Top 13 Money-Saving Challenges for 2023 • Benzinga (2024)

Saving money comes with major benefits, including long-term financial freedom and the opportunity to achieve big financial goals. But sometimes saving can seem boring. Enter a money-saving challenge to keep motivation high and make savings fun even in the short term. Don't be afraid to enlist family and friends to reach savings goals together. Here are 13 money-saving challenges to get you started.

Table of Contents

  • Why Take on a Money-Saving Challenge
  • Top 13 Money-Saving Challenge Ideas
  • 1. The 52-Week Challenge
  • 2. No-Spend Challenge
  • 3. Spare Change Challenge
  • 4. 30-Day Meal Planning Challenge
  • 5. The Cash-Only Challenge
  • 6. No-Coffee-Shop Challenge
  • 7. Digitize Your Entertainment Challenge
  • 8. 30-Day Impulse Purchase Challenge
  • 9. DIY Challenge
  • 10. Negotiation Challenge
  • 11. Find Ways to Generate Extra Income
  • 12. Create a Budget
  • 13. Set Savings Goals
  • Choosing Your 2023 Savings Challenge
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Why Take on a Money-Saving Challenge

Taking on a money savings challenge can be a way to prioritize your long-term financial health. It can help you save for a specific goal, like a house down payment or a vacation, or build up a retirement nest egg that can grow with compound interest. The benefits of saving more money include:

  • Reaching short-term savings personal finance goals
  • Creating security in case of unexpected expenses
  • Increasing motivation to reach long-term goals
  • Having more money to invest this year
  • Building rewards around savings
  • Challenging yourself to see whether spending less brings greater satisfaction

Top 13 Money-Saving Challenge Ideas

These 13 money-saving challenge ideas are a starting point. Use them as-is, or as a jumping-off point to design your money-saving challenge and get family and friends to join. You could also choose a monthly money-saving challenge and rotate it throughout the year.

1. The 52-Week Challenge

This challenge lets you build savings over an entire year. Save a specific amount of money each week for 52 weeks. Start with $1 in week one, $2 in week two, $3 in week three, and so on. By the end of the year, you will have saved $1,378.

Or, set aside $25 a week, and after 52 weeks, you'll have $1,300. Either way, you'll have a nice emergency or vacation fund with small weekly savings.

2. No-Spend Challenge

Set a period, like a week or a month, where you commit to not spending money on nonessential items. Challenge yourself to be creative and find free alternatives for entertainment and necessities. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Plan activities at the park, like a picnic or game day.
  • Host a potluck with friends at home.
  • Host a clothing swap with friends to get something new without spending anything.
  • Take advantage of free days at the museum, concerts in the park and other free activities in your city.
  • You can also read “The Year of Less” by Cait Flanders for more no-spending inspiration

3. Spare Change Challenge

Collect all your spare change throughout the year and deposit it into a savings account or a jar. You'll be surprised how quickly it adds up. Some debit cards automatically transfer spare change on each purchase to a savings account. If not, keep a mental tally of credit and debit card expenses and make a daily transfer. Even $3 per day adds up quickly. Remember to check your pockets before washing your clothes.

4. 30-Day Meal Planning Challenge

Plan and prepare all your meals at home for 30 days. This challenge helps you save money by avoiding eating out and making the most of the groceries you already have. Before going to the grocery store, try to shop your pantry and use up stored food like canned goods, pasta or frozen vegetables.

Total monthly savings depends on your usual eating habits and family size but could be anywhere from $50 to more than $1,000. That's a big saving in a short time.

5. The Cash-Only Challenge

Commit to using only cash for your purchases for a specific period, such as a month. This challenge helps you become more mindful of spending and avoid unnecessary purchases.

To do the cash-only challenge, take out the total cash for your weekly budget (minus any online payments like utility bills) and use that for all purchases. When you're out of cash, you'll have to wait until next week to buy more.

6. No-Coffee-Shop Challenge

Challenge yourself to make your own coffee at home instead of buying it from coffee shops. You'll save a significant amount of money by brewing your own coffee. If you usually buy a $5 coffee each weekday, you'll save $35 a week and $140 a month.

If going cold turkey at your favorite coffee shop is too much, challenge yourself to make coffee at home from Tuesday to Thursday and allow a splurge at the beginning and end of each week. If you can sustain that for the year, you'll save $780 or more.

7. Digitize Your Entertainment Challenge

Cancel expensive cable subscriptions or streaming services and explore free or low-cost entertainment options like borrowing books from the library or using free streaming platforms.

You can also choose just one paid online streaming service for less than $10 each month and then change to a different service to get more options. Many online streaming services like Hulu or Netflix also offer a free trial. Just remember to cancel so you only have one active subscription.

A lower-cost option that gets you moving is to enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, picnics, free yoga in the park, frisbee or other low-cost or free activities. You could also have your kids make up plays or have game nights instead of using digital entertainment.

8. 30-Day Impulse Purchase Challenge

Commit to a month without making any impulse purchases. Before buying something, give yourself a 24-hour waiting period to consider whether it's a necessary and worthwhile expense. For bigger purchases, increase the waiting period to one week. To make this challenge easier, enlist a friend to join you and act as an accountability partner.

9. DIY Challenge

Challenge yourself to fix, repair or create things independently instead of hiring professionals or buying new items. This challenge can help you save money and develop new skills. Consider repairing or resizing clothes, repairing garden or house items or learning to make something new you've been wanting.

10. Negotiation Challenge

Practice negotiating prices or discounts whenever possible. This challenge can be applied to various situations, such as buying a car, negotiating rent or getting a better deal on services. Look at all your expenses to see where you might be able to renegotiate a better offer. Remember, it never hurts to ask.

11. Find Ways to Generate Extra Income

There's only so much you can cut from your budget. The best way to save more is to earn more. Side hustles and part-time jobs can bring in extra income. Even an extra $100 per week adds up over a year. Consider using skills and talents to earn extra income. You could create an Etsy shop, tutor local students or offer your services online to earn extra income.

You can also generate extra income by selling unwanted items. Most people have thousands of dollars worth of stuff in their houses or garage that they never use. Hold a yard sale or sell items online and put the extra income into savings.

12. Create a Budget

Budgeting is important to save more because it gives you a clear vision of where your money is going and how to use it better. Start by tracking all expenses for a month, either manually or with a free budgeting app. Then, based on spending, create a budget that works for you.

Be sure to set realistic personal finance goals. Once you see your current spending, you can try to reduce certain spending categories by 10% or entirely eliminate certain categories — like entertainment or eating out — for a month.

Set aside a discretionary fund for unexpected expenses or a weekly treat to stick to the budget better.

13. Set Savings Goals

Set savings goals to keep motivation high. You can evaluate your financial situation based on how much you'll have at retirement and how much you'll need. You can also evaluate savings based on short-term goals like a vacation or house downpayment.

Remember that big savings goals are best broken into small savings goals. You could aim to save 20% of your income this year or reach certain smaller savings goals.

As with anything, attention to your goals can improve success. Regularly track your progress to increase motivation and see how you're doing toward reaching savings goals. Be sure to celebrate your success as you hit small milestones.

Choosing Your 2023 Savings Challenge

Money-saving challenges can be a fun way to bond with friends and get creative with free activities and an important step to financial freedom. Whether you take on a monthly money-saving challenge or plan a challenge for the entire year, remember to set small goals and keep going even if you slip up. Money-saving challenges are small, manageable changes that can lead to changing habits and long-term financial results. You can also find federal savings resources to support your financial goals and learn more about making a savings plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a money-saving challenge?

A money-saving challenge is a short-term goal to increase savings. The 13 money-saving challenges here are inspiration to get started with a 2023 savings challenge.

How much money can I save with a money-saving challenge?

How much money you'll save with a money-saving challenge depends on the challenge and how long you stick with it. Many of the money-saving challenges here could lead to savings of $1,000 or more over a year. Combine several, and you could save an extra $5,000 or more this year.

Are money-saving challenges sustainable in the long run?

Some money-saving challenges are sustainable in the long run, but it depends on changing your habits and goals. For example, a no-coffee-shop challenge could be sustainable in the long run if you find a way to make coffee you love at home. And a DIY challenge could open new passions and creative outlets.

Top 13 Money-Saving Challenges for 2023 • Benzinga (2024)
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