Are you looking for the best money saving challenge? It’s no secret that challenging yourself is one of the best ways to accomplish your goals. Why is this? It’s because focusing on that challenge helps your brain make the goal part of your daily routine.
So, why not apply that same proven approach to your finances and give yourself a money saving challenge? Here are the top picks for money saving challenges that’ll help you find financial success in no time.
What Makes A Good Money Saving Challenge?
Each money saving challenge below has a clear purpose, lets you routinely check your progress, and gives measurable goals. There’s no sense in doing something if you have no clue what it is or if you’re even doing it right!
With our criteria set, let’s go ahead and dive in.
The 52 Week Money Saving Challenge
The 52 week savings challenge is one of the most popular methods out there.
The premise is simple: in the 1st week, you save $1. In the 2nd week, you save $2. In the 3rd week, you save $3. Continue to add a dollar to your weekly savings goal each week for 52 weeks, saving $52 in the final week.
Then, by the end of the year, you’ve saved a total of $1,378!
The main reason this challenge is so great is that it starts you off gently. It’s easy to start by telling yourself, “Okay, this week, I need to save $1.” That’s a goal that, for most people, is easily achievable and doesn’t even take any effort.
Then, for the next few weeks, you remind yourself to save $2, $3, and so on. By the time you’re saving double digits, you’ve been building up a savings habit for a whopping two and a half months!
Using the 52 week savings challenge, you let yourself build up the good habits while it’s easy to do. By the time you need to start making a more conscious effort to meet your savings goal (such as by making a budget), you’re already in the habit of saving each week.
“But, what if I don’t get paid every week?” If this question applies to you, here’s an adjusted version of the 52 week savings challenge.
The 26 Week Saving Challenge
The 26 week saving challenge (sometimes called the “bi-weekly saving challenge”) is an adapted version of the 52 week challenge.
The main idea here is that instead of saving every week, you just combine two weeks’ worth of saving together. This is a great way to save if you get paid every other week rather than every week.
So, when you receive your 1st paycheck, you save $3. This is because you’re saving $1 from week one and $2 from week two.
When you get your second paycheck, you will save $7. Here, you add the $3 from week three and $4 from week four.
This process continues until you get to your 26th paycheck in week 52. At this point, you’ve been building up your money skills all year. So, that $103 ($51 from week 51 + $52 from week 52 = $103) won’t seem anyway near as daunting as it might right now!
The No Spend Challenge
If you’re looking for a challenge that doesn’t ramp up steadily throughout the year, consider the no spend challenge. This money saving challenge is great for those of you who like to test your willpower.
The core concept with the no spend challenge is that you choose a day, week, month, etc. During that time, you don’t spend any money at all.
Think of it like running a sprint. Rather than starting slow and building up over a long period of time, the no spend challenge has you spend as little as possible in shorter bursts.
However, just like with exercise, you have to be smart about how you exert yourself—this is true whether you’re talking about your muscles or your wallet!
It may not be realistic for you to do the no spend challenge for an entire month or even a week. If that’s the case, don’t force yourself into it.
You’ll gain so much more by choosing a day of the week and committing to spend as little as possible once a week than you would be trying to be as frugal as possible nonstop.
Similarly, understand that a day of no spending can’t make up for impulsive spending the rest of the week. You wouldn’t be healthy if you ran once a week and then ate a dozen donuts each of the other six days! The same goes for managing your savings.
Ultimately, what’s most important is to pick a duration that feels manageable. Remember that you can always increase the time later!
The 365 Day Money Saving Challenge
The 365 day challenge (also known as “The Nickel Challenge”) is like the 52 week challenge’s big brother.
Here’s how it works: on day one, save $0.05. Then, on day two, you save $0.10. On day three, $0.15. Just add 5 cents to your next day’s savings goal. Seems easy enough, right?
Well, this easy challenge helps you save a deceptively large amount of money. By day 100, you’re saving $5 a day. By day 200, it’s up to $10 per day. And, by the end of the one year period, you’re putting away over $18 a day!
All of this adds up to a yearly savings total of $3,339.75! Not bad considering you started with just $0.05 a day.
The 365 day money saving challenge is great for a lot of the same reasons as the 52 week challenge: it starts you off slow but builds up steadily over time. This is a great way to add to saving money to your daily routine, and this challenge forces you to save every day rather than every week.
If you’re looking for a slightly more extreme version of the 52 week challenge, try the 365 day challenge!
The Spare Change Challenge
The spare change saving challenge is one of the oldest and simplest ways to make saving money a habit. Whether in an old water jug or a random jar, the spare change money challenge involves taking your spare change from every purchase and setting it aside.
Over time, you’ll end up with a surprisingly large amount of savings!
With Acorns, any purchases you make with a card will automatically round up to the nearest dollar. This brings the spare change challenge into the digital era!
If you’re looking for an easy way to passively save more money and become more fiscally responsible, the spare change challenge might be exactly what you need.
The Routine Costs Challenge
The routine costs challenge applies the same principle used to make a good budget: prioritizing your spending.
The premise of the routine costs challenge is that you cut out those daily expenses that don’t actually add that much to your life.
Do you have a bad habit of drinking Starbucks every morning when you could brew your coffee at home for 1/10th of the cost? Try bringing coffee to work from home for a week rather than go out.
Do you like to eat out at restaurants every night? Try doing meal prep for a week and cooking at home.
The point here is that it doesn’t matter which specific cost you try cutting. What matters is that you make a conscious decision about what expenses matter most in your life.
If you ate in every night rather than go out and saved the difference, how long would it take for you to afford that cruise? Or maybe you could go to a concert that you’ve been waiting for?
When you prioritize your spending, you can get a lot more enjoyment out of less money. That’s the goal of the routine costs challenge.
The 8 Week Vacation Challenge
Are you excited about taking that upcoming vacation? Looking for a way to give yourself some extra spending money in just a few months? The 8 week vacation challenge offers a fast way to save $1,000.
The idea here is you save money each week in the following pattern:
- 1st Week: $50
- 2nd Week: $75
- 3rd Week: $125
- 4th Week: $250
- 5th Week: $250
- 6th Week: $125
- 7th Week: $75
- 8th Week: $50
The nice thing about this money saving challenge is that it’s most intense in weeks four and five. With this strategy, you get a gentle introduction (only $50 the first week).
But, over time, you ramp up your savings to $250 in the middle of your eight week period. Then, as your vacation gets closer, you allow yourself to loosen up and save less money.
By the time your vacation rolls around, you’re no longer stressing about how much to save since you’re back down to an easy $50. The last thing you’d want to do is go on vacation still tense over your savings plan!
If you have a vacation or other planned time away from work in the coming months, consider the 8 week vacation challenge. It’s a great way to give yourself some extra cash while still affording enough time to wind down before relaxing.
The $5 challenge is a money saving challenge where you set aside every $5 bill you get in a year. Any time you receive a $5 bill as part of your change, it goes into a collection of $5 bills. Then, at the end of the year, you can use all of the $5 bills to progress towards a financial goal.
In the 52 week challenge, you save a total of $1,378 throughout the year. The idea behind the 52 week challenge is that during the 1st week, you save $1. The 2nd week, $2. And so on. This continues until you get to the 52nd week, where you save $52. This all adds up to $1,378 over the course of a single year!
Lucas is a personal finance expert, an undergraduate student at Harvard University and the founder of the Personal Finance and Consulting Group at Harvard College (an officially recognized student organization). He has spent much of his life working to increase financial literacy in his surrounding communities through independent financial research and curricula design, and he is currently studying economics with a secondary in music.