January is the perfect time to create new challenges that will guide your savings throughout the year.
Money saving challenges are effective ways to create a competition with yourself to drive your savings.
Below are a series of fun money saving challenges that will help you save or meet your goals.
Some challenges are focused on saving money. The goal for these challenges is saving.
For this challenge, you’ll save a particular type of coin. You might save every dime you see or every quarter. Pennies and nickels take up more space with less value, but they still have some monetary value.
You can easily put the coins in any household container, which shouldn’t cost. You can save until a certain date or cash in when your container is full.
This type of challenge is great because you don’t have to put forth a lot of effort.
Save Age challenge
You’ll save the amount equal to your age each week with this challenge.
If you’re 30 years old, you’ll set aside $30 each week. At the end of a year, you would have $1,560.
You can put this amount in a separate bank account or even have it directly withdrawn from your account weekly.
This challenge is great because it grows as you do.
Weekly money-saving challenge
This challenge leads to over $1,000 by the end of the year. You simply save the same amount as the week (week 1–save $1; week 5–save $5). You can also double that amount for a larger payout.
The biggest issue with this challenge is that the end of the year, when you are saving the largest amount, is also Christmastime. The best solution if that’s a concern is to do this backward (week 1–save $52; week 5–save $48).
Keeping track of this challenge is simple.
Set dollar challenge
If there is an amount that you can set aside (confidently) each week, start there. Maybe you can spare $10-$15 each week, which would lead to $520-$780 at the end of the year. It’s pretty easy to cut one meal out or two coffees a week to afford this challenge.
This challenge is awesome because the more you can spare, the more you will have.
Doing without challenge
This challenge takes a bit of strategizing. You would identify the areas that you spend extra money. It could be a soda each day ($2), a meal out each week ($40), or a subscription service that you are willing to do without. (The Netflix increase to $18/month is enough to make some of us cancel our accounts.)
Challenges like this work best when you budget well.
These challenges are great because you start with a goal and make it happen. With most of these, you’ll set aside a specific amount and a time frame to make that happen. For example, you want to save $500 in 5 months. That’s $100 each month, which you can set aside each month or break down to $20-$25 each week.
If you’re looking to take a vacation, estimate the amount that you are willing to spend on that vacation and then make that amount your goal. Keep your goal setting and goal accomplishing within the same year to increase your chance of the amount being accurate. Once you set aside your goal, you can determine how you will save.
Big ticket challenges are for large items like an appliance or vehicle. These items cost more, so they may take longer to save for, and you’ll have to be very disciplined to save $5,000-$25,000 in a year or two.
These challenges are difficult, but if you are dedicated, it’s better to pay outright for the item. Also, if you already have a large portion saved and find a sale or a deal where you have the cash outright, you might be able to get the item much cheaper.
Beat them challenge
With this challenge, your goal is to beat someone else. You and a friend or family member compete to see who can save the most during a specific amount of time. You may challenge who can save the most in a month or two months. At the end of these types of challenges, whoever wins the challenge gets a treat from the loser (a dinner or prize).
This challenge is similar to others. You set aside a specific amount for a holiday or an event. It could include a large holiday vacation, a birthday, wedding, or other large event. You save toward that goal. The best part of this challenge is that you have a set amount and a clear date.
College challenges are exactly what they seem: save money for college. You know how much you need per semester (focus on semesters instead of year to make it more feasible) so focus on saving that amount.
I did this my first semester of grad school. I was a waitress, so I set aside every quarter and $5 that I received. It took me a few months to save up the $2,500 that I needed for my class that semester.
Whatever strategy you use to save money, challenges are guaranteed to make them more fun. What type of challenge has worked for you?
Martha Warner is a writer, editor, and educator. As a single mom for many years, Martha knows the value of money, how to work hard, and how to hustle. Her freelance career started as a side hustle (to support her love of travel) and quickly grew into the most lucrative career she’s ever had. Martha still teaches at the university as well as other online and in-person courses, including Writing to Make Money, College Scholarship Writing, and Write that Grant. Find out more about her on her website.