5 Money-Saving Challenges That Actually Work

The following is a guest post from Irina Vasilescu, a personal finance writer and the content manager behind, one of the fast growing coupon sites that helps people save money.

We all know about a lot of things we ought to do but struggle to get around to. Saving money is one of them. You’d love to have extra money towards paying down debt, boosting a college savings account, or going on the holiday of a lifetime. Whatever your goals may be, there’s always a very good reason behind them, but not much motivation to delay gratification now for the sake of gratification later.

But frugal living can be fun! Turn it into a game with money-saving challenges that genuinely work!

First, a Few Basic Rules

Every game needs to have a few rules, and for your money saving challenge to work, you’ll have to implement a few basic ones:

  • Boot camp: You can’t really work on saving money until you know where it goes. There are some cool, free apps that can help you to track every cent.
  • Get your team on board: Don’t be a money martinet! Your family is your team in the challenge. Can you motivate them to give their full support? Test your team captain abilities out.
  • Keep score: In any game, one needs to keep score. In the money-saving game, knowing how well you’re doing will help you to keep your spirits up.
  • Make the touchdown: You’re taking a money-saving challenge for a reason – now run with that ball and make the touchdown! Your savings go straight towards the goal you decided to work towards before you embarked on your challenge.

Now, It’s time to Pick a Challenge!

1. The No-Spend Month Challenge

Yes, you will pay your bills. Yes, you will feed your family. But luxuries, impulse buys, and restaurants are off the cards. Meanwhile, you’ll look at ways to save on things that are necessary without going to uncomfortable lengths. Can you cut down your utility bill? Can you get creative with cheap ingredients in the kitchen?


2. The 12-Month Money Saving Challenge

Don’t worry! This isn’t a drive towards total austerity! The 12-month money saving challenge targets one non-essential item you spend money on per month. If you like the results and want to make it a habit for the future, go ahead and stack your gains. Otherwise, just keep saving on one thing at a time for one month at a time.

3. The 30-Day Money Saving Challenge

The 30-day money saving challenge is easy! All you need to do is save one dollar a day. Not excited at the prospect of saving $30? Run the challenge for a year and bank $360. When it comes to savings, every little bit counts.

The challenge comes with tips and tricks that can help you to reach or even exceed your target.


4. The 52-Week Saving Challenge

This challenge keeps asking you to do that little bit more.

Here’s how it works:

In week 1, you try to save one dollar. It’s really easy, so next week, your goal is two dollars, and so on, all the way up to week 52 when your goal is to save $52 in one week. Do the math, and your savings total $1,378 by the end of the year.

5. The Reverse 52-Week Saving Challenge

If you prefer to start big and end small, you can take the 52-week challenge and turn it on its head.

Start by saving $52 and work your way backward until you’re saving just one dollar.

Another variation of the 52-week challenge is to mix it up and pick a number from 1 to 52 each week. Once you’ve completed any part of the challenge, cross it off on a chart or list. You only use each number once.

Remember to Have Fun!

It’s just possible that saving money is hard because we forget to make it fun. Take time to tot up your score and cheer on the household heroes who helped. Gain bragging rights when you uncover a new way to save a few bucks. Celebrate your victory with a fun, free activity when you prove yourself up to the challenge. Let’s enjoy the money-saving game!

5 replies on “5 Money-Saving Challenges That Actually Work”

I really like the Zero Day challenge for this kind of exercise, but some of these are new to me and interesting. I like that Zero Day forces you to be creative and that you can mix up how you measure it to meet your style. You can count days per week or per month. You can try to chain days together into new record lengths. You can aim for averages or compete with a friend.

I use quicken to track my expenses but haven’t been very satisfied with it of late which is maybe why Intuit sold it. Next year I am only going to buy the deluxe version. Stopped using the portfolio side of it. I find Vanguard does what I need in tracking my gains.

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