There’s no doubt about it. Building up your savings can be a long, slow process. But, does it have to be? You don’t just have to “set it and forget it”. While setting up automatic transfer is a very smart idea, why not shake it up? Let’s make it fun! Why not use challenges to boost your savings? I’ve not only come up with my FAVORITE money savings challenges, I actually created one! Here they are, in no particular order (except for the fact that mine is first ;)…
1. The Couples Cost-Cutting Challenge. More often than not, it can be a battle to keep EVERYONE on track when it comes to budgeting and savings. I created this challenge because I wanted to find a way to keep couples on the same page when it comes to staying on budget.
Both of you will be competing to see who can find more room in the monthly budget. The goal is to lower the monthly expenses as much as possible. First, you will each choose 3 expenses of your OWN that are for you, not joint. Write them down with the monthly cost.
Next, you will each take turns assigning each other a joint, ongoing expense. Flip a coin to see who goes first. You will assign your partner a total of two joint expense. Write these down and agree on the monthly totals.
Now, you each have 5 ongoing expenses to try to lower as much as possible. This can be done by negotiating, finding cheaper options or if it’s one of yours, eliminating it all together. The goal is to lower your assigned expenses by the greatest percentage (%). Take a few days or a week and do your best. Don’t compare notes.
When your done, the one with the greatest change is the winner. Your prize…you get to take the total dollars ($) saved for the entire challenge and spend it, one time, on anything you want. If the total is $100 per month saved, you get to spend $100. (Optional hint: Find something for you both to enjoy. You earned this TOGETHER).
2. Savings Buddy Challenge. If you thrive in the heat of competition, this challenge to boost your savings is for you. It’s simple, yet effective.
The goal, is CRUSH your challenger by saving more dollars! Find a friend, co-worker, neighbor or even your spouse who is also looking to boost their savings. Make sure you trust them, because this is operating on the honor system. This will be a month long challenge. Each week, you check in. Keep track of what you both have saved.
The beauty is in the competition. If your challenger comes in a beats you by $20 in the first week…it motivates you! You’re going to work that much harder to make sure you can beat them. You’ll get together four total times on the same day each week.
The winner…gets the best high-five money can buy! OK, I’m sure you can come up with something better than that, but use your imagination. PLEASE, I beg you, don’t make a monetary bet. That’s counterproductive. Make the other one do something embarrassing, make him or her mow your lawn or cook the winner a knock down dinner.
3. No-Spend Challenge. I found this one in an article by Clark Howard. It’s pretty self explanatory. This one will teach you just how much we spend on a daily basis.
It’s traditionally a self-motivated challenge, BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t do this one with a buddy as well. You will first set a time frame. Be realistic, but also make sure you work a little. A good starting point is a week. You can do this as often as you get the urge and each time, extend it out another week.
Next, choose your “carrot”. Pick your prize. If you go the full week then you should celebrate! Again, don’t make it monetary. If you’re competing with someone, use the same examples I used above. If it’s just you, treat yourself to something that you normally try to resist. Maybe, just the fact that your bank account is a little bigger is enough?
From here, it’s simple. Don’t spend a dime. Obviously, you have to pay your bills. This is designed to keep your impulse purchases in check.
Anytime you feel the urge to spend, whether it’s on coffee, lunch or something on Amazon, STOP. Resist the urge. Use the 48-hour rule. Write down how much you just saved. Keep a tally and do this every time. At the end of the week (or whatever the chosen time frame is) add it up and celebrate! When the actual amount is right there in front of you, you will realize how much you spend impulsively, without even thinking.
4. Reverse 52-Week Challenge. I ran into this challenge at centsiblehome.com. I like this variation better than the original 52-Week Challenge. It plays on your motivation, starting off more difficult and getting easier each and every week.
The end result, an extra $1,378 in your account. You save a specific amount at the end of each week in the year. Week one, you transfer $52 (get it…52 weeks -> $52). Week two, transfer $51..week three, transfer $50 and so on.
You’ll be your most motivated at the beginning. That’s when the largest amount is transferred. Check out the chart below, also from centsiblehome.com.
5. $5 Bill Challenge. This one can be viewed as more of a habit than a challenge. That being said, it is challeng-ing. I’ve seen this referenced as the $1 challenge, but if you’re like me, it’s a little rare to have cash on you. That’s why I like this version better. On the occasion that you do have cash, this will have a greater impact on your savings.
Whenever you come across a $5 bill, throw it in a jar. You should never have a fiver in your wallet or purse when you leave the house. That means you received one the day before and failed to put it in the jar at the end of the day.
This won’t add up that fast, but over time it can certainly help. Use it as spending money on your next vacation or to buy a present for that baby shower you were invited to without it impacting your budget.
One of these challenges to boost your savings SHOULD appeal to you. If you think you might need some additional help, think about joining our very own 7-day BOOST YOUR SAVINGS challenge. We’ll walk you through each step, day by day, to help you clean up your budget and maximize your savings. The point is that there is ALWAYS a way to get motivated. Find YOUR way and get to it!
Sports Fan, Movie Buff, and Anything Outdoors sums it up. Brad loves spending time with his wife, Ashley, and their two boys. He helps empower people to take control of their money, bringing them the confidence to build the life of their dreams.
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About Matt & Brad
They are identical twins and money experts. Matt and Brad Ruttenberg have, combined, over 2 decades of experience as financial planners. They are known for simplifying money and helping others go from living paycheck to paycheck to thriving financially.
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