23 Money Saving Challenges You Can Start Today

Grace Moser

A woman putting a crumpled up five dollar bill into a small pink money purse. The background is pink as well.

Do you ever get that feeling that you’re just never going to make it financially?

Like it’s all just a big struggle to get ahead and you never will get ahead.

Ignore it. It’s a lie, I promise.

If you want to level up your finances and finally get that awesome feeling of, “I’ve made it, this is it,” then you need to get rid of any bad belief that holds you back.

I don’t care if you have to say affirmations along with performing actions that will get you ahead, you just need to change your mindset. 

And saving money challenges is an incredible way of getting there.

They put you on a path to taking control of your money situation and make you mindful about actually saving money.

But they’re also fun too!

You can think of them as a video game; how can you get to the next level financially with the savings challenge you’re on?

And if the concept of a money saving challenge is new to you, then I’ll give you a run down on how it works.


What is a Money Saving Challenge?

A slightly opened light blue wallet, with some money sticking out, sitting on a glass tabletop.

A money saving challenge is a way for you to challenge yourself to save a specific amount of money during a certain period of time and/or with a goal in mind.

Here are 4 main things to keep in mind when it comes to saving challenges:

  1. The timeline.
  2. The rules for how much you need to save each day.
  3. Things you shouldn’t be spending money on.
  4. Adopting good money habits so that you win this money challenge.

There are many kinds of challenges to save money, some of them more simple than others. So it’s best if you don’t over do it and push yourself to pick a money saving challenge that will discouraged you and make you want to quit.


You need to keep in mind that you want to win this challenge, so if need be, keep it simple at first and then move onto more complex and difficult money challenges as your confidence builds.

Why is Saving So Difficult?

Now you might have difficulty participating in money challenges if you’re finding it difficult to save in general.

So what might you be struggling with that can be overcome? Here are 5 ideas:

  1. First, you might be reluctant to give up a certain type of lifestyle that keeps you behind financially. I’ve been there before and it can be pretty hard to overcome. You’re used to grabbing a cup of a coffee at your favorite cafe everyday. You like buying those splurge items at the grocery store, and sometimes it’s just fun to walk into a store and get an outfit.
    But there are two important things to think about: 1.) Is the life of financial freedom and never having to worry about money again more important than your current lifestyle? 2.) What beliefs do you have revolving around money that you or maybe your parents gave you growing up? And do you need counseling or to find other solutions to overcome this.
    I know that sometimes putting the work in to fix these inner issues isn’t always fun, but I promise you, you will be so much more happy in the end when it’s finally gone. 🙂
  2. You might have spending habits that you’re not aware of. Look at your bank account and see where your money is going. Are there things you’re spending money on without thinking? Are there things you’re spending money on that you could be doing yourself?
  3. You don’t have a budget. Sometimes it just simply comes down to getting organized with our finances and being mindful of what money goes where. And once things are set in place, we can start to breath a little easier.
  4. Overspending and not researching. Are there things in your life you’re spending too much money on? These could be things like services or household goods that, with a little research, you’ll find you can get it for a lot less.
  5. Your cost of living is too high. I know I’ve already talked about an expensive lifestyle, but this is a bit different. What I’m saying is that sometimes we need to downsize our life a bit until things make sense financially. So yes, you might want to live in a less expensive neighborhood and shop at a less expensive grocery store (even if you’re just getting the basics). There are so many ways to cut down on your living expenses, so make a list and see what you can save money on.

21 Money Saving Challenges to Try this Year

1. Sinking Funds Tracker Challenge

A printable sinking funds tracker for the money saving challenge.

Who this works for: People who have a dream and/or goal and want to see it actually happen.

If you’re finding yourself wanting to save up for something specific like…

  • A vacation
  • A home
  • A new car
  • Your kid’s college

Then a Sinking Funds Tracker Challenge might be a good idea!

The Sinking Funds Tracker Challenge helps you be mindful of what you can look forward to and keep track of the money you’re putting into your savings. Also, when you see the money you’re saving, the more excited you might get. And when this happens, you might end up pushing yourself to go beyond the amount your normally put back.

Pro Tip: Try starting off with a small goal or dream to help encourage you. And once you see that one quickly accomplished, you’ll have more confidence and drive to do something a lot bigger!


2. Debt Payoff Tracker Challenge

Who this works for: People who have debts, big and small, and want to see them disappear completely.

So many of us have debt and it can be so overwhelming when we just want to finally get ahead in life.

And if you want to start seeing your overwhelm dissipate as your debt goes away, then a Debt Payoff Tracker Challenge is probably a great option for you!

Just think about how you’ll feel once you see your debt start to decrease over the course of weeks and months!

Also, this one is more of a save money challenge you set the parameters for; you get to decide how big of a debt you want to pay off and over what timeline so you’re not getting overwhelmed.

Pro Tip: Start off with a small debt so that you can work up your confidence to go after bigger ones as you see this one get destroyed quickly.

A photo of a printable budget planner. And next to the image of the planner is text that reads, "The Printable Budget Planner. 75+ Pages of Trackers, Checklists, Planning, Goals, and More!" And under that is a button with text on it that reads, "Save Me Money!"

3. No-Spend Challenge

Who this works for: Anyone with a big or small budget who wants to see more savings in their bank account.

Essentially, this is a challenge where you set a certain amount of time to not spend anything beyond the basics.

Here are some examples of basics:

  1. Rent or mortgage
  2. Food
  3. Gas
  4. Bills
  5. Essential items of clothing that need to be replaced

And here are some non-essentials to avoid during this no-spend challenge:

  1. Going to restaurants
  2. Splurge items at grocery stores
  3. New clothing
  4. Subscriptions
  5. Helping a friend or family member with money
  6. Getting your hair or nails done
  7. Vacation or special outings
  8. New home appliances
  9. Beauty products
  10. Accessories

So depending on how long you want to do this challenge, you don’t spend any money on things you don’t actually need. You find free ways of entertaining yourself and having fun, and spend on essentials only. 

It’s as simple as that. 🙂

Pro Tip: Before starting, do two things. 1.) Make a list of things you can do that are fun to keep you entertained and help you not give up. 2.) Go through your bank account and see what non-essentials you commonly spend on and stay away from those things. It’s good to go into this being mindful.

4. $1,000 in 30 Days Challenge

A printable page for $1,000 in 30 days money challenge.

Who this works for: This challenge works for people who want to create an emergency fund quickly or start their savings process off with a big win.

If you’re able to, then this might be a great way to get an emergency fund started up fast!

You can just follow the amount you need to fill in each day, as shown in the printable up above, and start coloring or crossing off each jar as you do it.

Pretty simple!

Side Note: To get this printable savings challenge, just right click (or double click if you have a MacBook), save it to your computer, and then print it out.

Pro Tip: If you’re a bit intimidated by the amount you need to put back each and everyday, start thinking about the small and big things you pay for throughout the week that you don’t necessarily need. Could you put that same amount of money towards the savings challenge?


5. 52-Week Money Challenge 

Who this works for: People who are on a bit of a tight budget, but want a way to slowly put back money and see steady progress.

This is a challenge I’ve probably seen around the most!

At the end of the 52 weeks (or 1 whole year), you will have saved $1,378, but here’s how you’ll do it.

Each week, you’ll save back a certain amount of money for whatever number week you’re on. 

So for example:

  • Week 1, you’ll save $1
  • Week 25, you’ll put back $25.
  • Week 37, you’ll put back $37

It’s pretty simple. Just make sure to set an alarm or reminder to put this money back each and every week so you don’t forget it. 🙂

Pro Tip: Put back more money than what’s required of you in that week so that the end savings will be even higher than expected. That way you can surprise yourself with how much you saved!

6. 52-Week Money Challenge Backwards

Who this works for: People who want to see savings progress more quickly and who might have a bit of a bigger budget.

This challenge is the exact same thing as the normal 52-week money challenge, but you’re just doing it backwards.

So instead of staring off with $1 in week 1, you’ll start off with $52 on week 1.

Here’s how it will go:

  • Week 1, you save $52
  • Week 2, you save $51
  • Week 3, you save $50
  • Week 4, you save $49

And then continue on down until you reach week 52 where you save $1.

But why would you do it this way?

Well this is great because it’ll get easier and easier to put money back as the amount you have to save goes down.

But also, you’ll have more money saved up sooner for emergencies that might pop up or even for holidays like Christmas. 

And in the end, it’s just encouraging to see a higher amount of savings a whole lot sooner.

Pro Tip: Do the same thing that was suggested with the previous pro tip. Save more than you should so that you can get a nice surprise at the end. 😉 


7. Penny Saving Challenge

Who this works for: People who want to save basically on autopilot. Or people who are a bit nervous when it comes to starting off a big money savings challenge.

Basically instead of saving up any and all of your change in a jar, you start off SUPER simple by just saving your pennies.

It’s a whole lot less intimidating and pretty easy!

Also, you’ll probably be surprised by how much you’ll have when it’s all counted up.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Get a jar or jars.
  2. Set your savings challenge goal for a certain amount of time. So maybe 3 months or 1 year.
  3. Get any and all pennies you can find. This can be from when you get change back after paying for a coffee, your spouse, your kids (if they don’t want them), on the sidewalk, in your car, etc.

Pro Tip 1: Use cash more often when paying for things. That way, when you get your change back, you’re more likely to get pennies and then you can put them in your savings jar.

Pro Tip 2: Challenge yourself to fill a certain amount of jars within a specific timeframe. That way, you’re more driven to save up a whole lot more money and get it done.

8. $1,000 in 3 Months Savings Challenge

A printable page for the $1,000 in 3 Months money savings challenge.

Who this works for: People who want a $1,000 savings more quickly or an emergency fund, but have a smaller budget and can’t save as quickly as others.

Also, very similar to the $1,000 in 1 month challenge, but a whole lot more relaxed.

So if you want to save up $1,000 faster than a year, then this three month challenge might be a good option for you!

And to save this challenge, just right click (or double click if you have a Mac), save to your computer, and then print out at home or in a print shop. 🙂

Pro Tip: Try challenging yourself to save more than what’s required. See if you can beat the money challenge itself and do it faster than 3 months! See what you can cut and how much more money you can make. Make it more like a game and don’t let the challenge limit you to a certain amount of money in a certain timeframe. 🙂


9. 365 Day Quarter Saving Challenge

Who this works for: People who have a bit of a bigger budget and/or those who are hungry to find ways to save and make more money.

Once this savings challenge is over, you should have $16,786.25 saved!

Basically, with each day, you add an extra .25 cents to how much you save.

Here’s how the challenge will start:

  • Day 1, you save .25 cents
  • Day 2, you save .50 cents
  • Day 3, you save .75 cents
  • Day 4, you save $1.00
  • Day 5, you save $1.25

And then continue on like this until you reach the end of the year long savings goal.

Make sense?

Pro Tip: If this is one that intimidates you, challenge yourself to see how you can make this savings challenge work. What can you cut out on and live without for a whole year? What can you do to earn more money? And think about how good you’ll feel when you reach the end and have nearly $17,000 saved! 🤯   

10. Christmas Savings Challenge

Who this works for: People who hate doing rushed Christmas shopping last minute and also really don’t like paying off Christmas presents in the new year.

For 32 days, you’ll be saving $25 each day!

This will amount to a savings of $625 for Christmas presents.

Now you can realistically start this savings challenge at any point of the year, it doesn’t have to just be around the holidays.

That way you have more time to plan what you want to get and save more instead of waiting until December when the prices are higher.

Pro Tip: Start the day after Christmas (if you’re reading this a little too late). That way it gets done sooner, and you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the year unless you’re buying Christmas presents early.


11. 1 2 3 Saving Challenge

Who this works for: People who want an easy savings challenge they don’t really have to think about, or who want to start with a small challenge and get an easy win.

Just like with the 365 Day Savings Challenge, you’re adding on the same amount each and every day. Except instead of quarters, you’ll be adding a penny.

Here’s how it will go:

  • Day 1, you’ll save .1 cent
  • Day 2, you’ll save .2 cents
  • Day 3, you’ll save .3 cents

And then continue on adding another penny each day.

You can also decided for how long you want to do this. So if you decide a year, on day 365, you’ll be putting back $3.65.

Pretty easy right?

Pro Tip: Set an alarm each day to save the correct amount and get some jars. It feels good to see it get a bit bigger each and every day. 🙂

12. 100 Envelope Challenge

A woman's hand holding up some money that's slightly fanned out so that you can see the different bills.

Who this works for: This money challenge works for people who want to turn their money saving into a bit of a game.

This is a kind of a fun way to gamify a savings challenge!

Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Take 100 envelopes and put a dollar amount on each.

So for example:

  • Envelope 1, you’ll write, “$1” on it.
  • Envelope 2, you’ll write, “$2” on it.
  • Envelope 3, you’ll write, “$3” on it.

Then continue until you get to envelope 100, where you’ll write $100 on it.

Step 2: Mix them up and put them in a container.

Step 3: Pick 1 envelope each day at random. Don’t look at what you’ll be picking. Whatever you grab, you have to put into the envelope and save. 

At the end, you’ll have $5,050 saved. Pretty cool right?

Pro Tip 1: If you don’t have the money to do this every day, try it once or twice a week.

Pro Tip 2: You can buy the 100 envelopes challenge on sites like Etsy if you don’t want to do it yourself!

13. $1 Bill Save Challenge

Who this works for: This works for people who want to start off small with a savings challenge. They don’t want to do something too intimidating just yet.

For this challenge, all you have to do is continue saving up any $1 bills you get and put them into an envelope or a jar.

That’s it! 

Pro Tip: If you want, you can set certain parameters to save up a whole lot faster. So challenge yourself to do this for 1 months and save up to $100. That way you’re saving up more and doing it more quickly.


14. $20 Challenge

Who this works for: Anyone who wants to push themselves to save even after they do an unplanned splurge and/or make themselves think before they splurge.

All you have to do for this one is to save $20 after every time you do something that’s an un-budgeted purchase.

Examples of un-budgeted purchases:

  • Going out to eat.
  • Getting impulse purchases at the grocery store.
  • Buying a new piece of clothing.
  • Grabbing a cup of coffee.

Pro Tip: Even if the un-budgeted impulse purchase doesn’t equal out to $20 itself, just think of it as a fun game for saving more money and getting ahead. 

15. $50 Challenge

Who this works for: People who like having a certain set amount of money going into savings once a week. It’s keeps things simple.

For the $50 money saving challenge, all you have to do is save $50 each week for 52 weeks (or a whole year).

This will equal out to $2,600.

Pro Tip: Create a separate savings account in your bank where $50 is automatically drawn out and put into the new savings account each week. That way it’s on autopilot!

16. $5 Challenge

Two hands holding up two small jars, filled with dollar bills. On the jar closest to the camera, it says, "Save," on it.
Image by c-George via Getty Images

Who this works for: People who want to save without thinking.

Plain and simple, whenever you get a $5 bill back, don’t use it to spend on a coffee or a cheap lunch out.

Put it in a jar or envelope and watch them stack up!

Pro Tip: Try pairing this with another savings challenge to have more than one going. That way you can have multiple sources of savings and be even more secure.

17. $10 a Week Challenge

Who this works for: People who have a lower budget, and want a slow but steady way to save money.

For 52 weeks, or a whole year, you put back $10 a week and that’s it!

At the end, you should have an easy $520 saved up.

Pro Tip: Just like with the $50 money challenge, create a separate savings account and have $10 a week be automatically pulled out of your main checking account, and put into your new savings account.

18. 10 Cents a Day Money Challenge

Who this works for: People who want to start off with a simple money challenge that leads to BIG gains.

Just like with the penny challenge, you add .10 cents each day to your savings.

Here’s how it will start:

  • Day 1, you save .10 cents.
  • Day 2, you save .20 cents.
  • Day 3, you save .30 cents.
  • Day 4, you save .40 cents.

Try this simple challenge for a year and you’ll have $6,679.50 saved!

That’s a WHOLE lot from just starting off with .10 cents!

Pro Tip: If you can, try saving up more than what’s recommended and see if you can give that end total a big boost. 😊 


19. The Competitive Money Challenge

Who this works for: Competitive people or people who just like to have some fun when it comes to things that aren’t normally fun.

Super easy and super fun!

Get a friend, family member, or even your significant other to take part it it.

Basically, you both compete to see how much one of you can save in a month or any other given timeframe.

Just make sure to set some rules that you both can follow and see who wins!

Pro Tip: Make a list of all the ways you can save money on things, and put more money into your savings, so that you can win this challenge and beat the other person!

20. 50 Envelope Challenge

Who this works for: Someone who wants to try the 100 envelope challenge, but wants something a bit more simple.

This one works the exact same way as the 100 envelope challenge, but you’re just doing it with 50.

At the end of the savings challenge, which will take around a year to do, you’ll have $1,275 saved up.

Pro Tip: Since the envelope challenges are kind of like a game, try putting on some game show music as you draw one from the container to make it more entertaining. 😂

21. $10,000 Challenge

A glass table top with a small folded stack of cash, and a light blue wallet in the background.

Who this works for: People who want to challenge themselves in a big way and make big life changes to actually change their life.

This is probably one of the most intimidating ones, but here’s how it works and how you can make it work.

How it Works

Every two weeks, you’ll set aside a certain amount of money. So in the first two weeks, you’ll save $275, and the next time you’ll save $475.

It will only alternate between those two numbers.

Then by the end of a year, you’ll have $10,000 saved up.

How to Make it Work

  1. Cut down on anything you don’t really need. It adds up more than you know.
  2. Keep your mind on what you’re saving towards and how you’ll feel once you reach it.
  3. Make use of tax refunds.
  4. Ask your employer for a raise or do what you need to do so that you can get a raise.
  5. Find a better paying job.
  6. See if you can take on a second job.
  7. Sell things around you home that you don’t want anymore.
  8. Downgrade cars if you have an overpriced car payment.

Pro Tip: According to the IRS, the average tax return in 2022 was $3,252. So if you get yours back, don’t spend it away, put it into your savings!

22. Roundup Money Saving Challenge

Who this works for: People who want a set it and forget it money saving challenge.

This one is SUPER easy and my husband and I did it on autopilot.

We set up an investors Acorns account back in 2016 and hooked it up to our credit and debit cards.

For each purchase, they would round up to the nearest dollar, and put it into your Acorns account where it could gather interest and grow over the years.

We had forgotten about it and then around 2021, we checked it out and we have over $5,000 saved!

And we did all that without thinking. 🤯 

Pro Tip: Set a reminder for yourself to check it once a year and see where you’re at. It’s fun to see it progress!


23. The Cancellation Challenge

Who this works for: People who have a lot of subscriptions that they’re not using or not using enough.

Go into your bank account and other places and look at anything you pay for regularly. Then see what you can cancel and get rid of.

Here’s a quick list of things you can cancel to win this money challenge:

  • Monthly subscriptions.
  • That gym membership you’re not using.
  • In app subscriptions.
  • Apps that encourage you to spend to get special deals. 
  • Accounts that encourage you to spend to get special deals.
  • Online and offline groups you need to pay for access, that you’re not using.

Pro Tip: Add it all up and put all that money you would have spent on those subscriptions into money jars. Visual aid is a great way to show and encourage yourself on how much you’re saving and to keep moving forward.

24. The Overcharge Challenge

Who this works for: This money challenge works for anyone who wants to fine tune all the small details when it comes to saving money.

Go through your bank account and any other apps and see where you’re being overcharged for a bill or something else that you see as necessary.

Ask yourself if you either:

a. Need to go with a different company.

b. Call into the company to see if there are ways you can cut down on your monthly bills.

c. Go with a new plan with that company to save money.

This money saving challenge is all about seeing where you can cut costs with bills and get that much further ahead.

Pro Tip: Look for money savings hacks online when it comes to specific companies. There are plenty of people who have been able to ask for certain things when they call in, or who have moved to better companies, and lowed their monthly bills.

25. The Side-Hustle Challenge

Who this works for: This works for people who have a bit of time on their hands to make some extra cash.

First off, make a list of ways you can easily make money on the side.

You can make these big and complex if you want, but I’d encourage you to make them easy tasks so that you’re not intimidated and follow through.

Side Hustle Ideas to Try:

  • Make yummy baked goods and sell them on Facebook Marketplace (I had a friend who did this one!).
  • Food delivery with apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and GrubHub.
  • Grocery delivery with apps like Instacart and Delivery.com.
  • TaskRabbit for helping people out with everyday tasks and errands.
  • Uber and Lyft for picking people up.
  • Buying items from the thrift store, and re-selling them on sites like Ebay.
  • Dog walking.
  • Car cleaning.
  • Mowing lawns.

There are so many ways you can do this!

Also, this challenge really is a great way to help you get out of debt more quickly, and have more money freedom.

Pro Tip: Test out which side hustles work for you, then create an intentional schedule in your week to make sure they happen.

How to Make Money Saving Challenges Work for You

A woman's hand holding a fanned out stack of American money, against a background that shows a houseplant.

I know that starting almost any kind of money challenge can be pretty intimidating, but here are some ways you can make it work for you. 🙂

  1. Keep it simple. Don’t start off big, choose a small challenge that gets you wins right away. Then move onto something bigger.
  2. Create separate savings accounts. Then do automatic withdrawals so that you don’t have to think about it.
  3. Figure out your why or why’s. What are you working towards? Understanding this will help keep you motivated when you’re tempted to give up.
  4. Get rid of any bad money beliefs. If you believe something like, “Well I’m just bad at saving money,” chances are, it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy and you’ll spend it away.
  5. Get creative. If there are ways to cut costs and make more money, research and start small. Find simple ways to not spend as much and make more money that don’t intimidate you.
  6. Compete with a friend or even your significant other. This way you can keep yourself on track and have more fun with it!
  7. If money comes your way, don’t spend it. If you get something like a money gift or a tax refund, don’t spend it for in the moment fun. Instead use it to beat your savings challenge or get yourself there faster.

Money Saving Challenges FAQ

Different jars with coins and dollar bills stacked in them. It's in a bright sunny outdoor setting.
Photo by ShutterOK via Getty Images

Now if you want some additional help, then here are good frequently asked questions that you might need an answer for! 🙂

1. What Are the 3 Rules of Saving Money

The three rules of saving money are pretty simple:

  1. Save before you spend.
  2. Save a certain percentage of your income.
  3. Save for things that are unexpected.

2. What Should I Avoid to Save Money?

Here’s a simple list of things you should avoid if you want to save money:

  • Eating out each and every week and seeing it as a necessity.
  • Target (or any store) shopping sprees. 😬 
  • Buying new books.
  • Splurge items at the grocery store. Make a list and stick to it.
  • Big car payments.
  • Big home payments.
  • Expensive rent.
  • Paying others to do something you can do yourself.
  • Going on vacations when you can’t afford them.
  • Doing paid entertainment frequently.
  • Subscriptions.
  • Paying for an outing when another person said they would do it themselves.
  • Paying for clothing and accessories you don’t need.
  • Upgrading for something you already own and it doesn’t need it.

3. How Do You Manage Savings?

If you want to know how to better manage your savings, then here are some simple steps to do so that you’re not spending it all once the savings challenge is finished.

  1. Create a SIMPLE Budget: It’s a basic tip, but it’s necessary if you don’t want to lose all the money you worked so hard to save. But make sure it’s simple; don’t do something that’s too complicated and makes you want to give up right away. Also, if you’re looking for some help in this, these budget printables are a good place to start!
  2. Track All of Your Spending: Figure out where all your money is going and cut out anything that could take from your savings. You need to know what’s going on so that you’re not watching your money dwindle away.
  3. Emergency Fund: Either use some of the money you saved from the challenge or use a separate challenge to save $1,000 for an emergency fund. That way you’re protecting yourself from using up your saved money if something pops up.
  4. Have Multiple Savings Accounts: This can be in the same bank account you always use, or different bank accounts if you want to be extra careful not to pull out money when you don’t need to.
  5. Change How You See Money: Write down and make a list on every money belief you have, good and bad. See what needs changing and improving so that you can have a healthy relationship with money. 🙂

I hope that you enjoyed all of these ideas on ways to save money and use money saving challenges to get ahead.

I know that saving money isn’t always the easiest, but once you get going and start building something, the more you’ll want to continue! 

You’ve got this! 💪 

PS – Got any questions? I’m here to answer them all! Ask away in the comments down below!

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