If you’re looking for a way to boost your savings or debt repayment goals, try a money savings challenge. Money or saving challenges are a great way to switch things up and jumpstart your savings.
What is a Money Savings Challenge?
A money savings challenge is a way to save money that makes it fun for everyone involved. The best part is you set the rules and make goal as easy or hard to reach as you’d like. These challenges can be anything from a no-spend challenge to finding extra money decluttering, to saving all your 5 dollar bills. It’s up to you which one to try first!
Each challenge is a different way to making saving fun. Many of us love the feeling of hitting a goal, and love the rush of pride when we accomplish what we set out to do. And that’s exactly what a savings challenge does!
Why a Money Savings Challenge is Worth Your Time
A money savings challenge can be a simple way to reset your budget, especially if you’re overspending and using the credit card way too much. It can also help you meet a savings goal for a big event next year, like a vacation, wedding (or wedding rings), or building an emergency fund. Some folks like to do them as part of their New Year’s resolutions – it’s however and whenever makes the most sense to you. They can also help you overcome the roadblocks of saving money, such as tight budgets, not enough time/energy, and struggling with disorganization. They’re simple and easy enough to do that you won’t have a hard time sticking with them.
Any of these budget, savings, and money challenge timelines can vary. A day, week, month, or – if you’re brave – can be carried on throughout the year. The goal is to find new (and fun!) ways to cut your expenses and put that money towards savings or debt. Remember, even if it doesn’t seem to be huge savings, every penny counts!
If you’re looking to save a specific amount, like a $10,000 money saving challenge, these money savings challenges will help hit your goals. You can adapt and adjust them as needed to help you reach your intended amount.
The Best Money Savings Challenges
No Spend Challenge
Choose a week (or even month!) where you cannot make any purchases outside of groceries or bills. Create a list of things you want, and at the end of the month, review the list to see if you still want them. Want tips on how to set up a no-spend challenge? Read more about ten simple rules for a no-spend challenge!
Fill out the form below to get a no-spend challenge printable:
10% Savings Challenge
Set a yearly goal to put 10% of all income earned into savings or investments. This 10% can come from any gifts, bonuses, side hustle income, tax refunds, or regular income. Once you begin to put 10% of every dollar that you receive, it’ll become a natural habit to continue throughout the year.
$5 Savings Challenge
The $5 savings challenge is easy – every time you receive a 5 dollar bill from a purchase, keep it in a box. At the end of the month/year, see how much you’ve saved up!
Alternative takes on the $5 challenge could include saving any other denomination of bills or coins, such as quarters or $10 bills. The fun of this challenge is that you don’t have a set amount to save towards – and you can be surprised at how much money ends up stowed in your shoebox.
A fun daily money savings challenge is to put all your spare change into a jar at the end of the day (rather than letting it stack up in a random pile on the washer). If you use cash envelopes, you’ll have a ton of change in no time!
It won’t take much effort, and you can cash it out for something fun once a year, like a birthday dinner. Just make sure you’re not stuck paying an obnoxious fee for depositing your coins. Not sure where or how to cash in that change? Read more about the best ways to cash your coins without paying a fee!
Save all your dimes in a two liter bottle. Once it’s full, you should have around $700!
52 Week Money Challenge
This 52-week challenge runs for the year, but couldn’t be easier to follow. Start with saving $1 for week 1, $2 for week 2, and so on. By week 52, you’ll be putting away $52. The 52-week savings challenge adds up to saving a total of $1378! Talk about an easy way to hit your financial goals, right?
Alternative Ideas for the 52-Week Money Challenge
Try reversing the amounts saved, so that you start at $52 for the first week, $51 for the second week, $50 for the third week, etc. If you’re starting this the first week of a new year, this will make it easier since right around Christmas, you’ll only need to stash $2 or $1 those weeks. You’ll have all the money you need to buy presents, so it works out well!
Feel like that one’s too easy? Try doubling your savings rate. Save $2 the first week, $4 the second week, etc., and at the end of the challenge, you’ll have $2756 in 52 weeks! This is a great way to kickstart saving a down payment for a house or car.
Want to mix it up even more? Try picking a random amount, $1 to $52 each week to spice things up. No repeats on amounts saved, and you can use any method to randomly select that week’s savings amount.
Financial App Challenge
While I haven’t seen any money saving challenge apps, you can try a new financial app like Acorns or Digit. Acorns is a micro-investing app that invests your spare change from your everyday purchases. Using Acorns makes it easy to dip your toe into investing without worrying about large amounts of money. Plus, it’s an easy way to automate your savings!
$100 Envelope Challenge
This one is fun to do with the kids. Label 100 envelopes with amounts ranging from $1 to $100. Mix them up, store them in a container. Every week, let the kids pick out two envelopes. The amounts shown are what you must work into your budget for savings that week. The biggest part of the challenge is that each week you’re saving a different amount, keeping your on your toes.
This money savings challenge will work out so that it ends right before Christmas (assuming you start at the new year). You’ll end up saving a total of $5,050, which is incredible.
Feel like this challenge might be too much on a tight budget? Try 50 envelopes instead, with amounts varying from $1 to $50. You’ll end up picking one envelope a week and a total of $1275.
Biweekly Savings Challenge
If you get paid every two weeks, there are many different money-saving challenges you can try. One of the easiest is to raise your savings in increments each pay. For example, week one ($1) + week two ($2) = $3 for the first payday. Week three ($3) + week four ($4) = $7, and so on. By the end of the year, you’ll have saved $1378 without even really noticing it.
365 Day Money Challenge
If you’re making it a point to save every day, it’ll help you to change how you look at money. While the 365-day challenge is chump change, it adds up in the end.
Start with 5 cents on day one, ten cents on day two, and so on. By the end of the year, you’ll have saved a whopping $3,339!
This one can end up a little steep since, by day 365, you’ll be putting away $91.25 for that last day of the challenge. However, totally worth it to set aside that much cash!
365 Day Penny Challenge
If nickels are too rich for your blood, try the 365-day penny challenge instead. Day one, you’ll put aside one cent. Day two, two cents. By day 100, you’ll be at $1. Day 365, just $3.65. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? However, it’s an easy way to sock away $667.95 that you won’t even miss!
3 Month Money Savings Challenge
If these are too aggressive due to bills or a tight budget, you can follow a 3-month money saving challenge for 2022 that will help you save $1,000. It’s perfect for when you need to quickly (but not too crazily) build your baby emergency fund before you start paying off your debt. Click here to learn more about the challenge and download the $1,000 money-saving challenge printable!
What are the Challenges of Saving Money?
If your budget is tight, saving money can be difficult – but not impossible. Not every challenge has to be about socking away loose change or bills. Instead of saving extra money that you don’t have, why not try trimming your budget? Even the tightest budget and benefit from a twice a year review. You’ll be surprised where and how you can find extra money that you didn’t realize you had.
Budget Trimming Challenges
You can challenge yourself to find new ways to save more in your budget, and using this as your money savings challenge.
The best part is, you can do these as a monthly savings challenge and switch them up to keep things fun. Here are some of my favorite to switch out and keep your money saving challenges fresh!
For a week, only “shop” out of your pantry. It helps to use up what you’ve already purchased, and can help with grocery savings when the budget is tight. This is a great one to repeat every 3-4 months to rotate your stock.
Generic Brand Challenge
Spend one month only purchasing generic brands. You’ll learn which ones are just like the name brand versions, and you’ll save money!
During this week, only buy items that are: on sale, discounted, on clearance, or you have coupons for. Or, are a combination of any of the above! It will make you work hard to find discounts, and you’ll be more likely to question if your purchases is a want or need.
Bank Fee Challenge
Are you still paying bank fees on your checking account? Challenge yourself to switch your bank account to a new bank or credit union without fees in the next month. Or, try calling your current bank to discuss how to get your fees waived.
Discount Grocery Challenge
A lot of people are weird about shopping at a discounted grocery store. Challenge yourself to only shop at one, such as Aldi’s, as a 6 month savings challenge. Whether you switch permanently or not, a month is a great way to save money and give it a fair shot.
Switching Services Challenge
Call one utility or home service account a month throughout the year to see what discounts you might be missing. Call everyone from your cell phone provider to your daycare. If they can’t help you with finding additional discounts, research other companies and make the switch!
An easy way to save is to use services like AskTrim or TrueBill to cut your utilities. Also, learn more about utility services that help you use clean energy with my Arcadia Power review.
Product DIY Challenge
Every month, find an item that’s costing too much, such as dog food, laundry soap, or dryer sheets. Research DIY recipes on Pinterest to try making your own.
Follow a couponing website and challenge yourself to learn how to coupon at one store this month. Start with your favorite store and learn how the policies and coupons work. Once you’ve got it down, move on to the next store you frequent.
Ask for a Discount Challenge
This one might be extreme, and takes some guts – but the reward is worth it. Every time you shop this week, just ask for a discount. You’ll get turned down 75% of the time, but the rest – you’ll earn savings you didn’t expect!
Put One Thing Back Challenge
Every time you go shopping, stop before getting to the register and put one item back. You’ll be forced to think twice about what you need and realize how much you might add-on to your original shopping list.
Free Family Activity Weekend
Challenge your family members to plan an entire weekend of family fun that’s 100% free. Make it a competition to see who can design the best weekend and take votes at the end! Need ideas? Here are some great places to get started:
Rebate App Challenge
For one month, make sure to check ALL your rebate apps after every purchase. By checking for rebates after every shopping trip, you’ll into the habit and save money. Rebate apps include Ibotta, Checkout 51, Receipt Hog, Saving Star, and Mobi, to name a few. Check out my favorite rebate apps and websites here.
Cash Only Challenge
For one month (or all year!), make all purchases with cash. You’ll find that you’re much more likely to hold onto your money when you’re not swiping plastic. Bonus tip: use a cash envelope system (or cash envelope wallet) to make sure you don’t overspend in any category. Put any extra cash leftover into a jar to cash out at the end of the month!
Cash Only Vacation Challenge
Estimate how much money you’ll need for vacation, including gas, food, and fun. Before leaving for vacation, pull that much out in cash from your account. Vow to bring your cards just in case, but to not use them. Challenge yourself to stay within that cash budget.
Travel Hack Challenge
For your next vacation, learn how to travel hack with articles like these. Don’t purchase flights, hotels, car rentals, or activities until you’ve figured out how to get them at a discount.
Cut Booze/Soda/Bottled Water/Junk Food Challenge
Whatever your vice is, cut it for a month. Watch the savings add up!
Meatless Mondays Challenge
If your family loves to eat lots of meat, challenge yourself to a month of Meatless Mondays. This is one of the frugal living tips from the Great Depression that you can use to cut spending.
Cancel Streaming Services Challenge
This challenge is great for the summer, since chances are you’re busy outside anyway. Streaming services like Netflix will allow you to pause your service and reinstate it later.
Every month, review a subscription service you have and figure out how to reduce the cost or cancel it altogether.
No Online Shopping Challenge
For a month, cut out all online shopping. For some of us, a super easy challenge – but for others, this will be really tough!
Choose one month to cut your hobby expenses and make no new purchases in this budget category.
Bring Your Lunch Challenge
Challenge yourself to bring your lunch for a week, or month, to work. Make sure to budget a little extra time to prepare it, but then step back and watch the savings pile up!
No Eating Out Challenge
Make an agreement with your family that no matter how hectic and tiring the week is, all meals must be brought from home. No eating out, and no sneaking when no one’s looking! Need ideas? Here’s a list of dirt cheap meals to get started.
Don’t forget to put any money from your challenges from your piggy bank into a savings account so it gets earmarked for your original goal!
Earnings Based Money Challenges
One Room Challenge
Every month, choose one room to dig through and reorganize. Divide everything into four piles: keep, toss, donate, and sell. List everything for sale on Craiglist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace that month. Make sure to get any receipts for donations so you can use them as a tax write-off!
Side Hustle Challenge
See how quickly you can make an extra $500 in 30 days with a new side hustle. Or, give yourself one month to find a new side hustle to bring in extra income. Get ideas on how to get started hustlin’:
Sell One Item a Week Challenge
Every week, challenge yourself to get one item sold from your home, whether through Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, or a garage sale. Put the money you earn away in a shoebox until you have enough for vacation or the holidays.
Other Money Challenges
Financial Education Challenge
Challenge yourself to read one blog post, article, or book a day about finances. A constant reminder about finances helps keep your goal at the top of your mind, and you’ll be learning how to best use your money to your advantage. Don’t forget to check out podcasts as well if you do a lot of driving or don’t have as much time to read.
Babysitting Exchange Challenge
See how long you can go without paying for babysitting. Wait – I’m not suggesting you just don’t pay the local teenager (that’s just mean!). Work with a friend, neighbor, family member, or other trusted adult to exchange babysitting services. Or, trade something they need (like the lawn mowed) for babysitting.
Gift Card Challenge
Put all gift cards that you earn or receive throughout the year aside and use them for buying Christmas gifts.
See how long you can go into the next season before turning on the A/C or heat. (Of course – please be careful and don’t risk your health or your pipes bursting!)
If you’re trying any of these challenges as a family, use some of the savings to entice them to play along. Then try out the Greenlight card to payout their earnings, all while teaching them about saving, setting goals, and spending wisely. You can read more about Greenlight here, Greenlight Card Review: Is it the Best Debit Card for Kids?
Interested in other money savings challenges?
Have you tried any of these money savings challenges or those on Pinterest to live your best financial life? How’d it work out? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below!