15 Money-Saving Challenges to Save More Money in 2021

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Have you had a tough time staying disciplined to save money, or are you looking for a fun way to meet your savings goals? Today, I’ve got you covered with 15 fun money-saving challenges to make it easy to save money. 

What is a money-saving challenge, you ask? Think of it a bit like a game where you challenge yourself to take small actions that can add up to big money-saving results. Each savings challenge presents a unique way to save more money. So, try one challenge, try two challenges, try ten challenges! Just pick the ones that have the most interest to you and watch your savings grow!

Why Try a Savings Challenge?

Maybe you’ve heard about savings challenges before, but if you haven’t, there are many reasons why they’re worth a shot!

First, they can help you build habits. A lot of the magic with savings challenges is that you make small changes that add up to money-saving results over time. 

Second, savings challenges can be a simple way to save up for an upcoming expense. Maybe it’s the holidays, or perhaps it’s a vacation you want to take. If you’ve struggled to put aside the money for some upcoming goal, a savings challenge can help keep you motivated to reach those goals.

And finally, savings challenges make it easy to find an accountability partner! For example, find a friend interested in doing the same savings challenge, and then keep each other motivated! It’s a great way to do something positive together while having fun!

So, when should you try money-saving challenges? While many people try them as New Year’s resolutions, they don’t have to be! You can start a money-saving challenge anytime – the start of a new season, the beginning of a new month, you name it!

So, without further ado, let’s jump into some of my favorite money-saving challenges!

Money Saving Challenges Pinterest Pin

1. 52-Week Savings Challenge

Starting with what is perhaps the most popular savings challenge, we have the 52-week savings challenge.

Here’s how it works. In the first week, you’ll commit to saving just $1. Easy right? Then in week two, you’ll save $2, in week three, you’ll save $3, and so on. 

While this sounds pretty simple, don’t be tricked into thinking this can’t benefit your finances. Using this weekly challenge, by the end of week 52, you will have saved $1,378!

Sounds doable, right?

Maybe you want to make it more challenging, though. Try doubling the amounts (e.g., $2 in week one, $4 in week two, etc.). Pretty easy way to save $2,756!

Want to get crazy? Try the $5 savings challenge by saving $5 in week one, $10 in week two, $15 in week three, etc., to save a whopping $6,890 by the end of one year!

There are some other unique variations on this challenge. For example, you can try the flexible 52-week savings challenge. Think of this as like savings bingo. Instead of saving sequentially (e.g., $1 in week one, $2 in week two, etc.), you can do the challenge in any order you like. This approach can give you greater flexibility based on fluctuations in your spending

However, I am a bit of a traditionalist. I like the plain-old 52-week savings challenge because it starts easy, and as you progress, you’ll feel that you can keep going, adding just $1 more per week.

2. Bi-Weekly Savings Challenge / Monthly Savings Challenge

Depending on how often you get paid, you can adapt the 52-week savings challenge to your situation.

For example, if you are paid bi-weekly, try the bi-weekly savings challenge. When you are paid, at the end of week two, save $3 ($1 for week one and $2 for week two). At the end of week four, save $7 ($3 for week three and $4 for week four). This approach allows you to save as much as the 52-week challenge but aligns with your pay schedule.

Get paid monthly? Try the monthly savings challenge. Save $10 in month one, $26 in month two, etc.

3. 365 Day Penny Challenge

While the 52-week savings challenge is popular, another alternative is the 365-day penny challenge. In this challenge, you’ll start by saving one penny on day one, two pennies on day two, three pennies on day three, etc., all the way through 365 days. 

Think this sounds ridiculous? What if I told you that you would have saved $667.95 by the end of the year? It doesn’t seem so absurd now, does it?

If you’re looking for something more substantive, try the nickel challenge. Save five cents on day one, ten cents on day two, 15 cents on day three, etc., for a year. Do this, and you will have saved $3,339.75 by the end of the year. 


4. Spare Change Challenge

Next on our list of money-saving challenges is the spare change challenge. This one is pretty straightforward. Anytime you make a purchase, simply take the spare change and set it aside through saving.

Now, I hear what you’re saying. You don’t use cash or change anymore. How do I know? Because I rarely do either; nearly everything goes on my plastic.

There’s a solution! With services like Acorns and Stash, you can automatically invest your spare change. So, if you make a purchase for $8.15, for example, these services can automatically invest $0.85 on your behalf. In fact, the average Acorns user invests more than $30 per month using these roundups!

Want to learn more about these services? Check out this comparison of Acorns vs. Stash

5. No-Spend Challenge

This next challenge, the no-spend challenge, is also extremely popular. It means what it sounds like – don’t spend money for a certain period. A no spend can be a weekend, a week, or even a month. For any money you save, put money directly into savings.

Now, of course, it probably isn’t possible to spend $0. However, think of this as avoiding spending on anything discretionary. Think about eating out, shopping, etc.

If you want to take this up a notch, do any necessary shopping in advance of your no-spend challenge. For example, if you’re doing a weekend no spend challenge, buy groceries on Friday. Then, over the weekend, spend no money!

6. Coffee Break / Little Vices Challenge

This next challenge is all about the little things you spend money on that add up to a lot.

You know the habits I’m talking about. The $5 Starbucks. The $20 at Amazon. The $25 dinner out.

While these habits aren’t necessarily the end of the world when it comes to your finances, making small changes here can add up. 

So, for this challenge, every time you avoid making one of these purchases, figure out how much you would have spent and save that money instead. For example, if you planned to spend $5 on coffee, choose to save $5 instead. 

Making Coffee

7. Bad Habit Money Jar Challenge

Do you have a bad habit you’re trying to break? Maybe you want to stop swearing. Or perhaps you want to stop eating midnight snacks.

Whatever habit you’re trying to break, turn a negative into a positive. Choose a dollar amount, and every time you commit the bad habit, put that amount of money into a savings jar. 

8. 100 Envelope Challenge

Are you the type of person that likes to use the envelope budgeting system? Do you want to save $5,000 in a year? Well, then you’ll love the 100 envelope challenge!

Take 100 envelopes, and then label them 1 to 100. Each week, pick two random envelopes and place the dollar amount written on the envelope inside.

For example, maybe one week, I pick the envelopes labeled 67 and 14. I’d put $67 in the first envelope and $14 respectively in the second, and I’d repeat the process until I’ve used all the envelopes (about a year).

At the end of the year, the envelopes will contain over $5,000! Now that’s a savings challenge!

Before I share with you the next seven money-saving challenges, I want to invite you to get your FREE money-saving challenges printable!

9. Receipt Savings Challenge

This next one is a bit off-the-wall, but it is so unique I want to include it.

Do you have a savings card with your local grocery store chain? Ever see on the bottom of your receipt that your loyalty saved you a certain amount of money? For example, on a $100 purchase, maybe it says you saved $7.60 on the bottom of your receipt.

Every time you get one of these receipts, save the amount shown on the receipt! It sounds a little goofy, but if you’re looking for a fun, new way to save money, this could be it!

Receipt Savings Challenge

10. Weather Savings Challenge

Here’s another odd one for you. Ever hear of the weather savings challenge? Neither had I, but I realized it’s one of the more unique money-saving challenges when I discovered it!

Here’s how it works. Pick a day of the week (the original challenge used Wednesday). Every Wednesday, check out the high temperature. Whatever that high temperature is, save that amount of money. And then repeat the process every week!

Want to adapt this to things besides the weather? Try using it for other semi-random events. For example, use the score of your favorite football team to determine how much to save!

This is one of the more fun ways I’ve heard to save money!

11. 1% Money Challenge

Have you ever heard of the 1% money challenge? Of all the challenges on this list, this one can make the most significant impact over an investing lifetime. 

Whatever amount you are currently investing, increase it by 1%. For example, perhaps you’re investing 5% in your 401(k). Change that to just 6%. You won’t even notice the small decrease in your paycheck, and this simple change can add up to massive results. 

Want to take this a step further? Every quarter, increase your contributions by another 1%. Over a year, you can raise your investment contributions by 4% without even noticing the change in your paycheck!

Don’t have a 401(k)? Set up automatic investments using a brokerage such as M1 Finance!

12. No Eating Out Challenge

Okay, unfortunately, this is one of the less fun challenges on the list. 

If you’re looking to save a lot of money, try eating at home for a set amount of time. Whatever you save on eating out, put into your savings instead. 

While this may not be as fun as some of the other money-saving challenges I’ve covered, it can be useful!

13. Pantry Challenge

Are you looking for another food-related challenge? I’ve got you covered! How much food do you have in your pantry that has sat there for months (if not longer)?

With this challenge, your goal is to use only food in your pantry and fridge and avoid going to the grocery store. It’s a great way to use up older food and save on groceries for a few weeks! 

14. Cancelation Challenge

This next challenge is all about canceling subscription services you don’t use. Nearly everyone pays for some subscription, and it’s so easy to forget about these things.

So, pull out your credit card bill and figure out which subscriptions you can cancel!

Are you looking for an even easier way to do this? Use a service like Trim or Truebill that can help you find these services. They can then help you cancel, and they can even help save you money on your other bills! Check out our Truebill Review and Trim Review to learn more about how these services can save you money!

15. 21 Days to a Better Financial Life Challenge

Okay, so this final money saving challenge is one I have developed just for YOU! In all my time in the personal finance space, I have come up with a list of action items to help you improve your finances.

In our free guide, 21 Days to a Better Financial Life, I will share with you 21 actionable steps you can take to improve your finances. While they may take some work, they can drastically change your financial picture. So, sign up to receive your guide, and start making financial progress today!

15 Money Saving Challenges to Save More Money

Many challenges can hold you back from saving money. But saving money doesn’t have to be complicated. Many easy, fun, money-saving challenges can help set you on the path to financial security without much effort at all!

  1. 52-Week Savings Challenge
  2. Bi-Weekly Savings Challenge / Monthly Savings Challenge
  3. 365 Day Penny Challenge
  4. Spare Change Challenge
  5. No Spend Challenge
  6. Coffee Break / Little Vices Challenge
  7. Bad Habit Money Jar Challenge
  8. 100 Envelope Challenge
  9. Receipt Savings Challenge
  10. Weather Savings Challenge
  11. 1% Money Challenge
  12. No Eating Out Challenge
  13. Pantry Challenge
  14. Cancelation Challenge
  15. 21 Days to a Better Financial Life Challenge

So, get started with one of our top 15 money-saving challenges today!

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