7 Money Saving Challenges That Actually Work

by Spero Financial

Financial Coaching icon

If you’re like the millions of people who set out to save money in 2021, research suggests that your New Year’s financial resolution might be feeling like old news by now. According to US News & World Report, approximately 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by early February. But don’t let those statistics discourage you; we’ve got good news. With a good old-fashioned money saving challenge, you can still accomplish your financial goals this year — and have fun doing it!

Gamify Your Finances with These 7 Money Saving Challenges

Whether you’ve been saving for years or you’ve just opened your very first savings account, consistency is the key to saving success. The key to consistency? Keep things fun! The following savings challenges offer creative ways to set money aside. Try one — or try them all. No matter which challenge you choose, you’ll save money and have a good time along the way.

1. 52-Week Savings Challenge

Don’t worry about it if you didn’t start saving on January 1st. You can start this challenge today and follow it for the next year. The rules are pretty simple: You save $1 the first week, $2 the second week, $3 the third week, and so on. By the end of the challenge, you’ll be saving $52 in the final week, and that will bring your annual savings to a respectable total of $1,378. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to create a savings habit that lasts, this challenge is the perfect place to start.

2. Nickel-a-Day Challenge

For the more aggressive gamers, this savings challenge follows a similar format to the 52-Week Savings Challenge but raises the stakes with a daily savings goal. Fortunately, it starts with just a nickel. Then, you add five cents to your saving goal every day after that. Ten cents the second day. Fifteen cents the third day. You get it. While it might seem like pocket change, you might be surprised to know that if you follow through for 365 days, you’ll wind up saving a total of $3,339. That’s some serious savings!

3. No Spend Challenge

One of the most popular saving challenges you’ll find, this one lets you customize it to your situation. By limiting your spending for a set period of time, the No Spend Challenge forces you to pay attention to your cash flow. If you want to start small, set a goal of not spending any money for one day. (It’s harder than it sounds.) Want to test your financial planning skills? Set a goal of not spending money for a week — or a month if you’re feeling ambitious. Of course, you’ll still need to cover regular expenses like your mortgage or rent, utilities, and groceries. But when you plan ahead and stock up on essentials to last you the length of your challenge, you’ll be surprised to see how much you save on incidental expenses. That recognition can help you follow smarter spending habits going forward.

4. You-Brew-You Coffee Challenge

Can’t start the morning without a caffeine infusion? That’s ok. Few of us can. However, if you’re used to picking up drive-thru coffee on your way to work, this challenge suggests a slight change to your routine. Instead of getting your jitter-juice to go, plan ahead and brew your coffee at home. Then, calculate how much you would have spent on your beverage of choice at the local coffee shop and transfer that amount to a savings account. If you’re a black coffee connoisseur, the savings will be excellent. If you’re more of an extra-large-triple-skinny-half-caff-sugar-free-hazelnut-extra-hot kind of person, the excitement you’ll get from your savings just might rival that familiar caffeine buzz!

5. Give Me Five Challenge

Savings challenges don’t get any simpler than this one. When you see a $5 bill, save it. At first glance, it might not seem like much, but looking for Honest Abe’s face every time you get change can add a little element of fun to your financial exchanges. The hidden benefit of this challenge is that it encourages you to use cash more often, and studies have shown that people who make purchases with cash tend to spend less than those who use cards and mobile payments exclusively. So, not only will you save every $5 bill you see, you just might spend less in the process. Win-win!

6. Receipt Savings Challenge

Stores go to great lengths to help you save. And when we say great lengths, we’re clearly talking about the paper receipt that prints out at the end of your purchase. For this saving challenge, you can skip all the promo and survey fine print that covers the bottom of your receipt. All you need to look for is the line that shows “Amount Saved” or “Today You Saved.” When you see the amount you saved on your purchase, take it literally and transfer that amount to a savings account. If you saved 75 cents on a loaf of bread, send it to savings. If you scored $25 in savings on a new pair of shoes, move it to your savings account. Then, when your receipt says, “Today You Saved $19.47,” you can smile and respond, “I sure did!”

7. Round It Up Challenge

The final challenge on our list barely qualifies as a challenge because it’s so effortless. Thanks to mobile apps like Acorns and Qoins, you can turn every debit card transaction into savings or investments. These specialized apps link to your checking account, and when you complete a purchase, they round your purchase up to the next whole dollar and send the difference to the savings account you designate. For example, if you buy something for $5.13, the app will automatically send $0.87 to savings. If your purchase total comes to $13.01, you guessed it — $0.99 is going to your savings account. When you think about the number of transactions you complete in a day, week, or month, it’s easy to see that your savings be substantial.

Here at Spero Financial, we are committed to helping every member create a financial plan that secures a brighter future. If you would like to open a savings account or discuss your saving strategies with a financial expert, we’re here to help.

This material is for educational purposes only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

Find Financial Freedom Through Better Banking.

Join today, and start enjoying all the benefits of membership!