Money Challenges: A Fool-Proof Way Of Saving (for anything)!

It’s that time of the year again!

The time of the year where we look at our list of resolutions and shake our heads in shame because we’ve accomplished one thing (or none). It’s okay, we’ve all been there. Sometimes things are easier said than done and sometimes we just have to really trick ourselves into being able to do something. It’s all about the mind here, folks.

If you’re anything like me, you probably made a goal to save some money. For me, that goal was to save at least $10,000 by the end of the year. Well, here we are 5 months later and I’ve saved some, but nowhere close to that amount. However, I don’t consider this a fail because I’ve been putting my focus on paying down my consumer debt AKA my credit cards. So far, I’ve completely paid off one and am focusing on aggressively paying down the other two.

So for those of you who have the common goal of saving X amount of money for 2018 and beyond, here are 5 money-saving challenges to kick-start your way to the finish line! The easiest way to make it through these challenges is to remember your ultimate goal: down payment on a house, down payment on a car, safety net, maybe a long (or luxurious) trip overseas, etc. You got this!

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.” – Paulo Coelho

Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed. - Paulo Coelho Click To Tweet

1. The 100 Envelope Challenge

Savings total: $5,050

envelopes saving money challenge

I recently came across this challenge in a Facebook group that I’m in and I thought that the idea was great! For this challenge, you need to get 100 envelopes and number them 1-100. Whenever you grab an envelope, whether in order or at random, you have to put that corresponding dollar amount. Make sure once you’ve put the money in the envelope that you put them away for safekeeping, maybe in a piggy bank or a craft box.

So, for example, if I grab the envelope marked #1, I slip in $1. In envelope #2, $2, so on and so forth. At this point, you have $3, boom, easy as pie! The great thing about this challenge is that you can be as aggressive or as chill as you want with it. With my current budget, I’m aiming for two envelopes a week, but you could do more or less. Even if you decided to cut the number of envelopes in half, you’d still have a handy $1,275 saved.

Note: This could also be done virtually, from your checking account to a savings account that you don’t touch, if you prefer not to use envelopes, but enjoy the idea of the challenge itself! 

2. 52-Week Savings Challenge: A Classic

Savings total: $1,378/yr

52 week money saving challenge

This cute printable is available at TheItMom.com!

If you’ve ever looked up a money challenge, the 52-week challenge is one of the most known. This one is definitely an easy one to follow and it’s good for those of you who feel like they never have anything save. It goes a little something like this:

Step 1: Save $1 for the first week.

Step 2: Continue adding a dollar for each subsequent week all the way up to week 52. Ex: Week 2 = $2, etc.

Step 3: You have saved $1,378. Congrats!

This is definitely an easy way to start building up an emergency fund!

Note: This savings challenge is wildly variable, so you’re able to dedicate any amount that fits your budget or goals. The method that I’ve highlighted is just a super simple way to get started! 

3. The No-Spend Challenge

Total Savings: TBD

This money saving challenge may be the hardest one, especially for those of us with guilty pleasures…or addictions! It’s a real eye-opener though because sometimes you don’t realize just how much money you’re spending (or wasting) consistently in one month.

I know, I know, just the thought of having to go one month without your daily coffee from Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, or wherever you kids are getting your fix from these days, is too much to bear, but seriously, you’d be surprised at the moola you put towards it. Before you dive straight into a no-spend month, sit down and create a budget that you can stick to. Once that’s done, you only spend what you set aside for the essentials and pocket everything else.

A few benefits of a no-spend month:

  • It helps you to save money. Duh!
  • It can help you pinpoint your trouble areas: eating out, shopping, makeup, etc.
  • It forces you to get your priorities straight and use what you have.

Just to name a few!

4. 30 Day Savings Challenge

Total Savings: $600/mo 

30 day money saving challenge printable

I don’t know about ya’ll, but having an extra $600 on the side sure sounds good to me! A sure-fire way to achieve this savings goal would be to put away $20 every day for 30 days. So, instead of eating out for lunch and snacking every day, look into bringing your lunch and snacks and pocket the money you would have spent otherwise. If you’re a visual person like I am, I created a free printable to keep up with your progress and help you to narrow down exactly how you can save that $20 each day!

Bonus tip: If you can muster up an extra $15 a day, you can save $1000 in 30 days!

5. 52-Week Savings Challenge: Reversed

Savings total: $1,378/yr

“Reverse!” “Reverse!” *record scratch* “Cha-cha, real smooth.” This is legit the first thing that comes to mind with this challenge. I’m sure you’ve noticed that this is another 52-week challenge, but starting from the bottom! A similar strategy to the Debt Avalanche payoff method, you start with the bigger amount first and work your way down.

One complaint about the original 52-week challenge is that it can get a little difficult around the holidays to save such a large amount, so to make it easier on your pockets, you can do the challenge this way! For the first week, you save $52, then $51 the next week and so forth. That way by the time the holidays roll around, you’ll only have to save a few bucks a week and you’ll still meet your end goal.

It’s also super motivating to see a large buildup sooner, rather than later, so happy saving!

Ready, Set, Save!

Okay, you’ve picked out your challenge and you’re itching to get started, now what? Here are a few ideas for how you can stumble upon some extra cash:

Cut the wires

Figuratively, of course! How many of you pay for cable and barely even watch live TV? I was guilty of it in my senior year of college, but I quickly realized what a waste that was, especially since I was mooching off of my best friend’s Netflix and Hulu #Finesse. Cutting cable saved me about $45 per month and I sure wasn’t complaining.

There are tons of options for alternatives to cable, my favorite being Amazon Prime seeing as you get access to thousands of TV shows and movies, kindle downloads, FREE 2-day shipping, and access to deals and discounts that are exclusively for Prime members. Hello, Prime Day! Click here to try Amazon Prime free for 30 days.

Drive for Lyft or Uber Eats

Before becoming an English teacher overseas, I used to supplement my income driving for Lyft. It’s super easy to sign up and it’s a quick way to make some serious cash, especially if you’re in a bigger city. Luckily, I never had an issue with my passengers, they were all pretty cool and Lyft allows you to receive tips for being awesome! Click here to learn more about becoming a Lyft driver.

If chauffering ain’t yo cup o’ tea, you could deliver people’s munchies with Uber Eats instead! Get this: you don’t even need a car for this one! You can also use a bike or motor scooter. The great thing about these side hustles is that they’re on your own time. Whether you just drive on the weekends, early mornings or later in the evenings, you’re your own boss here. So, turn on your favorite bops, roll down the windows and cruise your way to extra money! Click here to learn about Uber Eats.

Earn money right back

Ibotta is one of my favorite mobile cashback apps. The way it works is before you go shopping, whether in certain physical stores (mainly grocery) or through the app (way more retailers available) you check the offers that they have available and you can shop based on their cash back deals.

Not only does this give you money back, it also saves money by helping you pre-plan your shopping. For physical shopping, you have to scan your receipt to redeem your offers and for in-app purchases it’s automatic. When you sign up through my link, you’ll receive $10. Yay, free money! They deposit via PayPal, Venmo or in the form of gift cards if that’s what you prefer.

Simplify your grocery trips

On top of creating a budget to keep an eye on your spending, creating a grocery list and/or meal plan is SUPER helpful! If spending the time to plan out meals isn’t your thing, $5 meal plan is the way to go. For $5/mo, you’ll get weekly meal plan recipes sent to you via email with meals that can be made to last a few days and frozen to be eaten later. This is a mix of dinner, lunch, breakfast, and desserts. They also offer coupons for your local stores to lessen the cost of shopping. This came in handy while I was in college, especially because I love to cook!

Take on some freelancing work

Freelancing is a great way to hustle, especially if you have marketable skills, i.e. being able to type in Microsoft Word. Seriously, you can get paid pretty well just for typing up handwritten documents in Word. There are many people all over the world who are looking to outsource work such as graphic design, audio transcription, virtual assistants for social media, writers, editors, etc. I’ve been a member of Upwork for two years now and it’s come in really handy in a tough time. Fiverr is another widely known resource for freelancers, check it out!

These ideas are only a few of many ways to earn/save some extra cash on the side, so get creative, ya’ll!

Finishing Touch: The Right Bank Account

This post wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t send you off with the right tools to maximize your savings.

It’s no secret that traditional savings accounts at the big name banks don’t have much return, so you can use these online alternatives to make sure you’re *actually* earning interest on your savings, A.K.A. more money!

Capital One has a savings account called the Capital One 360 Savings Account that you can open for free, doesn’t charge any monthly fees and has an APY of 1.00% (most banks only offer 0.01-0.06, wtf?). 

Synchrony Bank’s High-Yield Savings Account is another online option and one that I personally use for my savings. It has all the features of the Capital One account but has a higher APY of 1.65%.

I hope this list of challenges and ideas to earn some cash come in handy for ya’ll. Just think of how satisfying it’ll be to have a hefty savings account, fun account, trip account. Persevere, focus and have a plan and it’ll be yours!

Have any of you completed money challenges or have some to add to the list? Comment down below!

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