How to Save More Easily with Challenges
Saving a set amount from your pay comes easily to some, yet it can be challenging for others.
You might never have been taught how to save, or maybe you simply find it boring.
Some of us struggle with impulse control, some don’t make enough to pay all our bills, let alone save.
Whatever the reason, there are solutions.
Check out these 9 savings challenges you could try and hopefully, they make saving money more fun.
Pick one and see how you go with it and read until the end so you get tips on how to make it even easier.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products and services we use.
1. The $10K Challenge aka $27.40 Per Day = $10,000 A Year!
When I discussed this some time ago, it shocked a lot of people.
Break down your savings goal and if it is $10,000 if you break it into a daily amount, it’s $27.40 per day.
Before you tell me you don’t have a spare $27.40 per day to save, I am not suggesting that.
Find a way to make or save an extra $27.40 per day and transfer that to your savings account.
For example, if you save $27.40 on your weekly shop, whatever day you do it, transfer that.
List something for sale and transfer the money.
If you compare your insurance or electricity and get a better deal, transfer the savings.
When you get a refund on something, transfer it.
As you can see, there are numerous ways you might make or save an extra $27.40 a day or $191.80 a week.
Breaking your savings goal down into smaller amounts and finding ways to achieve those amounts makes it much easier.
Or for ways to cut back, check out these 31 ideas to make or save $200+.
2. The $5 Note Challenge
Most of us don’t use cash anymore but if you do, save every $5 note.
Some people who do this put every $5 note into a shoebox for the year and cash it in then.
Others put it aside and bank it weekly or monthly so they accrue interest on it as well.
The idea is you won’t miss those $5 here and there, it’s basically the same as buying a coffee.
Those small amounts add up though.
Doing this is also about developing a habit and watching where the little money goes.
Make it a game and it can be fun to save more.
This method works best for those who use the cash envelope system.
For those who don’t use cash, you could round down regularly or set up an automatic transfer.
Up Bank does this and you can set it to transfer $5 to a specific account every time you use your card.
It is amazing how quickly it will add up.
3. A Money Tin Challenge
Buy a money tin you cannot open (or make one by sealing a can shut with super glue or something) and start putting your spare change into it.
My toddlers love putting money in my money tin, including any money they find.
Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Meaning, that when your change is in front of you or sitting in your purse or car, you are likely to spend it.
But if you put it in a money tin you can’t see in or open, you are more likely to save it.
Plus, once it is full and you open it, it’s a larger amount so you are less likely to blow it and might have more motivation to invest it.
A similar idea is putting $2 coins in a soft drink bottle or similar.
Apparently, a 600ml bottle will hold $880!
4. The 52 Week Challenge
There are numerous ways to do a 52 week challenge.
Some like to save random amounts each week instead of specific amounts.
Up Bank offers this as a fun little feature in their banking app.
Others do $1 for week 1, $2 for week 2, $3 for week 3 and so on until they get to week 52 and they transfer $52.
Or do it in reverse e.g. $52 first then $51, $50 etc. But I feel doing it that way isn’t as good because you aren’t teaching yourself to save more.
It’s about building the habit of savings and making it work for you
5. The 1% Challenge
Start by saving 1% of whatever income you bring home.
Once you adjust to living without 1% of your income, increase it to 2% then once you are used to that make it 3% and so on until you are saving at least 10% if not more.
Some do this quickly in a year by doing 1% the first month, 2% the second month and so on.
These small amounts add up but you also adjust easier to living without 1% than 10%.
Yet, after 10 months if you do it consistently, you will be saving 10% and it won’t have felt like a huge change or burden.
Creating small changes and being consistent with them is discussed in Atomic Habits, a book I highly recommend.
6. The 7 Day Fast Money Challenge
If you want to do a short challenge to boost your savings, consider doing the 7 Day Fast Money Challenge.
It’s a free challenge we run where you get a daily email with a specific focus to help you make or save money fast over the course of a week.
How much you make or save with it is up to you.
Some people find it useful for dealing with large unexpected bills and others have enjoyed it because it helped them get motivated to save.
It’s also a great way to establish an emergency fund to help you with your finances in the long run.
7. The 30 Day Money Makeover
Commit to improving your finances over the course of a month.
In the 30 Day Money Makeover, each day is assigned something for you to do to improve your finances.
It includes tips on creating and sticking to a budget, sorting out your retirement plans, calculating your net worth etc.
As well as simple things such as ways to make money or cancel your subscriptions, compare electricity and so on.
Basically, it is a great way to overhaul your finances without having to sit down and do it all at once.
With each of those savings and improvements, transfer the money to an actual savings account or your debt to ensure you truly are improving your finances.
8. A No Spend Challenge
A no spend challenge is about cutting back to bare basics for a set period of time to enable you to review your habits and increase savings.
You might opt to do it for a month and choose not to spend money on takeaway, junk food, impulse buys etc.
With a no spend challenge, you still pay for essentials such as fuel, rent or your mortgage, school fees, bills, food etc.
What you don’t pay for is those extras that easily creep in and can waste a lot of money.
Another option is to focus on one thing instead of all your spending on this.
Maybe you do a no alcohol challenge, a no chocolate challenge, a no clothes challenge or no energy drinks challenge.
Choose whatever you notice you waste a lot of money on due to impulse.
Transfer the money you would have spent on those things to a savings account to truly see a difference.
9. Pay Yourself 1 Hour
This savings challenge is from the author of The Automatic Millionaire and other finance books, David Bach.
Essentially, he suggests paying yourself 1 hour for every day you work.
Instead of a percentage or trying to work up from nothing, consider the first hour you work every day to be yours to be saved.
In Australia, you could take this further by investing it in your superannuation through salary sacrificing, or put it in a high interest savings account or invest in other ways. Get professional advice for the right option for you.
That 1 hour adds up fast and if it is a rule you live by, you’ll have a nice amount saved over time.
How to Make Saving Money Easier
As mentioned, some people find it boring or struggle with impulse, others might not make enough or not know how to start.
There are many reasons why saving money might be difficult.
The good thing is there are lots of ways to make it easier and more fun too.
Use one of the challenges listed already, plus consider doing the tips below.
1. Have a Goal
Saving for something but not knowing what isn’t motivating.
Having a clear goal for why you want the money will help you stay on track.
Whatever it is you are saving for, keep it in mind.
Get images of what it is you are saving for e.g. a specific car or house or holiday destination and put them places you can see them.
Add the images to your screensavers, mirrors and other places to remind you and help curb your desire to spend.
2. Emergency Fund = Freedom
If you are trying to set up an emergency fund and that is not a substantial motivating goal, think of it as freedom.
Often when we are grinding away to set up an emergency fund, clear out debt and sort out retirement, it feels as if life is passing us by.
Instead of viewing them all as boring chores ruining your life, view them as freedom.
Having an emergency fund means you won’t go into debt if an emergency happens.
Instead, you will have the financial freedom to deal with it quickly, easily and without stress.
Clearing debt might feel boring but having debt or going into debt is stealing from tomorrow.
Getting debt-free gives you freedom.
Whatever the boring thing you are saving for is or the boring thing you have to do with your money, think about how you can flip it to be a positive and something you want.
3. Make Savings Visual
Savings trackers are a great way to make your savings visual.
I already mentioned using images of whatever you are saving for, adding trackers to colour as you save can be motivating.
You can get some in our money bundle here or look them up to find one that appeals to you.
I, and many others I know, have found the visual component of savings to be quite motivating.
4. Be Accountable
Have someone you can be accountable to, either as someone to talk to about it when you are tempted to spend or someone who will cheer you on and encourage you.
This is one of the reasons so many finance bloggers share their debt journey, to be accountable.
Depending on your circumstances, you might want to try an account that has accountability options.
For example, Up Bank lets you set up an account where you can nominate someone to be accountable to.
That person does not have access to the account, cannot see how much there is or have the details.
But for you to get access to that savings, they have to approve it.
For those struggling with impulse control, this can help.
Of course, you still have control because it is your account, you can remove them from being the accountability buddy whenever you want.
5. Use a Different Bank from Your Usual One
Transferring your savings to a bank other than the one you use daily can help you stay on track.
This is because if you see the money in the list of your accounts every day, your mind views it as available money and it can be harder to save.
Another option is to hide your savings account within your app so you don’t see it when you open it to check your banking.
It’s the out-of-sight, out-of-mind principle again.
6. Find Ways to Make and Save More
All of the above are useful for setting up savings and sticking to it.
If you are not making enough money to make ends meet or you have some big things you want to save for, you need to do more.
Here are a few articles to help.