Life happens, and sometimes our financial goals get put on the back burner. If you haven’t been stashing away money for emergencies or are struggling to cut back on spending, don’t worry. With the right tools and mindset, building a comfortable savings cushion is within your reach.
Here are seven money challenges to help you achieve your savings goals and regain control of your finances.
No-spend month challenge
As the name suggests, a no-spend month challenge is when you commit to not spending any unnecessary money for a month. Instead, you can save money to achieve a certain financial goal, like paying down your high-interest credit card debt or tackling your student loans.
Note that this spending freeze only applies to non-essentials like entertainment and travel, not bills. Make sure you still make your monthly payments on time to avoid incurring late fees and potentially damaging your credit score. Late payments can appear on your credit report for up to seven years, affecting your ability to qualify for loans in the future.1
30-day meal prep challenge
Eating out can be expensive. Two years ago, the average American household spent $3,030 a year dining out – an equivalent of $252.50 per month.2 Not only does ordering in put a dent in your wallet, but it can also be unhealthy if you frequent fast food restaurants.
If dining out is taking a toll on your health and finances, consider trying the 30-day meal prep challenge. The 30-day meal prep challenge encourages you to create healthy and budget-friendly meal plans for a month and stick to them. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars at restaurants, cafes, and fast-food chains, you could put that money back into your savings by planning and cooking your meals in advance.
The 100-envelope challenge
If you need help staying consistent with your finances, the 100-envelope challenge can be a fun way to jump-start a long-term savings habit. This money challenge gamifies savings money and promises to help you set aside more than $5,000 in just 100 days. If you continue the challenge for an entire year, you could potentially save over $15,000.
Here’s how to get started:
- Label 100 envelopes from 1 to 100.
- Shuffle the envelopes and place them into a container.
- Withdraw an envelope from the container daily, and the number on the envelope you choose is how much money you should place inside it. For example, you’d put $5 inside envelope #5 and $100 inside envelope #100.
- By the end of the 100 days, you will have saved $5,050.
Learn more about the 100-envelope challenge to hit your savings goal and build your emergency fund.
Five-dollar bill challenge
The five-dollar bill challenge is straightforward: Every time you receive a five-dollar bill as change, stash it away in your savings envelope or piggy bank. It may seem like a small amount, but over time, those fives can add up and make a big difference in your savings. Whether you’re trying to save for a trip or tuck some money away for future car repairs, the five-dollar bill challenge is a simple and effective way to make progress.
"Who could save the most" challenge
If you’re competitive, the “who could save the most” challenge may be the perfect way to ramp up your savings. It’s self-explanatory: whoever saves the most by the end of the challenge wins.
Whether you’re setting aside money for a dream vacation or a new car, this challenge can make your savings journey more exciting. Plus, if you add a prize at the end for the winner, you and your loved ones will be encouraging each other to cut back on unnecessary spending and supercharge your savings.
52-week money challenge
The 52-week money challenge allows you to slowly build up your savings throughout the year by starting small and gradually increasing your weekly contributions. That way, you can ease into the habit of putting money away.
Here’s how it works: During the first week of the year, you save $1. During the second week, you save $2. In the third week, you save $3. So on and so forth. And by the last week of the year, you will have stashed away $1,378.
Spare change challenge
If you want to save extra cash without drastically changing your lifestyle, the spare change challenge may be your best bet. With this money-saving strategy, you’ll set aside the change you receive from a purchase – a few cents or several dollars – in a jar or piggy bank. Over time, these small amounts can add up significantly and help you reach your savings goals.
Create your own money challenge
The above money challenges are suggestions for boosting your savings, so don’t feel limited to those specific ideas. You can customize and create your own money challenge to best suit your savings goals and lifestyle. Remember, the key to successful savings is finding a system that works for you.
If you ever feel stuck or need inspiration, check out our top money-saving hacks to help you reach your financial goals this year.
What is a money challenge?
A money challenge is a fun and rewarding way to improve your financial health. Some popular ones include the 52-week money challenge, where you save a gradually increasing amount of money each week for a year, and the no-spend challenge, where you avoid spending money on non-essentials for a period of time.
How to save $5,000 dollars in 3 months?
Saving $5,000 in three months means saving $1,667 a month, $416 per week, or $60 per day. To achieve this goal, create a budget so you know where your money is going. It’ll help you identify areas where you can cut back on expenses, like eating out or subscription services. Trying the 100-envelope challenge can also be a helpful way to boost your savings in three months.
How to do the $10,000 challenge?
Depending on your goal, you can do the $10,000 challenge in three months, six months, a year, or even longer. The shorter the timeframe, the more money you’ll have to put away each month. You can find various $10,000 savings challenge printables online to help you keep track of your progress and determine how much you should save each day.
How to save $5,000 with the 52-week money challenge?
Saving $5,000 in 52 weeks (a year) translates to around $96.15 each week or around $13.70 a day. To make this challenge more fun, you can follow a 52-week money challenge where you gradually increase the amount you save each week until you reach $5,000 by the end of the year.