ideas for Your Bucket List

Money Saving Challenge

 

$5 Money Saving Challenge

How many times have you thought to yourself that 5 bucks is practically worthless, and then blown $5 on something that added little, if any, long-term value to your life?

If you’re like most people, the answer is WAY too many! But imagine how much you could save if just redirected that money into savings.

That’s all it takes to get started with the $5 money saving challenge.

This money saving challenge involves saving every five dollar bill that comes into your possession, whether you took out $5 at the ATM or you received it as change for a purchase. If you have it in your wallet, it gets taken out and saved.

Because $5 doesn’t feel like a huge sacrifice, it’s pretty easy to stash all your five dollar bills away in a jar (or an envelope — or all of mine go into a box in a dark corner on a closet shelf).

If you saved one five dollar bill a week, you’d have $260 at the end of the year. If you saved two five dollar bills a week, you’d have $520 after a year.

That might not seem like a whole lot of money, but what if you saved four bills each week? You’re looking at a nice-sized nest egg to start investing. Keep that up for five years, invested at 10%, and you’d have $8k. Do it for 10 years and you’d have just shy of $20k. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

You know what’s even better than the money? A good habit. A consistent habit of saving money and a mindset that saving is enjoyable. Putting away a few dollars every day can have a huge impact on your life.

 

A Money Saving Challenge You Don’t Even Have to Think About

There are multiple apps that will help you save money without even thinking about it. Every time you make a purchase, the app will round up to the nearest dollar and save the change for you.

Some of the apps, like Acorn, will invest your savings for you. Other apps, like Chime, Qapital and those associated with banks and credit unions, will automatically transfer your change into a savings account for you.

You can shop and pay your bills just like you normally would and still save money with the help of these apps. They eliminate the stress of trying to save more money because the amounts are small — it isn’t a drastic lifestyle change.

If you need some extra help saving money, it’s a perfect savings challenge for you. Ask your bank or credit union if they offer this type of checking account, and what their terms are. Be sure not to sign up for a service with monthly fees.

These apps are aimed at young, tech-savvy people who like to manage their finances casually. If you’re a penny-pincher you might be irritated at not being able to pay exact amounts. You might like a more hands-on approach.

 

Conclusion

Last year, we had a big international vacation planned, when my oldest daughter suddenly sprang a wedding on us. She swore all through her teens that she wasn’t even going to think about getting married until she was at least 30. She was 20!

So we hadn’t saved a penny for her wedding.

Since we already had plane tickets and hotel reservations, we couldn’t cancel anything. We had to figure out a way to pay for a wedding and our vacation all within a few weeks of each other.

And we ended up spending far more than we planned on vacation. Isn’t that always the case?

Luckily, I practice what I preach. Between my coin jar, my box of five dollar bills, my acorns account and my other money saving challenges, we were able to pull enough together to pay cash for both the wedding and the vacation. We made it with flying colors!

 

 

 

 

Are you inspired to try any of the savings challenges? I’d love to hear about your own money saving challenge in the comments below. I’ll be cheering you on!

 

Pin these nifty money saving challenges for later!

 

 

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15 Comments

  1. thanks! It’s time I start saving.

  2. These are some great ideas! I have heard of the first one (the 52 week challenge), and started it one year, but didn’t keep up with it. I think I’ll initiate it for this year and make sure to follow through. I like the $5 idea – might have to try that! We do have a coin jar and rarely go out to eat or to enjoy entertainment like the movies or anything similar, so we’re already saving money there. I also started using an Acorns account last year, through PayPal, and have $25/week automatically withdrawn from our credit union and deposited into the Acorns account. Almost up to $500 just in that account! 🙂

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      I love how acorns makes it so effortless? You sound like you’re doing great!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      How fun! It’s probably weird, but I love no-spend months. Actually, I love all money saving challenges.
      And January is the perfect time, since we all tend to overspend during December. Good luck! 🙂

  3. I am going to have to put a lot of these into practice this year. We have some big travel and purhcase plans for this year. I would love to pay cash for as much of it as I can, so any and all the money saving tips will come in handy.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      I think these money saving challenges will really help!

  4. So many great saving ideas! I did The 52-Week Money Saving Challenge before and it was so much fun. You inspired me to try it again this year. But this time I may try to do it in reverse like I have seen others do.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      It is a lot of fun to watch the account balance increase, huh? It almost makes those savings hard to spend!

  5. Nice ideas. I really like the 52 weeks one, and doing it backwards is kind of cool since it CAN be tough to save a lot when the holidays start to hit.

    -Lauren

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Yes, the holidays are exactly when you NEED TO USE all the savings, ha, ha!

  6. This is such an awesome post with so many good ideas for saving money. We’ve done the no spend challenge before and had great success. I think we’ll have to incorporate a few others this year to help us reach our savings goals!

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      Us, too. We usually utilize at least 5 of these savings challenges simultaneously for our travel fund, since we have ten people in our family so flights alone cost several thousand. Whatever works, right?

  7. Back in the day of writing checks, I used to round each check amount up in my check register. Sometimes it was only pennies but it grew daily and each month I had by far more than I realized stashed away.

    1. Amy Saunders says:

      THAT is a fantastic idea! It’s kind of like what the acorn app does.

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