Saving & Investing
Saving money. It’s something we all want to do, but often struggle to do it. We know it’s important, but we just put it off. Sometimes you just need a challenge to get things done. Here are ten financial challenges to help you cut back on your spending and save more money.
Challenge # 1:
Save $2,022 in 2022 Or $2,023 in 2023
If you have a specific goal, it can really help. This challenge requires you to save the amount equivalent to the year. In this case, it won’t change much from year to year, but it’s a specific number that you can measure. And that’s really the point, come up with a realistic specific goal for your yearly savings. For this particular challenge in 2023, you would need to save 38.91 every week to reach your goal. Could you do that? That’s about $156 a month. Saving money is often about cutting expenses. What can you cut out of your monthly expenses to help you save money?
Monthly Savings Theme
In this challenge, you tackle a specific part of your budget every month and find savings in each. For example, in the first month, it might be your grocery bill. In the second, it could be transportation costs. In the third, entertainment expenses. Each month, your budget focus will change as you look for ways to cut costs in a new budget category. Of course, for this to be a genuinely productive challenge, you will need to maintain the changes you make in your spending habits and carry them forward each subsequent month.
Challenge # 3
Get Rid of Something Every Day
This challenge is about minimizing your lifestyle. It involves getting rid of things in your home. One for each day of the year. Every day, look for one thing you do not need or use and get rid of it. The key is that you don’t replace these unnecessary things. You remove them, freeing up space in your home and reducing clutter in your life. Now, this challenge will not impact the bottom line of your budget. However, decluttering your life may help you avoid making future purchases of unnecessary items. You will learn that you just don’t need a lot of stuff.
Challenge # 4
Try the Store Brand
While there may be some products where the brand name is king, there are store brands that can take the place of others and enable you to enjoy substantial savings. With this challenge then, you will try a different store brand product each week and see how it compares to the name brand you have always purchased. From laundry detergent to packaged cheese, to canned veggies, to plastic trash bags, to snack foods, there are alternative products out there that can deliver the quality you seek at a better price point. Give them an honest try.
Lower (or Raise) Your Thermostat
Depending on where you live and the season of the year, the dollars you spend heating and cooling your home can have a significant on your budget. With this budget challenge, when heating your home, you will lower your thermostat by one degree to help you save big on your heating bill throughout the winter. Reverse the challenge in the summer and raise your thermostat by one degree while running the air conditioner. If one degree does not make any difference to you, try two or three. You will probably save even more.
Challenge # 6
Pack Your Lunch
If you go out for lunch often you know that adds up. Think about it, the average lunch purchase costs around $10. That’s $50 per week. At 52 weeks per year, you could save up to $2,600 annually by packing your lunch. Even if you only pack your lunch four days a week, allowing yourself a once-per-week splurge, you will still save quite a bit of money. Plus, you would also save on gas as well since you are not leaving the office for your lunch. If you feel it’s important to get out of the office, take your lunch with you and eat in a nearby park. Also, try to pack your lunch the night before you get up in the morning so you’re not rushed and decide to skip it.
Use the Library
If you have not been to the library in a while, you are missing out. No longer is it a quiet refuge for dusty old books. At your local library, you can find a wealth of media to enjoy and countless learning opportunities for yourself and your family. Libraries today offer free access to a wide variety of media including:
That makes your local library a valuable free alternative to streaming movie rentals or other media purchases. Many libraries today even offer electronic services where you can check out eBooks and audiobooks online. You don’t even have to go inside.
Libraries also host educational events, meetups, and more. Most of these are free or at a low cost allowing you to get even more value from the use of your local library.
Challenge # 8
“No Spend” Days
Some people call them “spending fasts” and other names. The key is that you go for a designated period: a day, a weekend, a week, or even a month (for the truly brave) without spending money. This exercise is not just about not spending money. It’s also about learning to appreciate things that are free. It encourages you to take advantage of things like your public library, free entertainment events around town, or neighborhood parks instead of spending money on ‘stuff.’
The 10×10 Clothing Challenge
The 10 by 10 challenge is one that encourages thriftier habits and saving. While it doesn’t directly put cash into your pocket, it does show you how to do more with less. The challenge is for you to select 10 clothing items that you can mix and match into creating 10 different outfits. For the next 10 days, you are only allowed to wear only those 10 clothing items. The challenge teaches you that you can do more with less and don’t need as much clothing as you might think.
Challenge # 10
The $5 Savings Challenge
This one is interesting because it doesn’t rely on a weekly or monthly deposit. It does rely on the regular use of cash for transactions, however. It works like this. Whenever you find yourself with a $5 bill, you put it into your piggy bank instead of spending it. If you frequently shop with cash, the savings can quickly add up.
You know you need to save more, but you just don’t get around to doing it. Try these challenges to make it more fun and you’ll see how much easier it is to save.
© Fintactix, LLC 2022