Are you looking to save money but find it hard to stick to a plan?
It might help if you make a game of it and challenge yourself. When you “gamify” your financial goals and challenge yourself to stick to them, the whole process can become much more fun.
It can be too hard to remain motivated or to maintain interest in scrimping and saving. If you’ve tried saving before with no luck, you might want to try one of these challenges instead that should hopefully encourage you to keep working towards your savings goals!
The trick with this challenge is to remember to track every single thing you spend for 30 days. No purchase is too small to keep off the list! The idea is that once you start to write down exactly how much money you are spending – and probably wasting on frivolous purchases – you’ll start to double think before you part with your cash. By the end of the 30 days you will hopefully have saved a lot more money than you would have if you hadn’t been tracking where the dollars go.
2. 52 Weeks challenge
This is an easy one that is also very popular. All you have to do is put money in a jar once a week. How it works is on the Monday of the first week, you put $1 in a jar. On the Monday of the second week you put $2 in the jar. On the third week you put $3 in the jar. You keep going, each week depositing a dollar amount that corresponds with what week of the challenge you are up to. Once you reach week 52 and put $52 in the jar you should have saved $1,378.
3. Banned Spending challenge
With this challenge you are only allowed to spend money on the necessities – food, mortgage, rent, electricity and so on – and nothing else.
This means you stay away from restaurants, takeaway, shopping, alcohol and other luxury items. Think of it in terms of “needs” versus “wants”. Eliminate spending on the wants for a period of time and watch the dollars start to rack up.
4. Spare Change challenge
This is another easy one involving a jar. At the end of every day, check what change you have in your wallet and throw it into a jar. Some days you will have nothing, or only a little bit of shrapnel. Other days you might have a whole lot of coin. If you are disciplined enough, you’ll find the money will start to pile up. (Note: I have personally failed this challenge as my husband kept taking the money to pay for parking meters and to buy cans of Pepsi Max from vending machines. You will need to have everyone in the house agree NOT to touch your coin stash!)
5. Pay Yourself Too challenge
This one is a bit tricky and requires some discipline, but it comes down to this: for every dollar you spend on “wants” (the non essentials of life) you should put a dollar in a savings account. So if you spend $100 on a new pair of shoes that you don’t need, you need to chuck $100 in the bank. Seeing as the cost of each item is now going to be double because you have to pay yourself as well, you will rethink whether or not you want to buy it in the first place.
6. Set up an automatic transfer to a savings account
This requires the least effort of all because you can automate it.
Create a savings account at a bank – preferably with a new bank where you don’t have your other accounts so there’s less temptation to dip into it. If you can don’t even set up online access or get an ATM card – you want to make it as hard as possible for yourself to be able to get to this money.
Next, set up an automatic transfer to it. You might want to do it monthly, or to make the transfer happen when you know you have pay coming in (once a week or once a fortnight). It doesn’t matter, as long as you have regular payments being sent there. This way you are squirrelling away money for a rainy day – and after a while you’ll have a fantastic stash of cash!
7. Replace Your Costly Habits challenge
If you know you have bad habits when it comes to spending – like going through the drive-thru for dinner instead of cooking or not checking prices properly at the supermarket, you might want to harness this challenge.
Replace your bad habits with new ones – maybe plan your meals, cook in bulk, actively keep an eye on catalogue specials. Taking stock of how you waste money and reigning it in can see benefits almost straight away!