When your motivation toward any goal is flagging, a great way to spark it again is with a challenge. It is just a matter of turning your goal into a game. Savings challenges are fun ways to turn budgeting into a game.
For example, a reading challenge might involve reading one book from each decade of the 20th century. When you finish your challenge, you can give yourself a reward. We are runners, so we tend to come up with running challenges. For instance, Greg is on a streak of 30+ months with at least one 20 mile long run each month.
Below are several different types to help keep gamify our savings. After,all a goal without a plan is just a wish.
Saving in Small Increments
One type of challenge involves putting away small increments of money. The great thing about this one is that you can adjust it based on your own financial situation so that even if you are not in great shape money-wise at the moment, you can still take part.
One version is to either save a certain amount of money, such as $1 or $5, each week for 52 weeks or to start by saving a dollar the first week, two in the second, three in the third and so on. Another version involves putting money in a jar daily, starting with 5 cents and doubling it daily for a year.
You could also set yourself a time limit in which to save a certain amount or make it a random game, drawing previously prepared pieces of paper from a jar each day or each week to find out how much you are required to put away.
Cut a Percentage of Your Income
Choose a percentage of your income, such as 1% or 5%, and challenge yourself to cut your spending by that amount. There may be some obvious ways to do this, such as spending less on going out with friends or on food, or getting rid of some of your streaming services.
There might also be some options that are easy to overlook. You might be able to cut back on your debt repayment, for example. Rolling a credit card balance to a lower-interest card can mean lower monthly payments.
Refinancing your student loans could mean spending less each month paying it down.
a “No Spending Challenge”
Like saving, these come in many different forms. One is to give yourself a time period, such as a week, in which you won’t spend anything at all. You could modify this to do it longer if you allow yourself only to spend on certain things, such as gas for your car or any regular bills.
This can be great if what you need to do is break a compulsive shopping habit. If you tend to have a well-stocked pantry, try to cook only from that for a week or two without spending any money on food.
Resist the urge to break your challenge even if you find great coupons and can buy things at a discount try to stay as disciplined as possible. Also be careful about the binge effect. You don’t want to overspend in between the periods of not spending. That defeats the purpose of a “no spending challenge”.
Habit Breaking Challenges
A great way to quit anything from biting your fingernails to smoking and more while also saving money is to fine yourself every time you slip. This creates two positives, motivating you to get rid of a bad habit while also saving money.
You could get in on this with others as well, such as having a family fine jar that a person must contribute to if they are rude to another family member.
Budgeting does not need to be tough or boring. Turn your efforts to save money into a game. Make budgeting fun and challenge yourself. The reward is you’ll enjoy the experience more, you will commit to the challenge, and you will save month.
Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.