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Want to try a few fun and easy money challenges to help you save more money? Then you’ve come to the right place. Saving money and changing the way you think about spending money can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve come up with 9 money challenges to improve your finances in small ways. Try to do one money challenge each week and before you know it you will see the results in your piggy bank.
Why Do Money Challenges
We started posting challenges on social media in hopes of helping our followers get out of their comfort zone just a little each week so they can achieve their financial goals sooner – and maybe even have some fun! The challenges we discuss below might help you break some habits or just change your perspective about spending and saving money. If you have a savings goal you are working toward, these challenges can also help you learn how to save more money.
9 Money Challenges
Creative Meal Challenge
Before you go to the grocery store next time, take an inventory of your freezer and pantry. Get creative and make one meal at home using the ingredients you already have. This may push you outside of your comfort zone, but remember that’s the point! If you need recipe ideas, you can put your ingredients in supercook.com and it will show you recipes that you can make with what you already have! Try to have fun and recognize that we don’t always need to go to the grocery store when we have ingredients at home.
Gift Card Challenge
Are you one of those people that hoard gift cards? Even if you aren’t, you probably have a few lying around your home. Find all of the gift cards and gift certificates that you own. This week, before you spend money in a category (restaurants, retail, entertainment, etc.) see if you have a gift card to use. If you do, change your plans and use it! This challenge helps you save money and still have fun while planning around the gift cards that you already have.
When we want to get take out for dinner we always check our gift card folder first to see what options we have. Of course, we are guilty of being gift card hoarders but keeping them organized helps a lot.
Do you buy coffee or lunch out every day? This week pick one thing that you buy every day (or several times a week) and make it at home instead. Calculate how much you spend in a year on that regular purchase and think of the next best thing you could spend your money on in that year. Bonus for actually putting that money you saved into a retirement or savings account!
Here’s a photo from last weeks #loadedchallenge set by @TheLoadedPig— The Frugalist (John) (@ithefrugalist) November 5, 2020
Big fan of coffee shops but last week I decided to swap some visits for home made brews.
The savings from drinking at home, I put into my ISA. 2nd lot of £15 – I made lunch at home rather than eating out 👌 pic.twitter.com/MM1ARZJfXU
I used to eat lunch out a few times a week because that was the thing to do at my job. So let’s say I spent about $15 a meal and $45 a week. If I was working 50 weeks out of the year, that adds up to a whopping $2,250. Think of all of the things you could do with that money! As I learned about managing my money and started to actually have to pay bills, I started making my lunch and eating at work everyday. It not only has saved me money, but it also taught me about being frugal so I can spend money on the things I want to. Being frugal isn’t about being cheap, it’s about understanding how you want to spend your money so you can be cheap with everything else.
Pick One Challenge
Each time you go shopping this week before you get to the register, stop and put one item back. This will cause you to think before you buy and consider what is actually necessary. It also helps you understand needs and wants better, which helps prevent impulse buying and also helps with budgeting in general. Moreover, this money challenge will encourage you to stick to a shopping list instead of going up and down each aisle picking out food you want. Another way to save money grocery shopping is to never shop hungry!
Every day this week think of 3 things, moments, or people that you are grateful for. Try to incorporate this gratitude practice into your morning or nightly routine. After a week, think about how your regular gratitude practice makes you feel.
Did you know that practicing gratitude can actually improve your finances? Expressing feelings of gratitude have been proven to help people resist the need for instant gratification and promote financial patience. Participants in a study were asked to write about an event in their past that made them feel grateful, happy or neutral. They were then presented with the choice of receiving an amount of money now or a larger amount in 80 days. It was found that the group that practiced gratitude was more patient and resisted the instant gratification for the long-term gains compared to the other groups. Read more about how gratitude can impact your financial decisions in our article, 6 Ways Practicing Gratitude Can Transform Your Finances
Bad Habit Savings Challenge
Think of a bad habit that you want to change. Each time you find yourself doing it this week, put $1 into a jar or simply record it on your phone or a notepad. It also counts if your partner or a friend scolds you for doing it! At the end of the week, transfer the amount to your savings. The habit can be as simple as biting your nails or complaining. Not only will it make you more aware of your bad habit, but it will also help you save some money.
Free Weekend Challenge
Come up with several activities to do this weekend that are completely free. Some of our favorites include visiting a park, dog park, art fair and going for a hike. Many museums even offer free passes! Challenge family members or friends to find the best free activity and then enjoy it! This is a good reminder that you don’t always have to spend money to have fun. Let us know what you come up with in the comments or on social media.
The 1% Challenge
This is also known as “paying yourself first.” Increase your retirement contributions by 1% or calculate 1% of your gross pay and allocate it to a high yield savings account. Making these contributions to your savings automatically is great because you don’t have to remember to transfer money each month, but it’s important to increase your contributions over time. If you get a pay raise, you should also raise the amount you are contributing to your retirement or others savings account. This helps prevent falling into the trap of lifestyle inflation, also known as lifestyle creep, since you are saving more money rather than spending more as your salary increases.
Bank Fee Challenge
How exactly do banks work? You give them your money and they do whatever they want with it until you want it back, right? But there are still fees for you giving a bank your money? There doesn’t have to be. If you’re still paying bank fees, either find out what requirements you have to meet at your current bank in order to avoid fees or open a new account that doesn’t have fees and switch over.
Many banks require a certain amount of money be kept in the account at all times or a certain amount deposited each month. If you meet the specific requirements, you may be able to avoid paying bank fees at all. Plus there are many banks nowadays that have NO bank fees, you just have to do your research. Even if it’s just $10-20 a month, it will save you money in the long-term to pay no bank fees at all. Remember every dollar counts when you’re fattening your piggy bank!
Loaded Challenge of the Week
Every Wednesday we post a challenge on Twitter and Instagram that will help you improve your finances in small ways. The ones we have written about above are past Loaded Challenges. Follow us for a weekly loaded challenge to help you save money, change your habits, and reach your financial goals sooner. We also include them in our weekly emails if that’s more your style!
Where should you put all this extra money?
The ideal place to keep your savings is a high-yield savings account that allows you to quickly withdraw your money if necessary. One option is CIT Bank that offers competitive interest rates, so your money grows faster than if you had it in your regular savings account. It is a member of the FDIC, so your funds are insured up to $250,000. You can also easily transfer or withdraw funds. There are many other high-yield savings accounts, just be sure to read the details to make sure you can withdraw your funds without a penalty. Of course keep in mind that this is for short-term savings, like an emergency fund, or saving a few years for a down payment.
Bonus: No Spend Challenge
If you’ve read through all of these money challenges and are looking for a more substantial one, consider doing a no spend challenge. A no spend challenge is a commitment to not spend money in a specified category for a period of time. It can last for a day, a week or even a year depending on what you decide. The most important part of a no spend challenge is thinking about and determining the rules before you start. Learn more about no spend challenge rules and our takeaways from our no spend month.
What money challenge are you going to tackle? Let us know in the comments!
Financial freedom begins with good habits.Rebecca & Tiago, theloadedpig.com