Sometimes it’s a little easier to save money when you have a money challenge in front of you. If you can make saving money into a game, it’s so much easier to save money.
The best part? We’ve made awesome free printables for you to track your savings, so that you can save more. Just want access to the printables? Scroll down to the bottom.
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- 1 Best Money Challenge If You Budget With Cash:
- 2 Spare Change/Roundup Money Challenge
- 3 The 52 Week Money Challenge Beginner
- 4 52 Week Money Challenge Medium Level
- 5 52 Week Money Challenge On Hard
- 6 52 Week Money Challenges Reversed
- 7 No Spend Monthly Challenge
- 8 Prize-Linked Savings Account Challenge
- 9 Money Challenge With Your Friend
- 10 The Eating In Challenge
Best Money Challenge If You Budget With Cash:
This money challenge involves saving a certain denomination of dollar bills and coins throughout the entire year.
If you pay for things primarily with cash, save all your coins and put them in a piggy bank.
Choose to either save every single $1 or $5 bill you get back in change over the course of an entire year.
Once a month, deposit that into your high-yield savings account to get the most interest on your savings.
At the end of the year, you’ll end up with $100s or $1,000s or dollars in extra savings — money you didn’t even know you had!
Spare Change/Roundup Money Challenge
If you really think you have no extra money at the end of the month, try a spare change money challenge.
The app will round up each purchase you make. At the end of the year you’ll have a nice chunk of change and you’ll have increased confidence to try one of the other, harder money challenges.
You won’t notice the extra money that goes missing, and you’ll realize you can cut out things of your budget as well.
You can do this with cash, but you won’t get the rewards from a cashback credit card.
If you want to go this route, try using an app to round up all your cash automatically to make it easy.
Acorns gives you $5 for trying it and rounds up all your purchases for you and invests that money.
The 52 Week Money Challenge Beginner
There’s a famous math anecdote that is repeated often to explain the power of compound interest. Here it is paraphrased.
A wise person gives advice to the king and does a great job.
The king asks him what he wants in return.
The wise man responds by taking out a chessboard, and saying that he’d like one piece of rice on the first square, and then double that amount on each square after. A chessboard has 64 squares on it. The king thinks it’s not a big deal so readily agrees.
The problem here? 2^63, which is the amount of rice on the 64th square is more rice than available inside the entire kingdom. Each increase doesn’t seem like a lot but when you get to the end? It’s a ton.
So, let’s apply that to this challenge. Compound your savings each week.
For 52 weeks, you’re going to save 10 percent more each week. At first that will seem like such a tiny amount, you’ll have no problem doing it even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck. As each week creeps on, you’ll have to get a little more creative.
The first week, you’ll save $1, then $1.10 the second week, then $1.21 the third week. Each week, you’ll carve out a tiny bit more money. It’ll be so slow and incremental that it’ll be an awesomely easy money challenge.
By Week 20, you’re only saving $6.12 that week.
In Week 30, you’re saving $15.86.
By Week 40, you’re saving $41.14. Your last week will end with $129.13 saved.
So, if you’re scared saving money will be hard and you really don’t think there’s room for you to cut costs, take this challenge. It’ll allow you to save so gradually that you won’t even notice you’ve save $1,400 that year until the end.
52 Week Money Challenge Medium Level
If you think you can take on a harder challenge, try the medium level 52 week money challenge.
Increase your savings by $2 every week with this money challenge.
At the end, you’ll have $2756. That’s almost double the amount you’d save on easy mode, and not that much more extra!
52 Week Money Challenge On Hard
Think that money challenge is way too easy too?
Well, here’s the $5 money challenge for you then. Each week you save $5 more than the last week.
Doesn’t sound too terrible at first right? Maybe cut back a latte or cook one meal at home and bring it to work the first week.
As the weeks go on, you’re going to need to get more creative with cutting expenses out of your budget or think of extra ways to make money.
By week 20, you’re saving $100 per week.
At week 52, you’re saving $260.
The grand total at the end? $6,890 for one year of saving. That’s an amazing amount of savings at the end of the year, and you started off with just $5!
52 Week Money Challenges Reversed
The major problem with most 52 week challenges is that you’ll be saving the bulk of your money during the holidays.
Some people like to reverse the challenge so that they’re saving the difficult amounts at the beginning since it’s more difficult to save around the holidays at the end of the year. I’d say this is much harder though, because all of these challenges involve saving $100+ at the 52 week level. But it’s up to you!
No Spend Monthly Challenge
A lot of times, it feels hard to not spend any money for a while.
A coffee here, some ice cream there, a random $10 purchase on Amazon. It’s all small purchases but dang, they add up! And they make you feel like sometimes you need to spend money.
But you don’t need to spend money to be happy. Spend more time with family and friends, exercise more to get those happy endorphins, etc.
To change your mindset about spending money, do this 30 day no spend money challenge.
It’s the perfect bite sized challenge to kickstart a change in your life. Read about how Angela’s experience doing it for a month.
I even created a super pretty printable for it just for fun :).
Prize-Linked Savings Account Challenge
A couple of years ago, there was a podcast on Freakonomics that talked about prize-linked savings account.
Basically, academic researchers were trying to figure out how to harness the fun of playing the lottery or games to get people to save more.
People love the lottery. Americans spend billions every year playing the lottery, hoping they’ll win.
The lottery nearly always (except in super rare cases) has negative expected value, which means you should not be playing it.
So, the researchers came up with prize-linked savings accounts.
Basically, you put money into your savings account and get credits to play a lottery. Everything you put into the account you keep 100%. You just get extra winnings if you win the lottery and games The company hands out winnings by earning interest on deposits at the Federal Reserve.
Gamify Your Savings With An App
This way, you get the “high” of playing the lottery while also actually saving money. There are much more frequent small prizes in the app so you get that “high” from winning. It’s the same feeling as those people in Vegas who play the penny slots. The positive here is that the amount you put into the account will never go down. You get tokens and coins to play the games and your balance can only go up.
There are fun games and ways the app prods you to save more:
- Offering tokens, coins, or cash rewards for meeting a certain savings goal
- Giving rewards for doubling or increasing your savings goal one week to the next
- Consistently saving each week gives you more rewards
Will you get more interest on average at a high-yield savings account? Yes. If you’re a consistent, dedicated saver, you probably don’t need this app.
If it’s hard for you to save, consider a prize-linked savings app to gamify your savings and make you save more.
Money Challenge With Your Friend
Participate in a money challenge with your friend. Take any of the money challenges above or make up your own.
Doing a challenge with a friend is always easier because then you have a support group.
One of you can talk the other down if you’re buying something unnecessary or if you fall behind on the money challenges!
The Eating In Challenge
According to Statistica, 72 percent of Americans eat at a quick service restaurant for lunch each week.
Generally, food at a restaurant costs 3-5x what it would cost to make at home. Why? Rent, labor, liability insurance, etc.
The average American spends $3,000 a year on dining out. That means if you made the food at home you’d save $1,800 to $2,400. That is a crazy amount of money you could save each year, just by cooking delicious food at home.
That avocado toast shouldn’t cost you $12. Make it at home for $2-$3.
Guess how many times you eat out per week and seek to eat out one less time per week until you get to the number of outings you’d like.
Treat eating out as a reward, not as something you do on a regular basis because you didn’t cook ahead of time.
Any other money challenges you guys have done?
Olivia worked in finance and wants you to learn the secrets of financial independence. She believes there are so many ways to monetize your life and make money doing the things you're already doing because so many companies offer free money.
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