Do your spending habits leave a lot to be desired? Are you always ending up with no spare cash at the end of the month, even though you have the funds to stash some away? Well, you may be in need of some inspiration to kick start your savings journey.
Saving can be daunting. If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of saving, or you’re simply not sure where to start, we’ve compiled this list of the most effective monthly money-saving challenges you need to try.
Whether you’re on a high or low income, there’s something to suit every budget. So, let’s get the ball rolling with a sprinkle of inspiration and introduce you to our list of the best monthly money-saving challenges you need to try.
Spending Challenges: The Benefits
If you’re still dreading the thought of saving, and need a little boost to kick you into gear, fear not. Let’s take a look at just a few of the benefits you can achieve from taking part in a monthly saving challenge.
- You’ll lower your stress
- Eliminate impulse spending
- You’ll use what you have
- You’ll save money (obviously!)
- You’ll develop saving habits that you can use throughout your life, so the savings will never stop!
Arguably, one of the best things about doing a savings challenge is that it’s fun. (Yes, really). If you’re struggling to know where to start saving, the thought of opening a savings account and placing half your paycheck into it straightaway may be enough to send you packing.
The truth is, in order to save effectively, you don’t need to start stashing away the big bucks straight away. Developing a strong and consistent savings habit is more about the method than the amount.
Savings challenges can help you break down the savings process into small, manageable chunks. You can start with as little as 50 cents!
As the money starts building, you’ll soon get into the swing of saving larger amounts. When this mentality is built, the rest falls into place, and putting aside larger amounts of money to save for high-value items becomes a breeze.
If you’ve never saved before, or you’re notoriously frivolous with your spending, starting off with an unattainable goal or trying to save more than you can manage will only set you up for failure.
Money-saving challenges aim to show you how easy saving can be (and that you don’t have to be rich to do it), and that’s precisely why we love them so much.
Now we’ve put your mind at rest, let’s show you just how accessible saving can be with our favorite money-saving challenges.
1. The “No Spend” Challenge
No, this challenge doesn’t mean you have to go broke. Realistically, there’s no way you’re NOT going to spend money every month. Instead, the no-spend challenge focuses on the ways you can eliminate mindless spending in your life – the ways you cut out unnecessary spending will be personal to you.
Take a look through your bank statements or receipts. What pointless items are you buying the most of? This might be anything from snacks or makeup to clothes or soda. Whether it’s just one item (or multiple items), stick them on a list, and commit to not buying them for a whole month.
Because the parameters of the no-spend challenge vary so widely, there’s potential to accumulate a LARGE amount of savings. You could save anything from a few cents to a hundred dollars. So, what are you waiting for? Cut out the mindless spending for a month, and watch your savings account burst to life.
2. No Eating Out Challenge
How much do you spend on take-out? Yes, really. You can be honest. It’s just you and me.
Whether it’s a few bucks or a couple of hundred eliminating take-out meals for a month could save you a truly STAGGERING amount of money. Work out how much cash you’re spending a month on takeout, and put this into a savings account or jar for safe-keeping.
Take a peek at the end of the month and prepare to be amazed. Some people are so shocked by the amount of cash they spend on takeout that they ditch it altogether.
If you’ve been sticking your head in the sand about how much you spend on takeout, now is the time to be transparent… Ditch the take-out menu for a meal planner, get batch cooking, and stash the cash away! We promise you, this challenge is worth it.
3. 14-Day Money Saving Challenge
If the thought of a monthly savings challenge is too overwhelming, why not try a 14-day savings challenge instead? The 14-day savings challenge is one of the simplest and most effective ways to start saving cash today.
To start things off on the right foot, pay yourself. Paying yourself means stashing cash away BEFORE you pay your bills. If you don’t have one already, set up a separate savings account to store the cash. Storing your cash in your checking account is the best way to blow through your savings in an instant. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Now, you’ll need to focus on tackling every financial area of your life. This may sound like a BIG ask, but with some planning and quick math, you’ll have a forensic insight into your spending habits in no time.
- Take a look at all of your unnecessary expenses and eliminate mindless spending
- Calculate how much you’re spending on your bills, and see if you can switch suppliers
- Examine the interest rates on your bank accounts, and decide if it’s worth switching
These practices also apply to other expenses in your life, such as phone bills, electricity bills, gas bills, and more. When you shop around for alternatives, you may just be surprised by how much you can save.
4. Spare Change Challenge
If the 14-day challenge sounds too intense, why not try out the spare change challenge for a month? This one is as simple as it sounds. Every time you find yourself with a little leftover cash, put it straight into savings.
Many of us are tempted to blow our excess cash on unnecessary items at the end of the month, such as takeout, or a shopping trip with friends. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be rewarding yourself from time to time (after all, we all need a little TLC!), however, stashing this away for a month could see you rack up some significant savings.
Your spare change could be anything from five dollars to fifty. It doesn’t matter how big or small the amount is, every little helps. If you can do this at the end of each month for a whole year, you have the potential to save HUNDREDS of dollars.
5. ‘Round-Up’ Money Saving Challenge
Personally, we found this to be one of the most enjoyable savings challenges on the web. We think you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of it, too.
The next time you buy something, round up the amount to the nearest dollar. Then, store the difference away in your savings and watch the money grow!
If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of saving masses of cash in one go, this is a great challenge for you. When you’re rounding up the difference with each item, you may only be putting away a few cents per item.
However, if you’re a frequent spender, this could easily rack up to a few dollars a day – and trust us, a few dollars a day adds up. If you’re saving $2 a day, you’ll be saving $14 a week, or $56 a month!
6. The Banned-List Challenge
Want to kick out the old habits and get your life moving in the right direction? Does the idea of saving money in the process sound appealing to you? Then let us introduce you to the banned list challenge. This could be done on a weekly, monthly or yearly basis. Whatever floats your boat.
To kick off the banned-list challenge, you’ll need to (yes, you guessed it) make a list. Put together a list of all the things you want to give up – this could include something as big as smoking or drinking, to something smaller like chocolate, video games, or random online purchases.
Every time you buy something on your banned list, commit to putting $5 in a savings jar. If that doesn’t get you to kick the habits, we’re not sure what will! Those savings will grow big in no time, and your body, mind, and bank account will thank you for it.
7. The 1% Challenge
Up for trying something a little different? Why not give the 1% savings challenge a go?
You can do this whether you get paid weekly or monthly. Simply work out 1% of your weekly or monthly wage, and stick this into a savings account for safekeeping. This is a very achievable goal, even for the most prolific spenders!
If you want to increase the challenge, why not set up a standing order to put this 1% directly into your savings account each month? You won’t even have to think about transferring it yourself, so you’ll be less likely to stray from the challenge.
8. Cupboard Clearout Challenge
Now for something a little different. Enter: the cupboard clearout challenge.
Do you know how much you’re storing in your cupboards? Want to get better acquainted with your belongings and save some cash in the process? Well, this is an excellent one to try.
To get started, simply open up your food cupboards and pull out everything. With every ingredient you have to hand, challenge yourself to create as many meals as you can.
If we’re being realistic, you’re unlikely to create a five-star cuisine with just cupboard produce, so you may need to buy some fresh food to complete your meals.
However, if you try and commit to making 80-90% of each meal with what you have in your cupboards, you could save a significant amount at mealtimes, and you may even find some new dishes you love to add to your regulars!
9. Borrow-Don’t-Buy Challenge
The borrow-don’t-buy challenge started in the UK as a project to reduce clutter, increase those savings, and reduce your carbon footprint. This challenge is as simple as it sounds; instead of buying something new, aim to borrow it instead!
Now, because you won’t be actively involved in the community that was specifically created for the borrow-don’t-buy challenge, this may be more difficult. But it’s certainly not impossible.
If you need something like an electric power drill, a saw, or a lawnmower, instead of buying it new, try and borrow it from a friend. This will save you cash and save the environment at the same time! What’s not to love?
10. The 1 Cent Challenge
Now, let’s take a look at something so easy, it shouldn’t even be called a challenge. Say hello to the 1 cent challenge.
With the 1 cent challenge, the aim is to start off saving just 1 cent a day and gradually increase the amount you’re saving by one cent at a time. On the first day, you’ll put aside one cent, on the second day two cents, and so on.
If you’re doing this for just a month, don’t expect massive returns. However, if you want to improve your spending habits and become a savvy saver, the 1 cent challenge is an excellent way to kick-start your savings journey and start building habits that will benefit you for a lifetime.
11. Find Extra Cash Challenge
No, we’re not going to ask you to go on a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood. The premise of the find extra cash challenge is to go through all of your belongings and see what you can part ways with and make extra cash from.
Let’s face it, some of us have more clutter than we’d like to admit. Whether it’s a pile of old books, a heap of clothes you never wear, an old laptop that sits unused in your bedroom…
These are the sorts of things that, if not in use, you could sell on to make cash. Whether they’re high or low-value items, you may be surprised at how much you can actually save.
So, take a look through your belongings and see what you can list on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or even sell on to friends or family. When you’ve reaped the returns, put them in a savings account and prepare to be amazed at just how much spare cash you had lying around the house!
12. Coffee Break Challenge
Coffee is the backbone of any productive day. Sometimes, it’s the thing that gets us out of bed in the morning and sets us up for a great day, and for others, it’s a bit of a bad habit that could set you back A LOT of money.
If you’re the sort of person who runs to the nearest coffee shop on your lunch break, your way to work, or your way from work… STOP! If you’re buying a cup of joe regularly, you could be spending a lot more than you’re even aware of.
If you’re ready to come face to face with the ugly truth behind your spending habits, work out exactly how much you’re spending a week and put it straight into savings. If you’re buying coffee at lunch, on your way to work, and on your way back from work, you could be spending nearly $10 a day. That’s almost $300 a month!
Coffee lovers take note: reducing your caffeine consumption could be your golden ticket to financial success. So, grab your to-go mug and make your joe at home – it’s time to start saving!
13. Wednesday Weather Challenge
If you need something a little more quirky and inspirational to encourage you to save, we have just the challenge for you. Let’s take a closer look at the Wednesday Weather Savings challenge. This is fun, achievable, and could save you some serious cash.
The idea behind the Wednesday Weather Challenge is simple. Each Wednesday, log on to your weather app or check the TV, and make a note of the highest temperature recorded in the country. Then, transfer this amount directly into savings!
This flexible challenge is ideal for low incomes, too, because you can choose whether you want to save the amount in cents or dollars. Who would have thought that talking about the weather could be so lucrative!?
14. Vice Challenge
This challenge is similar to the banned list challenge. However, it has the potential to be much more lucrative. If your banned list is filled with inexpensive guilty pleasures, like soda and unhealthy snacks, it’s time to write down the big guns.
What’s your biggest vice? If it’s smoking or drinking alcohol, take note. It’s time to give it up for a month and watch the savings roll in.
Get hold of your bank statements and calculate how much you spend per month on your vice. Now, commit to abstaining to whatever it is for a month, and transfer the amount you’d usually spend into a designated savings account. Warning: the results may shock you.
Remember, this doesn’t just have to be smoking or drinking. It could be any expensive vice, like gambling or take-out, to impulsive online shopping. Whatever it is, if you know it’s draining your account of cash, commit to packing it up for a month with the vice challenge.
16. Twice A Month Savings Challenge
If you want to break up your monthly savings challenge into smaller chunks, why not give the twice a month savings challenge a go? This works a little differently to the 14-day challenge, so listen up.
If you get paid bi-weekly, this may also be the right challenge for you. To get started, you’ll simply need to set aside a specific amount from each paycheck using a chart that’s been created for your ease of use!
To follow the exact outline of the bi-weekly challenge, you can view the full pdf here. This challenge was designed to make saving as easy as possible, so you can expect to start out depositing a small amount of money and gradually work your way up. If you follow the outline, the savings roll in fast!
17. Monthly Envelope Money Challenge
Last but not least, let’s finish up with the monthly envelope money challenge. If you have a bit of creative flair you want to use, this could be perfect for you.
The premise of the monthly envelope money challenge is simple. First, get yourself an envelope for each day of the month. Get a separate piece of paper for each envelope, and write down a random amount of money you’d like to put into your savings each day.
As you’ll be doing this every day, don’t make the amounts unattainable. You could work with amounts between 50 cents to 10 dollars or more if your budget allows.
Now, mix up the envelopes and keep them in a safe place. When the month begins, draw an envelope at random, and put the corresponding amount of money inside. Do this every day for a month, and you’ll build up a handsome set of savings to keep you ticking over!
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