1.Track Everything Challenge
This challenge will give you a better idea of where your money is going. Take 30 days and track every penny you spend and what you spend it on. At the end of the month, draw up a budget and pick places where you think you spend too much money and make some cuts. This is a great idea to not only save money but also get better control of your finances. The longer you keep this tracking challenge up, the more conscious you’ll become of how you are spending your money and it will affect your long-term financial health.
2. The 52 Week Savings Challenge
The 52 week savings challenge is a great way to save if you’ve made saving money your New Year’s resolution. You start the savings plan out with saving $1 the first week, $2 the second, $3 the third and so on. Many people use this base model of a savings challenge and alter it to their specific needs. Some people start with saving $52 and regress back to $1 the final week of the year (this makes it so that you don’t have to save as much around the holidays). At the end of the year you will have saved $1,378.00.
3.The 365 Day Money Challenge
The 365 Day Money Challenge is similar to the 52 Week Money Challenge. The major difference is that you are saving pennies at a time, not dollars and the amount increases daily instead of weekly. On day one of the challenge, you save $0.01 (usually people use a jar for this challenge). The second day you would save $0.02, the third $0.03 and so on. At the end of the 365 days you will have save $667.95.
4. The 12-Week Savings Challenge
This savings challenge approach is a bit more aggressive than the two previously listed. The 12-week savings challenge starts with you saving $60 in the first week and increasing each week by $5 (Week 2: $65, Week 3: $70, Week 4: $75 and so on). At the end of the 12 weeks you will have saved $1,000. This is recommended if you are looking to save $1,000 within a specific period of time. Some people also just repeat this savings challenge over and over again, saving $1,000 at a time.
5. The Bi-Weekly Money Challenge
The 52-Week Money Challenge can be difficult for those who don’t get paid weekly. Because of this, the bi-weekly money challenge was created. You still save the grand total of $1,378, however, you don’t have to put money aside weekly. Instead you start out by saving $3 the first week and increasing by $4 each week after that (Week 2: $7, Week 3: $11, Week 4: $15 and so on).
6. Mega 52 Week Money Challenge
If you are looking to save more than $1,378, you may want to try the Mega 52-Week Money Challenge. The mega challenge starts out by saving $5 and increasing by $5 each week (Week 2: $10, Week 3: $15, Week 4: $20 and so on). By the end of the year you will have saved $6,890. If this is something you are able to pull off, it is a great way to save a fair amount of money throughout the year.
7. 52 Week Mini Money Challenge
Like the mega money challenge allows people to save more money, the mini money challenge allows people to save a little less over the span of the year. It is still over the span of 52 weeks, however, you start with a smaller amount ($0.50). Week one you save $0.50, week two $1, week three $1.50 and so on. At the end of the year you will have saved $674.
8. The ‘No Spend’ Challenge
The “no spend” challenge is much like the tracking challenge. You return to the basics. The “no spend” challenge forces people to only pay for the necessities (rent, utilities, bills, gas, food, etc.). For the “no spend” challenge you would cease to spend money on things like going out to eat, shopping (clothing, etc) and going to events or places like the movies. If you have to spend money on it and it is not a necessity, you simply don’t do it. This challenge can save you a ton of money if you are able to pull it off over a long span of time.
9. Spare Change Challenge
Many people think the spare change challenge is only useful if you spend cash daily. You spend cash but don’t touch the change and at the end of the day you place the change in a jar or piggy bank. However, many banks allow their members to set up “spare change” savings account. For instance, Wells Fargo has a round up option. You spend $3.55 on milk at the grocer, $.045 goes into savings (it rounds up to the next dollar). You will be surprised to see how quickly these savings stack up! Make the challenge more interesting and vow to not touch your spare change savings for an entire year and see how much money you can save.
10. Automate Your Savings
The easiest challenge of them all is one you don’t have to think about doing. Like the spare change accounts, you can also set up monthly, weekly and even daily withdraws from checking into savings. Or, you can use a savings app like digit.co, which takes small amounts and puts it away for you.
The saving advice forums is a great spot for discussing savings challenges, money management and more. Sign up here to continue the conversation.
Photo: Flickr: 401(K) 2012