Are you looking for a new way to save money this year? Money challenges make saving money fun. They are also designed to bring out your competitive side, making even the most mundane financial tasks exciting.
Money-saving challenges are also, of course, designed to help you ramp up your savings, which gives you more cash to spend on life’s little luxuries like holidays, eating out, going to the spa, or buying a new outfit.
So whether you’re saving up for something special or just bored of the drag of budgeting, saving, and spending, keep reading. This article will detail 30 innovative money challenges you can try out in 2023.
What is a Money-Savings Challenge?
Money savings challenges provide creative ways to spend less and save more. These are games designed to help you save money while providing inspiration and a little bit of fun at the same time. They allow you to keep focused on saving to reach your financial goals.
They include daily, weekly, monthly, and even annual challenges where you put a little bit of money aside at a time until you’ve amassed a large lump sum.
Money challenges can also include daily financial tasks, cutting out certain expenditures, or simply making small lifestyle habits.
Are Money-Savings Challenges a Great Idea?
We could all do with more money, and money challenges are a fun way to grow your savings. Money-saving challenges not only make the task of saving money more interesting and exciting, but they also are a great way to train yourself into the habit of regularly saving cash.
Money-saving challenges will also change your mindset about money in that you’ll see that by putting away a small amount regularly, you can actually end up saving quite a lot.
Money savings challenges can also help you build up emergency funds, save for a specific goal like a holiday or a new car, or just put aside some extra cash for Christmas and birthday gifts.
What are the Best Money Saving Challenges?
Having some extra money saved can help relieve financial stress and allow you to reward yourself with those things you’ve always wanted, like a bigger apartment or a new designer handbag.
The trick to picking a money-saving challenge is to choose one that fits your budget, isn’t too difficult to achieve, and is easy for you to follow through with.
Unrealistic goals will only lead to you getting discouraged, causing you to quit the challenge before it is supposed to be over.
1. 365-Day Saving Challenge
The 365-day saving challenge is straightforward and is an excellent option for first-time savers. You start by just saving $0.01 on day one, and you then increase this by $0.01 each day so that on the last day, you are saving $3.65. At the end of saving for the year, you will have amassed $667.95.
2. $1 Savings Challenge ($1 Bill Save)
This challenge states that every time you come across a $1 bill, perhaps as change when paying cash, you just pop it straight into a savings wallet. Count up your $1 bills at the end of the year, and you’ll probably be surprised to discover just how much money you saved.
3. 365-Day Nickel-Saving Challenge
If you feel like making significant weekly deposits is too much, this challenge revolves around saving a tiny bit of money each day. You can even do this using small change lying around the house or cluttering up your wallet.
It works because on the very first day, you save just $0.05, then every day after that, you increase this amount by just a nickel. So on the second day, you’ll save $0.10, on the third, $0.15, and so on. By the last day, you’ll be saving $18.40.
Most people find these small amounts very manageable, and yet at the end of the challenge, you’ll have saved an impressive $3,300.
4. 365-Day Penny Savings Challenge
The penny challenge is easy to follow and simply revolves around saving all your pennies. Start with one penny a day and increase the amount by a penny each day over 365 days. You will end up saving $667.95 at the end of the day.
An even more accessible version of this challenge is to put any pennies you get into a large jar, and when your jar is full, take it to the bank and cash out your savings.
5. 365 Day Penny Challenge Reverse
If you’re using a high interest-bearing account for your savings and want to increase your yield, you should try doing the 365-day penny challenge in reverse; that way, you will start earning interest on the more significant savings amounts from the start.
Either the reverse or standard 365-day penny challenge is an effective saving option for your children as it will get them thinking about savings while also practicing their math.
6. 52-Week Money Savings Challenge
This money-saving challenge is as old as time. If you do it in its simplest form, you could save just $1 a week, and by the end of the year, you’d have $52. If you’re able to save more, you could put up this amount to $5 or $10 a week.
You could also scale the 52-week money-saving challenge in that you start by just saving $1 in the first week. In the second week, this changes to $2; in the third, $3, etc. By the end of the year of saving, you would have easily saved a whopping $1,378.
7. Reverse 52-Week Money Saving Challenge
If you find you need more money towards the end of the year and are struggling to save, you could also do the challenge in reverse by saving $52 in the first week and $1 in the last week.
Either way, by the time Christmas rolls around, you will have a nice little nest egg saved up to buy all those fantastic gifts.
If your money is going into a high interest-bearing account, the reverse money challenge can be a better option as you’ll be earning more due to the large sums you put in early on.
8. Double 52-Week Money Saving Challenge
If the standard 52-week money-saving challenge mentioned above seems too easy or doesn’t end up saving enough to meet your goals, you should consider the double 52-week money-saving challenge.
To do this challenge, simply double the amounts laid out above, so in the first week, save $2, in the second week, $4, the third week, $6, and so on. In the last week, you’ll put $104 into your savings account and walk away with $2756 in savings.
9. Mini 52-Week Money Saving Challenge
Reversely, if you’re not sure if you can put $52 aside by the time you get to the end of the 52-week money challenge, then you may want to consider a less aggressive version of this saving method.
In the mini 52-week money saving challenge, just half the amounts you should be saving.
So, put away just half a dollar in week one, a dollar in week two, two and a half dollars in week three, and so on. At the end of the challenge, you will have saved $689, which is still a tremendous amount if you’re on a tight budget.
10. Flexible 52-Week Money Saving Challenge
If you have varied income, work as a freelancer, or for yourself, you might find the flexible 52-week money saving challenge a better solution for your lifestyle. In this version, you should still save between $1 and $52 a week, but the order you do so doesn’t matter.
Choose the figure that works for you that week depending on your earnings, and keep track of the numbers you’ve done so that you know what you can choose going forward.
In the end, you’ll still end up saving $1,378, but you would have had some flexibility with your weekly saving amounts.
11. 26-Week Money Saving Challenge
In the 26-week money saving challenge, you save a set amount every two weeks, and typically this amount would increase as the weeks go on so that you’re saving more every time.
There are various 26-week money-saving challenges you can find online, and just do some research and find one that is best suited to your budget.
12. Bi-Weekly Savings Challenge
The bi-weekly savings challenge is ideal for anyone that gets their paycheck every two weeks. Although you save the same amount as in the 52-week money-saving challenge, you only need to set your savings aside when you get your check.
So, for example, in week two, when you start your challenge, you’ll save $3, which covers the $1 for week one and the $2 for week two. Then in week four, you’ll save $7, which includes the $3 for week three and the $4 for week four. At the end of the challenge, you will also have saved $1,378.
13. 26-Week Bi-Weekly Savings Plan
If doing the 52-week money-saving challenge sounds like it will take too much cash from your budget, you could try this option that only sees you saving every other week.
If you get paid bi-weekly, you could also time your savings deposits with your paychecks; that way, you won’t even notice the money leaving your account.
If you save $4 in the first week, $8 in week three, $12 in week five, and so on, by the end of the year, you would have saved $1,404.
14. 26 Paycheck Challenge For Smaller Budgets
Many people live paycheck to paycheck; putting extra money aside for a challenge can be extremely difficult. With this challenge, you simply add the savings into your budget.
For example, start the first week by putting just $10 aside into a savings account, and with your next paycheck, you can increase this amount to $20, and so on.
You can set a cap on the maximum amount you can afford to save so that you don’t end up going over budget by the time the year is out.
15. 3-Month Savings Money Challenge
This challenge is perfect for someone who doesn’t want to commit to an entire year’s worth of saving as it lasts just three months. If you save $84 a week for three months, you will have saved $1,000 at the end of the challenge.
16. 31-Days To Improve Your Financial Life
This is a challenge set up by Part-Time Money. For the entire month, it offers one task a day that is designed to change how you save money and think about it.
They introduce a new idea each day and then give you various things that you can do immediately to help put good financial habits in place.
This includes everything from selling your stuff to adjusting your 401k, reviewing your credit, and getting life insurance. If you need a complete overall of your spending habits, this could be a good challenge.
17. No-Spend Savings Challenge
One of the most popular types of money-saving challenges, the no spend challenge, is precisely as it sounds. You set yourself a specific day or length of time in which the aim is to spend no money at all, essentially like a fast, but with cash instead of food.
Some people allow basics like food or gas to be bought but apply no spending to luxuries like clothing, eating out, online shopping, and entertainment. This method is advantageous if you opt for a more extended period, like a month.
Also, it’s advisable to set yourself some scenarios in which you would be prepared to spend, for instance, a medical emergency.
18. The Pantry Challenge
Much like a mystery box challenge, in the pantry challenge, you use whatever ingredients you find in your pantry and fridge to create meals rather than going to the store to get extra food.
Only once you have exhausted all possibilities from the food you already have in the house can you hit the shops.
You’d be surprised how long you can keep going on what you already have, and you may even come up with some great tasting dishes you want to make again. This is also a great challenge with which to get the kids involved.
19. No Eating Out for a Month Challenge
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household spent $3,526 a year eating out in 2019. So, as you can see, one of the best ways to save money is to limit the number of times you eat out in a month.
It will be a lot cheaper to prepare meals at home than dining in a restaurant or ordering take-out.
This is an enjoyable challenge that doesn’t require you to put extra money into savings and can net you more money than you realize. If this challenge works for you, you can try doing it every three or four months to save even more.
20. $5 Savings Challenge
Like the $1 challenge, in this method of saving money, you just invest every $5 bill you get. If you don’t use cash, do this challenge by depositing $5 into your savings account every time your standard account reflects with $5 at the end.
21. Spare Change Challenge
This challenge was highlighted in the opening clip of the film Up. It’s straightforward in that you pop it into a piggy bank whenever you have loose change lying around.
When the piggy bank is full, you take it to the bank and get the money deposited into your savings account, where it can keep earning interest.
If you regularly pay with cash, you could end up accumulating quite a bit of money just by saving your spare change.
22. Round-Up Money Saving Challenge
Some banks allow an auto-saving tool that will enable you to round up any purchases to the nearest dollar. Those few extra cents then go into a savings account so that you automatically save without even realizing it.
Chat to your bank to see if they offer this and if they do not, you could also download an app that provides a similar function.
23. 100 Envelope Challenge
The 100 envelope money challenge or 100-day money challenge is an entertaining way to save money. Essentially you start the challenge with 100 envelopes. Write a number from one to one hundred on each envelope and shuffle the envelopes well.
Each day, draw an envelope at random and put an amount of money corresponding with the number on the envelope; for instance, if the envelope displays twenty-one, you will put $21 therein.
At the end of the 100 days, you would have saved an impressive $5,050, making this a great challenge for anyone that wants to build their savings quickly.
24. Weather Savings Challenge (Weather Wednesday money challenge)
This money challenge makes a game out of saving and can add a bit of fun to a typically mundane task. In this challenge, you consult the daily weather forecast once a week or every Wednesday. You then save a figure that matches the high temperature of that day.
If you live somewhere warm, like Arizona, you could end up saving quite a bit of money.
If you don’t want to make a weekly deposit, you could work out a monthly figure based on the average temperatures during that time.
25. Breaking Bad Habit Savings Challenge
Bad habits or vices are things you don’t need to survive and could do more harm than good, such as sugary drinks, cigarettes, and alcohol.
Instead of spending money on things like chocolates at the register, put the money you would have spent on these purchases into a savings account.
You can start this challenge for just a week or a month and slowly increase the time as you learn to live without those vices. Your body and your wallet will thank you.
26. 1% Challenge (The “trim 1% of your salary” challenge)
This challenge also requires little effort on your part. All you need to do is increase your 401k savings by 1%. In another month or two, go and do the same thing.
If you’re already at the maximum amount your employer will match, you could also set up an automatic transfer of this 1% into a savings account.
Your retirement or savings nest egg will grow bigger and bigger each month, and you’ll hardly notice the difference in your savings.
27. The Holiday Gift Challenge (Holiday Helper Fund)
The holidays can be a massive drain on the budget, and rather than going into a new year broke, you can get ahead of holiday expenses by starting to save now.
Starting now, try setting aside a small amount each week, for instance, $20, that you put into a holiday helper fund that gains interest each month.
When the holidays come, you can tap into this fund to pay for gifts, help pay for that vacation, or do something fun for your kids.
28. Automatic Savings Challenge
In the automatic savings challenge, you set up a direct deposit so that a set amount goes off your account each month.
This is a tremendous money challenge for someone that doesn’t want the hassle of saving every day or week, may forget to save, and knows they aren’t likely to stay motivated for a whole year if they were to save manually.
The automated savings challenge is not technically a challenge but a great way to save and a great habit to implement in your life no matter who you are or how much you earn.
29. Expense Tracking Challenge
Tracking your expenses allows you to see exactly where your money is going and what your biggest expenses really are. To track your expenses, write down every single expense for the month and start categorizing your expenses.
This way you can quickly see just how much money you’re spending each month on things like gas, takeaways, and coffee, and plan ways to cut down accordingly.
30. Money Throwdown
This fun challenge is a great one to do with friends and family. The challenge is pretty simple, just work out some rules with your friends and see who can save the most amount of money each month.
Frequently Asked Questions on Money Saving Challenge
What are the great times to start a money savings challenge?
It’s always a good idea to start saving money but many people find it easier to take up a money-saving challenge when there is a fresh start like the beginning of the year, the start of a new month, or even when they change jobs.
- A New Year: There is no better new year’s resolution than starting to save. You can easily start a 365 day or 52-week money-saving challenge at the beginning of the year and it will be super easy to keep track of where you are in your savings goals.
- New Season: Three months or 90-day money-saving challenges are perfect for the start of a new season. Plan for a summer vacation by starting to save in spring or get ready to buy that new winter jacket or boots by saving through autumn.
- New Month: Why not start a new money-saving challenge at the start of each new month? Monthly goals can be easier to attain and you’ll get to reap the rewards of your savings sooner which can help keep you motivated.
Where should you put all the money you have saved from your savings challenge?
The best place to put your money is in a high-interest bearing account where your money will grow and work for you when it comes to savings.
Just consider the fees of the account and the terms and conditions regarding withdrawals if you plan to use the money to pay for something specific.
If you’re saving cash like pennies, nickles, and dollar bills, use a piggy bank that is easy to get money into but more challenging to take money out of so you don’t feel tempted to dig into it every time you need some change.
How do you stay motivated during a money-saving challenge?
One great way to stay motivated when doing a money-saving challenge is to invite friends and family to do the challenge with you. You can even create a little bit of healthy competition to see who can save the most.
Be sure to also visually track your progress, especially if you’re doing a challenge that lasts an entire year. You can do this with a graph or stickers each time your savings hit $100. Put your stickers on the fridge and each time you look at them you’ll be reminded to keep saving.
Every time the piggy bank gets full, you should deposit the money into your high-interest account.
Try the Money-Saving Challenge to Kick-Start Your Savings Today!
It’s never too late to start saving and a money-saving challenge can be a great tool for kick-starting your savings. These fun and innovative challenges can lead to a lifetime of better budgeting and saving, helping you to secure a sound financial future for yourself and your family.
Whether you decide to save a little bit of money each day for a year, opt for a more intense monthly challenge, or cut out frivolous spending and eating out, you will save money. You can even combine some of these challenges to really maximize your savings.
Have you tried any money-saving challenges that we haven’t mentioned above? We would love to hear all about your challenge and if it worked for you. Please do share your experiences with us in the comments below.