To start your fiscal freedom journey on the right foot, try these five easy yet effective savings challenges this coming year. If you enjoy bonuses, keep reading to hear about our bonus money-saving challenge with Zap Surveys.
What is a Money Challenge?
We often hear about monthly savings challenges in the first week of the year when friends make New Year's resolutions. While these challenges may seem fun, they also foster the habits and strict discipline needed for a successful financial life. Participating in a movement like this will motivate you not to spend money and make your investments more meaningful. For these challenges to work, you should join a monthly savings challenge that best suits your lifestyle.
Why a Money-Saving Challenge is a Great Idea?
A good savings plan will help you endure hardships better while enjoying the good times. It's best to save when things are going well so that you'll have extra cash to support yourself if you live alone and with your family when hardship strikes.
Money-saving challenges offer many benefits, such as:
- Helping you prioritize what matters most in life
- Giving you a sense of control and stability
- Preparing for retirement or other long-term goals
- Allowing you to make better financial decisions
Saving money doesn't have to be complicated or tedious, but it often requires us to engage in a bit of self-discipline. With life throwing everything under the sun into your path to distract you, trying to remember to save can seem overwhelming. Likewise, money saving seems complicated, but these five challenges will make the process easy to follow and will help you reach your financial goals in 2023 before you know it.
When Should You Start to Save Money?
Right now! Start saving money now rather than waiting; in the meantime, if you are looking for quick tips to kickstart your saving adventure, here are some things that may help:
- Create a budget and stick to it.
- Make sure all of your bills are paid on time.
- Reduce spending on unnecessary items.
- Look for ways to save on groceries and other essentials.
- Try out the best survey apps, such as Zap Surveys, which rewards you with cashback.
Get the Savings Fever
Goals usually get accomplished when a person is devoted to completing the goal and not giving up until it's done. So do yourself a favor and light a fire under you to start saving money now. If you're unmotivated but want to start somewhere, read a financial help book.
Plenty of finance gurus are out there with money advice that can help you manage your spending habits. Watch video content around saving and meeting financial goals; these will ignite the fire you need to stay committed.
Money Saving Challenges for the New Year
While there are five money challenges here, we've broken them down into more specific challenges that best suit anyone's lifestyle.
Bad Habits Money Jars
We understand everyone has bad habits which are hard to shake. However, while you should work to stop those bad habits, you can forgo all the effort to stop doing them and use them to your advantage. Every time you give in to your cravings, put some money into a jar. Once that jar is full, use it for something meaningful, like investing in your retirement account.
Spare Change Challenge
Do you have spare change lying around? Most of us do, but instead of leaving it in your couch cushions or piggy bank, use this money to invest. Every time you get change from a bad habit purchase, save the coins in a jar, coffee can, or whatever you can find at the time. Then, keep track of how much you've saved over the year on a ledger to make it easy to count at the end.
Five Dollar Bill Savings Challenge
Whether the bill comes as a gift, change while grocery shopping, or from the bank, commit to tucking each five-dollar bill away. If $5 is too much, try the same challenge with one-dollar bills.
On the other hand, if you're in a good place financially, you could double down and save all the ten-dollar bills you receive instead. Either way, this works for bad habits too. If you get fast food too frequently or give in to an impulse purchase, you can save money quickly instead of these indulgences.
No Spending Money Challenge
With this money savings challenge, you must commit to not spending money on non-essential items for a month. That means no eating out, unnecessary purchases, or shopping sprees. Ultimately, you'll have a good chunk of money to invest or a down payment.
Each time you feel ready to give in to the temptation, take the money you would use for that bad habit and put it in your special place for the No-Spend Challenge. If you save the money and make it hard to get to, there's a better chance you'll stick to your savings goal.
Utility savings challenge
Challenge yourself to lower your utility bills by a specific amount every month. Of course, that means you'll have to be more conscious of how many lights you're leaving on unnecessarily, when it's best to run appliances and electronics in off-peak hours, and more. To track your savings, take a picture or make notes of your utility bills each month and compare them to prior ones. You'll be surprised how much you can save in just one year.
52-week savings challenge
The 52-week savings challenge isn't new, but it's another effective way to save. This monthly money challenge requires you to keep a specific increment of cash every week, starting with $1 in Week 1 and ending with $52 in Week 52. You can start any week, so don't worry if you're a few weeks behind.
The best part about the 52-week money challenge is that you don't have to worry about a bad habit or tracking how much you spend; it's simply a set amount you can adjust based on your budget. If you're saving and need to be more conservative, you could try these other methods.
31 days to improve your finances
Phillip Taylor, the founder of Part-Time Money and expert finance blogger, has created a cutting-edge 31-day financial challenge that could upgrade your fiscal life. What makes it unique is its daily actionable steps and how each creates an impactful money transformation over time. Of course, he doesn't promise instant wealth or debt freedom in a month – what he does offer instead is tangible advice you can start following today for financial freedom.
14-day money-saving challenge
Megan Wells, from Money Done Right, lauds the site's popular 2-week money-saving challenge. This tested and proven approach assists individuals looking to improve their financial standing in just two weeks. With steps like paying yourself first and removing online push notifications and temptations from your life, anyone can make it work. Upon completing these 14 days, participants are urged to keep up with a new monthly savings plan for continued success.
Build a $1,000 emergency fund in 90 days or less
There's nothing wrong with agreeing with Dave Ramsey; while some of his tips may be outdated, setting up your $1,000 should be a priority. First, save $100, then open an account at a credit union or somewhere that gives you decent interest for your money with no checking account fees. After that, continue depositing money into that account until you have your emergency fund.
Every month, you could even add the money you saved from your No-Spend Challenge or utility savings into this fund to reach your savings goals faster. Alternatively, try apps like Zap Surveys which offer the best survey apps to earn cash online and get rewards when completing surveys. This extra money can be added to your emergency fund, so you'll reach that $1,000 quickly. The best part about this challenge is that you can restart it repeatedly.
Round Up Savings Account Challenge
The Round-Up Savings Account Challenge is the best challenge for those just beginning to save. This strategy will help you build up a savings account without even noticing it happening. First, you must link your bank account or credit card to an app like Acorns or Stash and set a round-up rule that adds all your transactions to the nearest dollar.
For example, if you spend $4.25 on a latte, the app will round up and deposit the extra .75 cents into your savings account. You won't even feel you're saving because it's so tiny; this is an effortless way to save money, as all the transactions are automated.
No Eating Out Challenge
It's okay; we're all guilty of it. Eating out occasionally is nice but can be a huge money sink. The No Eating Out Challenge is here to help you save in this area. The best way to complete this challenge is to commit for an entire month and track your progress. The best saving efforts often work best when you can see the effects with data.
You don't have to ban eating out completely; instead, set a weekly allowance. This way, you don't have to feel deprived while still being able to save some money. Be mindful that date nights are important if you have a spouse, so give yourself the freedom to use that weekly allowance for those times.
Free Entertainment Money Challenge
Nowadays, free entertainment is a must. We all enjoy our Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, but sometimes we need something different. This Free Entertainment Money Challenge works best if you already have subscriptions, as it also encourages finding some free stuff. Try watching videos on YouTube or listening to podcasts for a few days. Then, use this challenge to create your entertainment budget and find ways to modify it.
You can also try using survey apps like Zap Surveys, which offer the best survey apps available. These surveys can let you earn cash rewards that you can use as additional funds for your entertainment budget. That way, you don't have to worry about needing more money while still being able to enjoy your entertainment.
DIY Coffee or Tea Savings Challenge
Lay off the Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts; coffee or tea is a daily staple for many of us, but buying it daily can quickly add up. That's why the DIY Coffee or Tea Savings Challenge encourages you to cut those daily trips to your coffee shop and instead make your morning brew at home.
First, buy a few bags of beans or different types of tea; invest in a good coffee grinder and brewing machine. If you want to take it one step further, get a French press or pour-over set for the best cup of coffee possible. This will help you save much more money in the long run, as well as help you customize your own coffee blend.
The Pantry Challenge
Are you used to making regular trips or deliveries for groceries? The Pantry Challenge can help break that habit by encouraging you to make the most of what's already in your pantry, freezer, and fridge. Not only will this challenge stimulate your recipe creativity, but it will also save you money in the long run without extra steps from you.
Bonus Money Saving Challenge
We mentioned an extra money challenge, so it's only fair to keep our word.
The Survey Apps Challenge
The next money-saving challenge is best for those trying to make extra money without spending money, changing too many habits, or depriving themselves of their favorite morning coffee. Again, survey apps like Zap Surveys are your best bet if you want to ease into a money-saving challenge. These survey apps offer the best surveys from different companies, so you can choose which suits you best.
The best part? With each survey completed, you can get paid in cash and earn gift cards and other rewards over time. In addition, with each new survey you take, you can get closer to your financial goals without making significant lifestyle changes.
The Zap Surveys Challenge
If you're feeling particularly edgy, you could pair Zap Surveys with another of the money-saving challenges. For example, you could use the Pantry Challenge to cut down your grocery costs and supplement it by taking surveys on Zap Surveys for a little extra cash. Not only does this allow you to save money, but it also encourages finding some free stuff.
If you want to start with Zap Surveys, it's easy to sign up; give a little information about yourself so we can tailor your survey selections and start earning rewards. You can even download the Zap Surveys App for Android or iOS to take surveys on the go. There are no limits to what you can earn, and with each survey completed, you'll be a step closer to your financial goals.
To get started, try doing one survey daily for the first week, then increase your challenge as you go. For example, in Week 2, you could take two surveys daily, and so on. By the end of the month, you will have completed anywhere between 28 and 30 surveys; that could mean exponential savings for you.
Zap Surveys is the Best Apps for Surveys
With Zap Surveys, you can make money just by doing surveys and giving your opinion to the top brands in the country. You'll be one step closer to success with no significant changes to your lifestyle and using one of the best apps for surveys in the market.
Do you want gift cards for your favorite brands? Done. Want extra rewards to spend as you, please? Done and done. With Zap Surveys, your money-saving goals are in your hands, so sign up and start taking surveys with us today.