We’ve covered this topic many times here at Saving Advice. From the popular 52-Week Money Challenge to 10 alternatives to this tactic, this is a common point of discussion among individuals hoping to save more, whether you are a finance enthusiast or not. Now, we want you to try this new savings challenge.
In one of our last articles, we discussed why you might not want to do a money challenge. Mainly, you should not expect them to be an end solution. However, our new 14-day challenge hopes to get you on the right starting track to improve your finances and create growth. Each day, do the following for 14 consecutive days:
The 14-Day Saving Advice Savings Challenge
- Day 1: Evaluate your bank account. Before determining a budget or how much you should save, spend day one looking at your expenses. Write them all out if you do not already have this figured out. How much are your monthly bills? How often do you spend frivolously? Create a spreadsheet that you can use to manually enter in data weekly to keep you on track. In addition to your income and household expenses, your spread sheet should include also include your assets and liabilities.
- Day 2: Determine your assets and liabilities. Knowing what possessions you have are money-makers and which are money-suckers will be important in your new and improved financial venture. Not sure what makes an asset? This article helps to clear it up.
- Day 3. Figure out your net worth. Once you have your assets and liabilities determined, you can use this information toward figuring out your net worth. Your net worth is valuable information for measuring your personal wealth. To calculate it, simply subtract the value of your liabilities from your assets.
- Day 4: Time to budget. Set a budget in place that you will stick to. Where can you reduce spending? Better yet, where would you like to do reduce spending? Not sure where to start? This Saving Advice article from earlier this year can help.
- Day 5: Automate your savings. Now that you have your expenses, net worth and budget, you need to decide on a set amount to save each month and automate it. Shoot for 20% of your monthly income to go back into savings. If that seems overwhelming, try $25 per week with the intention of increasing over time. Schedule the money through your bank account or use one of these other helpful apps.
- Day 6: Evaluate your retirement plan. If you have an existing plan, make sure you are getting the most out of it. Is it through your employer? Do they offer a match plan? Do you not have a retirement plan? Spend today researching options and get yourself set up for one. This previous post can get you started.
- Day 7: Evaluate yourself. With seven days in, take a moment to see what it is that makes you spend money. Part of this savings challenge is to not only save money but also create positive actions for the future. So, when do you find yourself spending money the most? How do you track it? What thoughts typically go through your head? Keep a money journal every time you choose to spend money on something that is not a necessity for a living (household bills, food, etc.).
- Day 8: Review your bills. Are you getting overcharged? Make those phone calls today and make sure you are not being charged more than you should be. Can any be consolidated and would it be beneficial for you to do so? Pay attention to those invoices and really study them today.
- Day 9: Track your spending. It should be a personal goal to check your daily spending, but we know that can be difficult at times. Using an app can help alleviate this. Billguard and LevelMoney are examples of free apps for basic plans. Both available for the Android and iOS.
- Day 10: Don’t spend a dime. Pick at least one day a month where you don’t spend anything. During our 14-day savings challenge, do that today. Can’t resist to spend? “Punish” yourself by putting more money into your savings account or doing 50 burpees. Your punishment will encourage exercise or saving, so it could technically be considered a “win-win.” Take this day’s challenge one step further by picking a full week each month that you won’t spend anything.
- Day 11: Find items to sell. We always need excuses to do some cleaning around the house, and looking for items to sell is one of them. Craigslist, eBay and flea market pages on Facebook are all excellent places to sell some of your goods. From clothes to furniture, you can cash in on items you are no longer using. Read about how here.
- Day 12: Consider a supplementary income. A great way to elevate your finances is by bringing in an extra stream of revenue. There are several options to consider; you just need to pick what is right for you.
- Day 13: Gain a support system. Part of the challenge with finances is ensuring those around you are on board with your new spending habits. Ask friends not to pressure you into going out to eat and instead of working with you on finding free or cheaper alternatives. Those who are living with you should be on board with your efforts too.
- Day 14: Make more cuts. As you start checking your spending habits and improving your savings, see where else you can make cuts in your life. How much TV do you really watch? Could you save on gas by walking more? Are you being wasteful at home (i.e. buying too many groceries only to toss them, leaving lights on throughout the house, etc.)? There may be many areas in your life you are wasting money and do not realize it. This is a good day to put yourself in check.
The overall goal of our challenge is to dedicate you to take actions on your finances daily. Knowing your daily spending amount, keeping yourself on par with your budget and dedicating yourself to a savings plan are all just the beginning steps to a strong financial path. They key with this savings challenge is developing a habit and making you passionate about your bank account so that saving and finances become like second nature. Now, it’s just time to stop reading and start taking action.
What do you think? Will you be giving this savings challenge a try?
Have something to add to this article? Check out our forums section and share with us how it is going.