8 Savings Challenges To Help You Reach Your Money Goals This Year (2024)

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There’s something about the task of saving money that just doesn’t seem fun.

Sure, everyone wants to have more money available for their needs and wants, but the process of actually doing it? It brings up images of depriving yourself of activities you enjoy, or eating the same meal over and over to save a few bucks.

But changing your approach to saving money could motivate you to develop better habits as you watch your nest egg grow. Turning saving into a game—even a brief one—might invigorate your money-saving efforts.

And though many money-saving games take place over a long period of time, like an entire year, there’s good news for those of you who have resolved to save long after January 1 has passed: you can start a saving challenge any time you please.

Try one or more of these eight money saving challenges to make your endeavor a bit more fun. Whether you prefer to manage your money digitally or have cash on hand, you can make any of these games work for you.

1. 52-Week Challenge

So what if it’s already mid-January or beyond? It’s easy to catch up in the early stages of this challenge. Increase your savings over time from $1 on week one, $2 on week two, and so on, until you reach the final week: on week 52, you put away $52.

Complete an entire year and you’ll have $1,378 in the bank, a tidy sum to put toward a large purchase you’ve been saving for or an unexpected expense down the road. Local Government Federal Credit Union has a printable chart to help keep you organized along the way.

2. Dollar Savings Challenge

Save one dollar a day. That’s it! Do so for the entire year to kickstart your savings fund in a way that feels manageable. While this challenge only nets a maximum of $365, it can go a long way toward helping you build a habit of saving consistently—and show you how small amounts add up over time.

3. $20 Savings Challenge

Does saving $1 a day feel too easy for you? Try multiplying the savings. Try saving $20 each week of the year. At the end, you’ll have $1,040—those $20s add up fast!

4. The 26-Week Challenge

Get paid every other week? Try the 26-week challenge highlighted by Redwood Credit Union instead of the 52-week savings challenge. You’ll save the same amount over the course of the year, but with set amounts adjusted for each of your biweekly pay periods. You can also choose whether you save more at the beginning of the year or the end.

5. Roll the Dice Savings Challenge

Take a six-sided die and roll it each day. Worst case scenario: You tuck away $6 each day for a total of just over $2,000 in a year. But this is a situation where your “worst” case scenario is great news for your savings account.

6. The 33.3 Challenge

Want to save a lot of money fast? Try saving $1,000 in just 30 days. This may feel more attainable if you think about it as $33.33 per day. This challenge is best for someone who has ample disposable income but needs a nudge to stop frivolous spending.

7. Bowl-Grab Challenge

Grab 30 scraps of paper (or 31, for those special months), and write an amount on each. Maybe you do a mix of $1 and $5 slips, with a $20 written down on a few to keep things interesting.

Put all the scraps in a bowl or mug and take one out each day for a month. Put the amount written on the paper aside and revel in your savings at the end of the month.

This challenge is fun to do with roommates or if you have kids at home. Not only does it make saving a group project—you could choose rotating days so everyone has a chance to pull amounts and contribute—but it also gets everyone talking about the process of saving in modest amounts.

8. No-Spend Challenge

Instead of focusing on the amount you can save over a certain period, how about testing yourself to see how little you can spend?

A no-spend challenge can take place during a single day, over a month or even longer. While the challenge is on, you can’t spend any money beyond routine bills and any other regular expenses you’ve already planned for (say, gas for your commute or getting a prescription refill from the pharmacy). At the end of the challenge, take the “extra” money you’ve discovered out of your checking account and move it to a savings account.

The longer your no-spend challenge lasts, the more you’ll need to plan ahead for success.

Read more: Is A ‘No Spend Month’ The Right Way To Save Money?

4 Tips for Savings Challenge Success

Before you start a savings challenge, plan for the following to help ensure your success.

1. Name a Goal

Before you start a savings challenge, think about what you want from it.

That goal goes beyond the amount you’ll have at the end. Are you saving because you want to take a vacation this summer? Are you saving to create a habit so you can eventually end your reliance on your credit card? Whatever’s motivating you to follow the rules of a savings game for a month or more, write it down and keep it somewhere you’ll see it often.

2. Visualize Your Progress

Ever seen a fundraiser where a thermometer graphic is used to visualize how much has been raised? As the total creeps toward the top line, it’s hard to resist getting excited about meeting the goal.

Bring that same energy to your savings challenge. Whether you put an X on the calendar for each day you complete your savings task, color in part of an image each time you set aside cash, or write down a running tally of what you’ve saved, having a visual reminder of your progress can keep you motivated alongside reminding yourself about your goal.

3. Choose an Accountability Buddy

Saving money is more fun when you’re doing it with someone else.

An accountability buddy doesn’t need to be someone with the same exact saving goal as you. They may not even need to participate in a challenge with you. Your accountability partner only needs to be someone who is counting on you to follow through with your plans—and will call you out if you start slipping.

If you’re doing a challenge with others at home, you may have accountability partners built in. But don’t be afraid to call on a friend or relative to keep you on task.

4. Keep your Savings Safe—and Don’t Spend It

If you’re saving cash, choose a safe space at home to add to your pool; for digital saving, transfer money to a new savings account or one that’s hard to access on a whim.

It’s good financial hygiene to keep your money organized and keeping your money out of sight can also quell the temptation of dipping into your savings too soon. Yes, it’s possible an emergency could crop up and derail your plan in the middle of a savings game. But while true emergencies get a pass in savings challenges, impulse purchases don’t.

8 Savings Challenges To Help You Reach Your Money Goals This Year (2024)


What are the challenges when you are saving money? ›

7 barriers that keep us from saving money (and how to knock them down)
  • Spending too much on housing.
  • No defined budget.
  • The “I'll save when I make more money” mindset.
  • Lack of measurable savings goals.
  • Student loan payments.
  • Your comfort zone.
  • Overusing credit cards.

What is the 5 savings challenge? ›

The fiver challenge - save £7,000

This challenge works the same as the 52 week challenge, but you go up in multiples of £5 rather than £1. So week one = £5, week two = £10, all the way up to week 52 at £260. Alternatively, if you're not in the position to save these larger amounts, you could save £5 every week instead.

How can saving money help you reach your goals? ›

Saving consistently can help you reach your financial goals

When you know where your money goes, you feel more in control. Creating a savings plan and budgeting will not only help you understand how much money you earn and spend over a period of time, but also help you create an action plan to pursue your goals.

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to money? ›

Ten Common Financial Challenges
  • 1: Monthly spending exceeds income. ...
  • 2: You can't get out from under car payments. ...
  • 3: You carry a credit card balance every month. ...
  • 4: You don't have an emergency fund. ...
  • Your rent keeps going up. ...
  • A new baby brings unexpected costs. ...
  • You owe the hospital for medical care.

How to do a 30 day savings challenge? ›

Do you want to save some money for holiday gifts or other short-term goals? Consider doing the 30-Day $100 Savings Challenge. The goal of the Challenge is simple: save $100 in a 30-day time period through a series of gradually increasing deposits. November has 30 days so every day is a savings day.

What's the $5 challenge? ›

You simply save every single $5 bill you get. So, whenever you get change you will be hoarding those $5 bills like a chipmunk collecting nuts for winter. You can use a piggy bank or simply make a $5 challenge envelope to keep your cold hard cash in.

What is the 1 to 50 saving challenge? ›

"50 Envelope Savings Challenge Tracker Grab 50 envelopes, label them form 1 to 50. Each week randomly choose 1 envelope from your pile of labeled envelopes, place the allotted amount of cash in them.

What is the 1 to 100 saving challenge? ›

You can save over $5,000 in just over three months with the 100 envelope challenge. It works like this: Gather 100 envelopes and number them from 1 to 100. Each day, fill up one envelope with the amount of cash corresponding to the number on the envelope. You can fill up the envelopes in order or pick them at random.

What is a money challenge? ›

The 52-week money challenge involves saving an increasing amount of money each week for one year. The challenge can be adjusted to fit personal financial circ*mstances and goals.

What is the 10 rule for saving money? ›

The 10% rule of investing states that you must save 10% of your income in order to maintain a comfortable lifestyle during retirement. This strategy, of course, isn't meant for everyone as it doesn't account for age, needs, lifestyle, and location.

How to make a 52 week money challenge? ›

There are no complicated rules to remember. Week 1, you save $1.00. Week 2 you save $2.00, and it continues through the year, adding one more dollar to each week's savings goal. By Week 52, you'll set aside $52.00, which will bring the year's total savings to $1,378!

How do you reach your money goals? ›

Reaching those milestones starts with setting clear financial goals.
  1. Define your goal clearly. A goal is the first step that sets you on a path. ...
  2. Identify your time frame. Categorizing your objectives by short-term, medium-term, and long-term financial goals provides focus to your plan. ...
  3. Monitor your progress.

What are 3 disadvantages of saving? ›

The disadvantages of using personal savings:
  • You're limited to what you can afford: your savings may only get you so far.
  • It's risky to spend all your savings: you might need your savings for a personal emergency.
  • Your responsibility for success: having more people behind your business could lead to more success.
Mar 15, 2024

Why do people find it difficult to save money? ›

Saving money is hard. One of the most common reasons is that you might not have a good enough reason to save. Maybe you're overly focused on the present, or maybe you simply don't know what you want in the future. Either way, you need to get a vision for what you want to achieve with your money.

What are two disadvantages of saving money? ›

Among the disadvantages of savings accounts:
  • Interest rates are variable, not fixed.
  • Inflation might erode the value of your savings.
  • Some financial institutions require a minimum balance to earn the highest interest rate.
  • Some accounts might charge fees.
Jun 27, 2023

Why do most people fail to save money? ›

One of the primary reasons people fail to save money is the need for more financial education. Many individuals are not adequately taught about budgeting, saving, or investing from a young age. With the necessary knowledge and skills, people may find it easier to create a realistic budget and save consistently.

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