5 challenges to help you save more money

This article is reprinted with permission from NerdWallet.

Among the different ways to trick yourself into saving, the challenges of saving money are some of the most engaging.

They can help you feel connected to the economy by requiring frequent check-ins and revealing feelings of inadequacy when it comes to saving. For Cristina Brown, a self-described savings challenge designer and founder of the blog Happy Savings Co, money-saving challenges helped her go from spending to saving.

“I realized the need to save money, and I thought this would be a good way to gamify it,” says Brown.

If saving for tomorrow seems out of reach, the right money challenge can create excitement, push competitive buttons and potentially increase savings.

Viral challenges that can be added

Before you start a savings challenge, review your budget to reduce unnecessary expenses. The amount of breathing space in your budget determines the degree of difficulty that is possible for a challenge.

Assigning a goal to a challenge can also keep you motivated and consistent, whether it’s saving for an emergency fund, a vacation or something else.

Some popular challenges to consider include:

Keep changing challenges

Beginner-friendly savings challenges of $ 1 and $ 5 enable passive savings, which require less effort and assume an out of sight. For a certain period of time, both challenges involve putting aside the denominations of these bills that are left over from cash transactions.

Ezekiel Waisel, a Certified Financial Planner at SHP Financial, a financial planning company, tried the $ 5 2016 challenge and saved about $ 300 a year for a return flight. “I do not use a lot of cash, so the fact that I even saved so much was quite surprising to me,” he says.

Check: How this 38-year-old went from “deep poverty” to a millionaire

The 52-week challenge

This challenge increases your savings by $ 1 per week and requires you to actively save by budgeting for each week. During the first week you save $ 1, in the second week $ 2, and so on until the 52nd week. The challenge can also be reversed to start saving $ 52 in the first week and work downwards, which Brown prefers in 2022. Either way, the challenge can save $ 1,378 in a year, enough to cover an emergency or a major purchase.

“At the end of the year with holidays – even with all our best efforts to create declining funds for the holidays and stuff – it can still get pretty crowded, so I reversed the order to save the larger amounts at the beginning of the year,” says Brown. fund contains money earmarked for a specific goal or expense.

The challenge with 100 envelopes

This potentially lucrative and difficult challenge to save money requires numbering 100 envelopes from one to 100, shuffling them and drawing one at random every day. The number of the envelope that is drawn determines how much cash must be saved. Drawing high numbers in a row can prove difficult, so this challenge is ideal for those with more cash flow. If done, it saves up to $ 5,050, but do not keep money in envelopes for too long. Keep it safe by entering a day every two weeks or months to deposit savings in a high-interest bank account.

Be sure to read: Is it difficult to save half your income? Saving 10% is even worse

The weather-Wednesday challenge

For thrill seekers with sufficient cash flow, this challenge can offer huge savings with less predictability. Every Wednesday, for a year, save money or make a deposit in a savings account based on the temperature in your city. If it’s 50 degrees, for example, save $ 50. The challenge becomes more difficult when it gets warmer, so it is best to start in the winter when it is more manageable.

Challenge without spending

It’s as simple as it sounds: you commit to spending only on essentials for a certain period of time to save big. Some people even clean out their pantries to lower their food bills. The degree of difficulty is subjective to this challenge, but it is likely to be more sustainable in the short term.

Tailor your own challenge

Change a popular challenge to suit your needs by shortening or extending deadlines or saving pace. For example, you can extend the challenge with 100 envelopes over 100 weeks (about 2 years) instead of days, if possible. Brown also creates his own challenges. In such a challenge, she seeks discounts in the grocery store to save savings for future goals. She says she saved a total of $ 3,560.58 in 2021 by juggling multiple challenges each month.

Read next: This is how you can play safe with your investments when interest rates rise

Learn what motivates you

Mastering a savings challenge means understanding your motives. Think about whether you are motivated by large or small deposits, randomness or predictability, cash or electronic deposits, or active versus passive savings. If you are unsure, try some money saving challenges to learn what works. Passive saving challenges such as maintaining change can lay a solid foundation for greater challenges and savings.

“I think passive is a good starting point, and once you become comfortable and consistent with passive saving, you can add or switch to an active savings model,” says Waisel.

Finding the right challenge may require trial and error, but even when you experiment, you are likely to save money in the process.

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Melissa Lambarena writes for NerdWallet. Email: mlambarena@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @LissaLambarena.

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