Let’s talk about money savings challenges. But, first, let me tell you a little story and why I chose to write this piece. I started saving money when I got my first online job. It wasn’t much but it helped me buy a better laptop and pay for a small vacation.
Still, I wasn’t happy. I realized soon enough that, even though I enjoyed the result, I absolutely hated the process. I mean that I loved being able to go on a vacation with my own savings but I hated putting that money away.
So, I went online to find a solution. It came to me in the shape of money savings challenges. They looked so much fun and easy to do, almost like a game! Needless to say, I tried a few and was able to save a lot more money and not regret a thing. Here are my favorite challenges that you can try right now!
What Are Money Savings Challenges?
First things first. In case you are not familiar with the concept, let me explain a little what a save money challenge is.
As you can already tell from the name, it’s a challenge. One that will ask you to save money in a simple and fun way. Depending on the type of challenge you choose, it will remind you to put a little money aside every day, week, or month for a certain period of time. This will continue until you have reached your money-saving goal.
The reason why I love money savings challenges so much is that they’re fun and they keep me motivated. Unlike traditional savings, they don’t feel like a hassle or a chore.
Apart from that, they make the idea of saving money so much easier than putting money away. Not to mention just how easy it is to attain your desired goal.
With that being said, here are my favorite five money savings challenges!
1. The 52 Weeks Money Saving Challenge
This is, probably, the most famous one of all. Everyone who has ever attempted to save money in a fun way has tried this challenge. Naturally, I tried it as well, and I can tell you it actually works!
Here is how it goes.
Since it’s called the 52 weeks money saving challenge, it will have to last for 52 weeks.
I recommend you make yourself a calendar or a spreadsheet using Excel. If you want, you can buy one but that would defeat the purpose of saving money!
Write down 52 weeks on your spreadsheet. For every week, put in the sum of money you will be saving.
It goes like this - week 1 - $1, week 2 - $2, week 10 - $10, up until week 52, when you will have to save $52. By the end of the cycle, you will have $1,378.
The great thing about this challenge is that it’s super easy to do, and it doesn’t require a lot of extra preparation.
If you’re up for it, you can also do the 52 weeks money saving challenge in reverse. It requires you to start the 52-week cycle by putting down the largest sum of money and continuing in reverse order until you get to $1 on the last day.
To be honest with you, I actually like this version better than the original. The reason is that, when I did the challenge the first time around, the last weeks of the cycle came in December and it was difficult to save money then.
However, when I tried it in reverse, I saved most money at the beginning of the cycle and only had to put down a few dollars around the holidays.
Still, the best thing to do is to try both and see which one is best for you. It all depends on what your goals are and how much money you are trying to save!
2. The Bi-Weekly Money Saving Challenge
This particular challenge is also known as the 26-week money-saving challenge. You will find it floating around under that name as well. But, don’t worry! It’s super easy to understand and even easier to do!
When I tried this particular one I found that it’s similar to the 52 weeks money saving challenge.
However, when comparing the two money savings challenges, the bi-weekly one is easier to do from a psychological point of view. And here is why.
First of all, you only have to save money every other week or once every two weeks. This is what bi-weekly stands for.
Second of all, the challenge can fit perfectly with your paycheck. Meaning that if you get paid twice a month, you can use this opportunity to save some money under the umbrella of this challenge. This makes it so much easier to save money.
And third of all, you end up with a little more money than in the previous challenge. By going with the bi weekly money saving challenge, you can save up to $1,404 per year.
How does this challenge work?
Make a spreadsheet or a DIY calendar, just like in the challenge before. Write down your weeks and start saving money.
During week number 1 you will have to save $4, week number 3 - $8, week number 5 - $12, week number 7 - $16, and so on. Save money every other week with a break in between so that it doesn’t seem so hard!
This particular money savings challenge can be a good idea for people who want to save money but have a hard time doing so.
What I have come to learn is that putting money aside is also about the correct mindset. Therefore, skipping a week can make it so much easier if you already know you have a hard time when saving money.
3. New Year Money Saving Challenge
I know you’ve guessed already. The reason why this is called the New Year money saving challenge is that you have to start it on January 1st and keep it going all year round.
The best thing about it is that you can try it in two ways, depending on how much money you want to save. I tried them both back when I was just starting to save money. And I can tell you that this is perfect if you don’t have that much money, to begin with, but you still want to put a little aside.
The first option you have for the New Year money saving challenge is to save pennies. Yes, that’s right, I said pennies!
Start on day 1 by putting aside 1 penny. Increase this amount every single day as long as you are doing the challenge. Which should be for 365 days. Therefore, if you start with $0.01 on the first day, you should put aside $1 on the 100th day of the challenge.
By the end of the cycle, if you didn’t misplace your pennies, you should end up with $667,95!
When I did this challenge, there were two things I noticed. First of all, that it was by far the easiest of all the money savings challenges I ever did.
That’s because I only ever had to save pennies which I usually found in my pockets or I received as change at the store or I even found on the ground! That was the best. It was like I was given free money which I took home and saved for my challenge!
Second of all, that this challenge brought me a little over $600, which might not seem like much. But it’s a lot when it came from pennies that I would have otherwise thrown away or forgotten about them!
The other way in which you can do this challenge is also super easy to understand. All you have to do is save $1 every day for 365 days. Hence the name - the New Year money saving challenge.
Obviously, at the end of the cycle, you will have $365 saved. The process is not taxing at all and can be perfect for students who don’t have a big budget which allows for high savings.
4. The Spare Change Challenge
Do you remember that episode of Seinfeld in which George Costanza has a giant glass jar full of coins that he tries to take to the bank to have them changed into bills?
Well, guess what? This is exactly what this save money challenge is all about.
The idea behind it is that you can put money aside without even noticing it. Or without straining your weekly or monthly budget. Here is how it works.
When you go out shopping and pay cash, most likely you will receive some coins with your change. Drop them into a drawer or a jar instead of using them straight away.
The point of this challenge is to add up as many as you can over an extended period of time. I did it for a whole year while I was also doing another save money challenge.
I didn’t even think about the coins I received. I just dropped them in the glass jar and forgot about them for a whole year, until all my friends started calling me George.
The beauty of this challenge is that it helps you save money in an easy way and that it has an element of surprise at the end.
My advice is that you break into the jar around Christmas and use the money you saved up to buy presents. It will be a great thing not to have to spend extra money that year, believe me!
Go to your local bank and ask if they have a counting machine. They most likely do but the key is to ask for their permission to use it for free.
George Costanza was sent home and, much to our amusement, he spent an entire episode counting pennies. Don’t do that!
5. 365-Day Nickel-Saving Challenge
Yes, we’re back to nickels. I’ve left this one for last because it’s my favorite of all the money savings challenges.
As I said, I tried the 52 and 26-week challenges and, although they work just fine, I can also tell you they can be quite taxing. Especially if you have never saved money before and you’re a beginner.
Putting money aside every week or every other week can start to seem like a burden, especially when the sum becomes larger and larger.
That’s why I love the nickel-saving challenge. You start on the first day with a nickel, of course, which means $0.05. On the second day, you have to deposit double that amount - $0.10. Continue on the third day with $0.15.
As you can see, all you have to do is keep adding a nickel every single day. On the last day of the cycle, you will have to put down $18.40. To be honest, that’s not a large sum to save.
And, my absolute favorite thing about this challenge is that you save so little every day but you end up with an astounding $3,300! Yes, I told you this one was good.
You can, of course, pair this one up with other challenges. That means that you don’t have to limit yourself to just one.
Challenges are supposed to be fun and allow you to save money in a creative way. So, don’t limit yourself!
What Is Your Favorite Challenge?
Now that you’ve seen all the best money savings challenges, which one will you try?
It all depends on how much money you want to save, what your goal is, and how large your budget is, of course.
I did the nickel challenge and the spare change challenge while I was in college and while I had my first job.
But if you feel like you can put more money aside or if you want to save up for a dream vacation, why not try a more difficult challenge that will save you some more money?