20 Best Money Savings Challenges To Try in 2022

Money jars filled with American currency.
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How much time would it take you to rustle up $1,000 to pay an auto insurance deductible if you got into an accident? Could you purchase a new heating and cooling system if yours suddenly went out? You might want to try these challenges to help kickstart your 2022 savings goals.

What Is a Money Savings Challenge?

Money savings challenges are a fun and often easy way to save extra money over a specified period. You follow guidelines, but the challenges are flexible enough to let you set your own rules. Each money savings challenge is different, but they all aim to help you reach your savings goals.

Although it takes some effort, saving money can be fun and challenging. Try a new approach to saving money with these 20 best money savings challenges in 2022. Whether you choose to keep your cash in your hand or save it electronically, at least one of these money challenges is bound to work for you.

1. No-Spend Challenge

Impulsive spending can derail your savings goals. When this happens, you can cut spending cold turkey with the no-spend challenge. Think of it as a game. Plan to only spend money on necessities, such as your mortgage, rent or utility bills. Food is a necessity, but not necessarily fast food takeout five nights a week. Set simple goals. Start with one day and increase your no spending to a week, a month or several months.

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2. Bowl-Grab Challenge

The bowl-grab challenge is a fun money savings challenge to do with other people. Get your spouse, significant other, children or roommate to participate. Use pieces of paper or index cards and write different amounts of money on each.

You can keep it simple with small denominations — $1, $5, $10 and $20. Make enough for the number of days in the month you plan to do the challenge. Place all the slips of paper in a bowl, jar or box and take one out each day of the month. Make it interesting by rotating who grabs a slip each day.

Put the slips of paper aside, and at the end of the month, add them all up and reveal how much you saved collectively. Convert the slips of paper into actual dollars and set the money aside for savings.

3. The $33.33 Challenge

If you already have enough discretionary income and just need a push to cut out needless spending, then the $33.33 money savings challenge might be a good option for you. Saving $33.33 per day for 30 days will get you approximately $1,000 — $999.90 to be exact. Surely, you can throw in another dime to make it an even $1,000.

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4. Stackopoly Savings Game

For only $3, you can enjoy saving money by playing the Stackopoly Savings Game. Created by a budget-conscious military wife, this game is a digital download, where you roll a die each week to see how much to set aside for savings that week. The amounts are modest and within the $10- to $30-dollar range. The game is also available as a PDF download.

5. The 52-Week Challenge

You can jumpstart your savings in one year with the 52-week savings challenge. The simplest way to do it is to make small transfers from your checking account into your savings account weekly. Begin week one with $1 and increase your savings each week according to the calendar week number. The concept is to add $1 to your transfer each week. At week 52, you will have saved $1,378.

You can also do this challenge in reverse, where you start with saving $52 the first week and decreasing your savings by $1 each week.

6. The 26-Week Challenge

The 26-week savings challenge is an abbreviated and accelerated version of the 52-week savings challenge. This challenge works well for those who get paid on a bi-weekly schedule. You still end up with $1,378 by the end of your savings year, but with the weekly savings amounts adjusted to your bi-weekly pay periods.

A good idea is to set up automatic bi-weekly transfers for the set savings amounts with your bank and put your savings on auto-pilot. Just like the 52-week challenge, the 26-week savings challenge can be done in reverse.

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7. Save the Change Challenge

Put away any change from every dollar you spend or round up to the nearest five-dollar increment and save the difference. This is a smart way to save extra money from things that you buy regularly. You can also save the change by depositing the difference into your savings account whenever the price decreases on one of your recurring expenses.

8. Restricted Shopping List Challenge

Saving money on your grocery bill is possible with a little planning. If you live in a rural area or an area conducive to growing your own food, you can save on buying produce at the market. If you live near a big box store, purchase food items in bulk and stay away from ready-made or pre-packaged items. Buying in bulk is less expensive and making your own hummus, guacamole and bread can bring out some of your hidden culinary skills.

9. The $20 Savings Challenge

Similar to the 52-week savings challenge, the $20 savings challenge will accumulate just over $1,000 in one year. You will save $1,040 in 52 weeks just by setting aside $20 per week. Sounds easy, right?

10. The $2,022 in 2022 Challenge

Clark.com created one of the best money savings challenges for 2022. You can download their Save $2,022 in 2022 chart and print it to keep track of your savings. Use a savings account you already have or open a separate high-yield savings account to transfer a set amount from your checking account each week as indicated on the chart. Cross off each week’s transfer on the chart.

11. The $5 Challenge

The $5 challenge is one of the easiest ways to save thousands of dollars this year — specifically, thousands of dollars in five-dollar bills. For this money savings challenge, every time you receive a five-dollar bill, stash it away. The idea is to see how much money in five-dollar bills you can save in one year.

If you’re concerned about carrying and handling money during the global pandemic, you can just transfer uneven funds in your checking account into a separate savings account.

12. The Kick a Bad Habit Challenge

People have many habits — some good, and some not so good. If you buy an expensive coffee every day, drink lots of sodas or smoke cigarettes, then you might benefit from trying the kick a bad habit savings challenge. By not buying these items for a given period, say a month or six months, you position yourself to save a ton of money. Who knows? You might even end up healthier by the end of the challenge and perhaps hundreds of dollars richer.

13. Trim 1% of Your Salary Challenge

Figure out how much 1% of your annual salary is. For example, if you earn $100,000 a year, 1% of that is $1,000. Examine your monthly budget to find ways to trim your spending and save $1,000 in a year; that’s approximately $83 per month. Trimming 1% of your salary might seem like you’re earning less money, but you’re giving yourself a 1% annual raise. You’re cutting back on your spending, which in turn, saves you money.

14. The Change Your Grocery Store Challenge

You may be shopping at the wrong grocery store if you think you’re spending a lot on groceries every month. Perhaps changing your regular grocery store can save you some money. Keep your receipt from your last grocery shopping trip. Take your regular shopping list to a discount grocery store the next time you go shopping. Compare the two receipts to see if and how much money you saved at the discount store.

15. The Weather Wednesday Challenge

Every Wednesday, put money in your savings account equal to the highest temperature in your city, town or state. Typically, you will save more in the summer months than in winter. For instance, if you live in Phoenix, Arizona, the average temperature in August is 105 degrees. So, if the temperature is 105 degrees on Wednesday, August 20, you have to put $105 into your savings account. Conversely, if it’s 65 degrees in Phoenix on Wednesday, December 20 — the average temperature in December — you’ll have to deposit $65 into your savings account.

16. No Eating Out For a Month Challenge

In 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that on average, American households spent a total of $7,316 on food–$4,942 at home and $2,375 eating out. Using these statistics, your household could save approximately $198 a month if you don’t go out to eat. Even if some of that $198 goes toward groceries, it is generally cheaper to prepare food at home than dining out or ordering takeout.

17. The 365-Day Nickel Challenge

If you can stick it out to the end, the 365-day challenge is a clever way to save $3,339.75 in 365 days. You save money in five-cent increments, beginning on day one with five cents–a nickel. You simply increase your savings by a nickel every day. You can put aside nickels each day or add up your savings for the week and set the money aside in a container. You can also figure up your nickel-a-day savings and transfer that amount for each week from your checking to your savings account. The most you’ll have to save is $18.40 on day 365.

18. The Holiday Savings Challenge

This challenge is not new, but it’s still popular. Many banks and credit unions offer interest-bearing savings accounts for customers to save throughout the year for the holidays at the end of the year. You decide how much you want to save and contribute each week or month, and you can manually deposit or automatically transfer that amount from your checking account into your holiday savings account.

19. The Pantry Challenge

This is a spinoff of the no-spend challenge. In the pantry money savings challenge, you declare that you will not buy any new groceries or dine out until you have exhausted all meal possibilities with the food already in your pantry and refrigerator. Do you remember the reason you bought that bottle of fish sauce and that can of hearts of palm? Get ready to search some recipes that use these ingredients and any others you have on hand. You will save some money while you eat what you already have before spending any more money on groceries.

20. Switching Services Challenge

You could be missing out on discounts with your current service providers. Find out by calling at least one home or utility service account per month throughout the year and ask about their customer discounts. If you’ve been a loyal customer for some time, mention it to see if you can snag some savings off of your monthly bill. Call all of your service providers such as your cable company, electric company and cell phone service provider. If they can’t or won’t help you, switch to a different company that will.

Good To Know

By consistently tracking every penny you spend and eliminating unnecessary purchases, you can potentially save up to 80 percent of your income. Living on about 20% of what you take home can be a game-changer when you begin to see the things you can do with your increased savings.

Final Take

Having personal savings is important. The U.S. personal savings rate is the amount saved as a percentage of personal disposable income. It’s the percentage of Americans’ incomes left after paying for expenses and paying taxes. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis report in November 2021, the U.S. personal savings rate was only 6.9%–down 9.8% from August 2021.

It’s not always easy to save money. Often, it can seem impossible. There are many barriers to saving money. You may not have enough income, budgeting effectively can take months to perfect and external factors such as inflation or the global pandemic can put a wrench in the most well-thought-out savings plans. Living frugally coupled with some of the best money challenges can potentially set you up for financial success.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Kathy Evans is a personal finance freelance writer and entrepreneur with a technical writing and instructional systems design background. She holds an MS in technical writing and informational design and is currently a doctoral student in instructional technology at Towson University. Through work experience in the federal government as well as commercial and nonprofit industries, she has focused her freelance writing on finance, investing and economic content with a specialization in budget coaching.  
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