Are You Up for a Savings Challenge?
How are you doing on that goal of spending less and saving more? It’s tricky, right? Goals are great, but without a plan to reach them, they can get lost in the daily shuffle. A savings challenge is a fun way to jumpstart working toward your goal while achieving tangible results. Here are several ideas for savings challenges. Give one of them a try or let them inspire your own unique challenge.
The $5 Savings Challenge — The concept of this one is as easy as it gets. Every time you get a $5 bill, you put it away. After a prescribed amount of time — three months, six months, a year — how ever long you choose, you put that money toward a specified goal. It can be a vacation, paying off a credit card bill, building your emergency fund, or any other financial goal. The important thing is you use the money for the purpose you intend and don’t dip into it until time period is up.
52-Week Savings Challenge — This one challenges you to save an increasing amount of money each week for a year. There are several different versions of this challenge, the most popular of which starts with saving a dollar the first week, two dollars the second week, three dollars the third week and so on. The idea is that you ramp up your savings slowly so that you can stick with it. But if you want to really challenge yourself, you can also do it in descending order and start saving with the highest amount first ($52 the first week) and then reducing the amount by one dollar each week. Either way, by the end of the year, you’ll have more than $1,000 saved!
Track Your Spending Challenge — If you ever have the feeling that you’re just not sure where your money goes, this is the challenge for you. You don’t have to change your spending habits, but you do have to write them down. Keep track of every penny you spend, from the biggest bills all the way to the smallest daily purchases. Once you start keeping track, you’ll see much more clearly where your money is going, notice any problematic spending, and see how seemingly insignificant purchases really add up quickly. You’ll want to do this for at least a week, but a full month will give you the most accurate picture of exactly where your money goes.
No-Spend Challenge — Ready to get serious about saving? Take a no-spend challenge. The concept is simple, but it’s definitely not easy to do. You basically cut out all non-essential spending for a prescribed amount of time — a week, a month or longer. In addition to saving money, there are a number of other benefits, including reducing clutter, rediscovering items you forgot you had, and resetting your thinking about the difference between wants and needs.