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 39+ 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.
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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 of the most popular savings challenges is the 52-Week Money Challenge. This challenge works by depositing $1 in week one, then increasing the amount each week until you’ve saved $52 in week 52.
It’s an easy way to save without overthinking it. Plus, it’s fun watching your savings grow each week!
Another version involves putting money in a jar daily, starting with 5 cents and doubling it daily for a year.
You could also set a time limit 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 must put away.
The Dollar Savings Challenge
With this challenge, you save a dollar each day for a set period of time. At the end of the challenge, you’ll have saved up enough money to make a big purchase or take a vacation.
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The $20 Savings Challenge
This challenge is similar to the Dollar Savings Challenge but instead of saving one dollar each day, you save twenty dollars each month. At the end of the year, you’ll have saved up enough money to make a significant purchase or invest in something special.
Cut a Percentage of Your Income
Another great challenge is the Trim 1% of Your Salary Challenge. This challenge encourages you to set aside 1% of your monthly salary and put it towards your savings goal.
This is a great way to save without drastically changing your budget or lifestyle.
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. For example, you might be able to cut back on your debt repayment. 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.
No Take Out Challenge
This challenge encourages people to not eat out for an entire month and instead use the money they would have spent on takeout towards their savings goals instead.
No Shopping Challenge
Like the No Take Out Challenge, this challenge requires participants to not shop for anything other than necessities for an entire month and use that money they would have spent shopping towards their savings goals instead.
The Save The Change Challenge
The Save the Change Challenge is another popular option for those looking for an easy way to save money. All you have to do is round up all of your purchases and put the difference into a separate account designated for saving money.
For example, if you buy something for $3.50, round up and deposit $4 into your savings account instead!
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 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 also get in on this with others, such as having a family fine jar that a person must contribute to if they are rude to another family member.
The Pantry Challenge
This challenge encourages you to use up all the food in your pantry before buying more groceries. It’s a great way to save on grocery bills and reduce food waste at the same time!
The Holiday Gift Challenge
Instead of buying gifts for everyone during holidays like Christmas or birthdays, try making homemade gifts instead!
Not only will this help save money but it also adds a personal touch that your loved ones will appreciate.
The Grocery Shopping Challenge
Before grocery shopping, plan out what meals you need ingredients for and create a list with only those items. Stick to this list when shopping and avoid buying anything else that isn’t necessary – this will help keep your grocery bill low!
The Coupon Challenge
Collect coupons from newspapers or online sources and use them whenever possible when shopping for groceries or other items. This can help you save big on everyday purchases!
The Automated Savings Challenge
Set up an automated transfer from your checking account into your savings account every month. This is an easy way to ensure that you consistently put away some extra cash each month without thinking about it too much!
Stackopoly Savings Game
The Stackopoly Savings Game is perfect for those who are more competitive when saving money. The game works by setting up different “stacks” with different amounts of money that need to be saved each month to win the game.
You can also set up rewards along the way so that you stay motivated throughout the game!
In conclusion: Make Budgeting Fun Again!
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, commit to the challenge, and save each month.
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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.