Do you ever get that feeling that you’re just never going to make it financially?
That it’s all just a big struggle to get ahead, and you never will get ahead.
Ignore it. It’s a lie, I promise.
And if you want to level up your finances, and finally get that awesome feeling of, “I’ve made it, this is it,” then money saving challenges are great place to start.
They help you with being intentional with your savings, and cutting out the distractions that are keeping you with an empty bank account.
Now I really do love helping you level up in so many parts of your life. It’s what I write on, and I believe that you deserve a better life.
Also, I know that saving money (with good money saving challenges), can really help with this.
But if the concept of money challenges is new to you, then I’ll give you a run down on how they work. 💵
Related: Making A Budget: 5 Simple Steps for Making a Plan
What is a Money Saving Challenge?
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:
- The timeline.
- The rules for how much you need to save each day.
- Things you shouldn’t be spending money on.
- Adopting good money habits, so that you win this money challenge.
Also, there are many kinds of challenges for saving money, some of them more simple than others. So it’s best if you don’t over do it, and pick a money saving challenge that’ll 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. 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:
- You Don’t Want to Give Up a Certain Lifestyle: 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, or buying splurge items at the grocery store. 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 other solutions to overcome this?
I know that sometimes putting in the work to fix these inner issues isn’t always fun, but I promise you, you’ll be so much more happy when it’s finally gone. 🙂
- You Might Have Spending Habits 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?
- You Don’t Have a Budget: Sometimes it just simply comes down to getting organized with your finances, and being mindful of what money goes where.
- 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 some research, you could be getting for less.
- Your Cost of Living is Too High: I know I already talked about an expensive lifestyle, but this is a bit different. Sometimes, you need to downsize your life for a time. So yes, you might want to live in a less expensive neighborhood, and shop at a less expensive grocery store. There are so many ways to cut down on your living expenses, so make a list and see what you can save money on.
36 Saving Money Challenges
1. Sinking Funds Tracker 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
- New car
- Your kid’s college
Then a Sinking Funds Tracker Challenge might be a good idea!
The Sinking Funds Tracker Challenge helps you to be mindful of what you can look forward to, and keeps track of the money you’re putting back. Also, when you see the money you’re saving, the more excited you might get.
And when that happens, you might end up pushing yourself to go beyond the amount you’d 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 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.
If you want to start seeing your debt overwhelm leave, then a Debt Payoff Tracker Challenge is probably a great option for you!
Also, this one is more of a 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.
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:
- Rent or mortgage
- Essential items, like clothing that need to be replaced
And here are some non-essentials to avoid:
- Going to restaurants
- Splurge items at grocery stores
- New clothing
- Helping friends or family with money
- Getting your hair or nails done
- Vacation or special outings
- New home appliances
- Beauty products
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 spend on essentials only.
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 money on.
More Good Reading: How to Start an Emergency Fund so You Can Live Your Dreams
4. $1,000 in 30 Days 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 go.
Side Note: To get this printable savings challenge, just right click, save it to your computer, and then print out.
Pro Tip: If you’re a bit intimidated by the amount you need to put back each day, start thinking about (and cutting out) the small and big things you pay for throughout the week, that you don’t necessarily need.
5. 52-Week Savings 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 (1 year), you’ll have saved $1,378. But here’s how you 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 a reminder, to put this money back each and every week, so you don’t forget. 🙂
Pro Tip: Put back more money than what’s required of you that week. Then at the end, your savings will be even higher than expected.
More Reading: 40 Free Budget Printables to Save Money 2023
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’ll 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.
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!
Here’s how it works:
- Get a jar, or jars.
- Set your savings challenge goal for a certain amount of time. So maybe 3 months, or 1 year.
- 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, 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.
Pro Tip 2: Challenge yourself to fill a certain amount of jars within a specific timeframe.
8. $1,000 in 3 Months Savings Challenge
Who this works for: People who want a $1,000 savings more quickly, or an emergency fund, but have a smaller budget.
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!
To save this printable: Right click, save to your computer, and then print out.
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. Play it like a game!
9. Spare Change Challenge
Who this works for: People who have a lot of change lying around, and want an easy way to save money.
This is a super common money saving challenge, a lot of people use. It’s so easy to grab a piggy bank, or jar, and start dropping change inside. Then you can just take it to the bank, and put it all in your savings account.
Pro Tip: Try paying with cash more often so that you can get more change!
10. Expense Tracking Challenge
Who this works for: This works for people who aren’t so sure where all the money is going, and want a simple way to make quick savings.
It can be so surprising to start tracking where all of your money is going.
So open up your bank account, grab a piece of paper and pencil, and start creating a list of all your expenses.
You might end up saving a lot more than you realize!
Pro Tip: Don’t just look at the unnecessary expenses. Try looking for necessary expenses that you can get cheaper elsewhere.
11. 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.
Pro Tip: If this one intimidates you, challenge yourself to see how you could make this savings challenge work. What could you cut, and live without for a whole year? What could you do to earn more money? And think about how GOOD you’ll feel when you reach the end, and have nearly $17K saved! 🤯
12. 365-Day Nickel-Saving Challenge
Who this works for: This is great for anyone who feels overwhelmed with making bigger deposits of money, all at once.
Here’s how this challenge works:
- On day one, you’ll save $0.05
- On day two, you’ll save $0.10
- On day three, you’ll save $0.15
So you end up adding an extra nickel every single day, and by the end you’ll have $3,300 in savings!
Pro Tip: I know I’ve recommended this for a couple other challenges, but I think it’s worth mentioning again. Try spending more with cash so that you have more opportunities to get nickels.
13. Christmas Savings Challenge
Who this works for: People who hate doing rushed Christmas shopping last minute, and don’t like going into debt for presents.
For 25 days, you’ll be saving $25 each day!
This will amount to a savings of $625, for Christmas presents.
Just make sure to start this money saving challenge earlier in the year, so you’re not rushing to get presents!
Also, the presents will be cheaper, since you’re not buying during the holidays.
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.
14. Holiday Helper Fund
Who this works for: This savings challenge is great for people who want to get way ahead of the big holiday expenses.
On January 1st, you’re going to be setting aside $20 each week, and putting it into a savings account.
And by the end of November, you’ll have saved $960. Pretty easy!
Pro Tip: Try adding an extra $10 every so often. Then you’ll have a bigger amount saved up, and be able to have more fun around the holidays.
15. 1 2 3 Saving Challenge
Who this works for: People who want an easy savings challenge they don’t really have to think about.
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’ll 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.
You can also decided how long you want to do this. So if you decide on 1 year, on day 365, you’ll be putting back $3.65. Pretty easy!
Pro Tip: Set an alarm each day to save the correct amount, and get some jars. It feels good to see it grow in those glass jars every day. 🙂
16. 100 Envelope Challenge
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.
And at the end, you’ll have $5,050 saved.
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!
17. $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 big 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 jar.
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 faster.
18. $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 is save $20 after every 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 purchase is less than $20, just think of it as a game for getting ahead financially.
19. $50 Challenge
Who this works for: People who like having a certain 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 (1 year).
This will equal out to $2,600.
Pro Tip: Create a separate savings account, where $50 is automatically drawn out each week. That way it’s on autopilot!
20. $5 Challenge
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, and have more than one going. That way you can have multiple sources of savings.
21. $10 a Week Challenge
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 put in.
22. 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 starts:
- 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!
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. 😊
23. Money Throwdown Challenge
Who this works for: Competitive people, or people who just like to have some fun.
Super easy and super fun!
Get a friend, family member, or even your significant other to take part in this challenge.
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. Then you can win the challenge, and beat the other person!
24. No Eating Out Challenge
Who this works for: This challenge is great for anyone who wants a simple way to quickly save money.
For this challenge, all you have to do is stop eating out for an entire month.
And of course you can alter this challenge. So maybe you stop eating out for two months. Or every other 2 months, you stop eating out. It’s up to you!
Pro Tip: Try challenging yourself to make better meals then the restaurants. You might end up eating in, even when the money challenge is over.
25. Little Vices Savings Challenge
Who this works for: This one is great for people who have a lot of smaller expenses they need to get rid of.
It can be easy to spend a lot more than you realize on the tiny things. And a lot of them are vices, which in this case just mean, things you don’t really need.
So make a list of all the different vices you have in a month. This could be as simple as grabbing a coffee a couple times a week.
Then figure out how long you want to cut these things out. It could be for a month, or even two. It’s up to you!
Pro Tip: When you’re finding it hard to say no to yourself, remind yourself of why you started this challenge. What’s more important? That in the moment want, or your dream goal?
26. 50 Envelope Challenge
Who this works for: Someone who wants to try the 100 envelope challenge, but wants something a bit smaller.
This one works the exact same way as the 100 envelope challenge, but you’re just doing it with $50 for 50 weeks.
At the end of this savings challenge, 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 out from a container. 😂
27. $10,000 Challenge
Who this works for: People who want to challenge themselves in a big way, and make big life changes.
This is probably one of the most intimidating challenges, 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 1 year, you’ll have $10,000 saved up.
How to Make it Work
- Cut down on anything you don’t really need. It adds up more than you know.
- Keep your mind on what you’re saving towards, and how you’ll feel once you reach it. Create SMART goals for this if need be!
- Make use of tax refunds.
- Ask your employer for a raise, or do whatever you can to get a raise.
- Find a better paying job.
- See if you can take on a second job.
- Sell things around you home that you don’t want anymore.
- 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!
28. Round-Up 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 our Acorns account. And in there, it could gather interest, and grow over the years.
We had forgotten about it, and then around 2021, we checked it out and saw that we had over $5,000 saved!
And we saved 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 great to see it progress!
29. Cancellation Challenge
Who this works for: People who have a lot of subscriptions they’re not using, or 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.
- Unused gym memberships.
- 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, to keep moving forward.
30. Weather Savings Challenge
Who this works for: This is great for people who want a more entertaining money challenge.
Started by a blogger from Arizona, once a week, you’ll deposit money into your savings that matches the high temperature for that day.
Very simple, and can definitely vary depending on where you live! 😂
Pro Tip: If you don’t feel like doing this each week, you can just look back, and see what the high was for each week. Then just deposit those amounts into your savings account, at the end of the month.
31. 31-Days To Improve Your Financial Life
Who this works for: This is great for people who want something a lot more challenging, and to break off bad spending habits.
They give you resources and help for each step, and you’ll be finding new saving habits to take on.
Pro Tip: I think that if you’re going to do something this intensive, it’s really important to keep the reason why you started, in front of you. That way you’re not giving up, and you keep pushing forward.
32. 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 other necessities).
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 bill.
C. Go with a new plan to save money.
This money saving challenge is all about seeing where you can cut costs with bills, and get 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.
33. 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 start small. Then you won’t be too intimidated to 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!
Pro Tip: Test out which side hustles work for you, then create an intentional schedule in your week to make sure they happen.
34. 8-Week Vacation Savings Plan
Who this works for: This is great if you want a challenge that has a very quick win.
Plain and simple, you’ll save $1,000 in just eight weeks (or 2 months).
Coming from The Soccer Mom Blog, she gives details on how much to save each week, and other helpful tips.
Pro Tip: If you end up finding this challenge hard, then just remind yourself that at the end of the 8 weeks, you’re going to have a nice vacation for yourself. It really is good motivation! 👌
35. 3-Month Savings Money Challenge
Who this works for: This one is great for people who want a pretty short commitment. Not a year long money challenge.
For this money challenge, you’re just going to save $84 per week, and it comes out to $1,000 in three months.
Now that doesn’t sound too crazy hard!
Pro Tip: If you need some ways to cut down on spending to make that $84 savings, then look at your weekly grocery, and shopping bills. What are some things that you can cut out? Any splurge expenses?
36. 1% Challenge
Who this works for: This is a great one to try if you want something that’s incredibly quick, and easy to do.
For this challenge, you’re just going to go into work, and increase your 401(k) contribution, by just one percent.
Then you’re going to do the exact same thing in two months. That’s it!
Pro Tip: If you don’t have a retirement account, then you can just simply calculate 1% of your gross pay. Then you can simply divide that by your total paychecks for that year. And finally, put that amount into your savings account after your first paycheck.
How to Make Saving Challenges Work for You
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. 🙂
- Keep it Simple: Don’t start off big, choose a small challenge that gets you wins right away.
- Create Separate Savings Accounts: Then do automatic withdrawals so that you don’t have to think about it.
- 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.
- Get Rid of 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.
- Get Creative: If there are ways to cut costs, and make more money, research and start small. Find simple ways to save more, and make more, that won’t intimidate you.
- Compete with a Friend or Even Significant Other: This way you can keep yourself on track, and have more fun with it!
- Don’t Spend Extra Money: If you get something like a money gift, or a tax refund, don’t spend it for in the moment desires. Instead, use it to beat your savings challenge, or get yourself there faster.
Money Challenges FAQ
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.
Here’s a simple list of things to avoid if you want to save money:
– Eating out each and every week (and seeing it as a necessity).
– Splurge items at the grocery store. Make a list, and stick to it.
– Big payments for things like cars, homes, and rent.
– Paying others to do something you can do yourself.
Now once you’ve saved up your money, here’s how to manage it:
1. Create a SIMPLE budget you’ll stick to each month.
2. Track all of your spending, and get rid of anything eating away at your savings.
3. Make an emergency fund; that way you’re not going into debt with credit cards.
4. Have multiple savings accounts, and put some in different banks so you’re not spending.
5. Change any bad money beliefs, that keep you spending your savings.
I hope you enjoyed all of these ideas on ways to save money, and found the different money saving challenges helpful!
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!