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Published in: Banks | Nov. 19, 2019
By: Lyle Daly
Saving money doesn’t need to be a chore.
If you want to pump up your savings in 2020, a money challenge is a great way to do it. It turns saving money into something that you can enjoy, which helps you stay motivated.
The tricky part is finding the right money challenges, because most of the typical suggestions are somewhat lacking. Some stretch the definition of the word “fun.” What exactly is the fun part of saving $1 in week one, $2 in week two, and so on? And then there are all the challenges that involve saving dimes, $5 bills, or all your spare change, which you can only do if you pay for most transactions in cash.
You don’t need to worry about suffering through another list of boring challenges. Here are four money challenges that are actually fun and have nothing to do with piling up spare change.
1. Stretching your dollars
This challenge is all about seeing how much value you can get from your money. Here’s how it works:
- Choose one thing you spend money on, such as groceries, gas, or clothes shopping.
- Challenge yourself to only spend a certain amount in this area. For example, if you normally spend $100 on groceries each weekend, try to cut that down to $75.
- If you’re successful, lower the amount more next time.
One way this helps you save is by making you more aware of how much you’re wasting on your typical bills. When you give yourself a firm spending limit, it encourages you to do a better job of monitoring what you buy.
The fun part of this challenge is coming up with clever ways to reduce your spending. You’ll be amazed at how much you can save on your usual expenses if you shop around for deals, clip coupons, and shake up your usual routine.
2. A head-to-head savings competition
Nothing is better for motivation than a savings competition between you and your friends or family.
The simplest way to do this is to see who can save the most money within a week or a month. However, this could be unfair if participants have much different salaries or monthly expenses. As an alternative, you could compete to see who can spend less in a specific area.
To make it interesting, you can decide on a prize for the winner, such as being treated to lunch by the loser. Or, you can just compete for bragging rights.
3. Trimming one expense per month
In this challenge, you dedicate each month to either reducing one expense or eliminating it from your budget entirely. Here are examples of some expenses you could focus on:
- Transportation — Instead of driving to work every day, take public transportation, walk, or bike. If you can walk or bike to work, you may want to focus on this expense during one of the summer months when the weather is nice.
- Entertainment — Stop paying for cable, movie tickets, and any subscriptions except ones you use frequently. If you’re open to cutting all your entertainment spending, you could try getting free entertainment from the library.
- Eating and dining out — Take a sabbatical from expensive nights out at bars and restaurants. Try out some new ways to hang out with your friends, such as having a get-together at your home or going on a hike.
After the month is over, you can either return to your usual spending habits in this area or stick with your changes, depending on how you like them.
4. Giving yourself a sales quota
If your home is anything but minimalist right now, then it may be time to commit to selling some of your stuff.
All you need to do is come up with a minimum number of items to sell. One per month is a good starting point that will earn you extra cash without requiring you to hustle too hard. But if you have a lot of items you’re not using, you can aim higher. Put all the money you make into your savings.
Most of us hang on to possessions we don’t use for far too long. By forcing yourself to sell things on a regular basis, you’ll get into the habit of only keeping what you need. And it’s a great way to come up with some extra cash for your savings, too.
Encourage yourself to save more
As important as it is to save money, it can be tough to do day in and day out. The reality is that it’s a lot more fun to spend money than to save it. That’s why a money challenge can be the perfect solution when you need some extra motivation.
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