Money-Saving Challenges: 25 To Try in 2023

A man holds a pink piggy bank while a woman places a coin inside.
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Saving money is something everyone knows they should be doing, but it may be difficult to put what you know into practice. There are online challenges geared toward everything from fun to education. So why not try a money-saving challenge?

Money-Saving Challenges To Try in 2023

Sometimes it takes the structure of a challenge to really stick to your goal of how much money you can stow away. Here are some that can help build your financial stability. 

  1. Save the change challenge
  2. The $5 challenge
  3. Trim $1 of your salary challenge
  4. Stackpoly savings game
  5. Quarter collection challenge
  6. Birthday money challenge
  7. The 52-week challenge
  8. The 26-week challenge
  9. The $2,023 in 2023 challenge
  10. Bowl-grab challenge
  11. The 30-day savings sprint
  12. Restricted shopping list challenge
  13. The change your grocery store challenge
  14. The pantry challenge
  15. Generic brands only challenge
  16. Meatless Mondays challenge
  17. No-spend challenge
  18. Kick a bad habit challenge
  19. No eating out for a month challenge
  20. Switching services challenge
  21. DIY coffee challenge
  22. Public transportation challenge
  23. Entertainment budget challenge
  24. Utility usage reduction challenge
  25. Online shopping freeze challenge

Setting Money Aside

The most straightforward way to add to your savings is to simply set money aside. Here are challenges specifically designed to help you set that money aside instead of spending it.

1. Save the Change Challenge

Every time you make a purchase, put the change aside for savings. In particular, save any amount of change that’s under $5.

2. The $5 Challenge

Save every $5 bill you receive in change. You can choose to set aside other bills too, depending on your finances and how fast you want to build up your savings.

3. Trim 1% of Your Salary Challenge

Calculate 1% of your salary. If you earn $100,000 per year, 1% is $1,000 per year. Now figure out ways to trim your expenses and invest 1% of your salary into your savings each year.

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4. Stackopoly Savings Game

With the Stackopoly savings game, roll the dice each day and move your player the number of spaces on the dice. Save the amount of money printed on the space you land on to make saving fun.

You can also create your own game by modifying an existing game or creating a new board if you’d rather not spend the $3 downloading Stackopoly.

5. Quarter Collection Challenge

Collect every quarter you receive as change. This smaller denomination can add up over time, making it a simple yet effective way to save.

6. Birthday Money Challenge

Set aside any money you receive as gifts for birthdays or special occasions throughout the year.

Timed Challenges

Having a deadline can help you keep saving in mind. These next challenges are paced over different time periods.

7. The 52-Week Challenge

Start this annual savings challenge by saving $1 on your first week. Increase the amount of money you save each week by $1 — so the second week, you’ll save $2, then $3 and continue for a full year. The final week of the year, you’ll add $52 to your savings. You’ll save $1,378 per year when you stick to the 52-week challenge.

8. The 26-Week Challenge

Start by saving $3 on week one. Then, add $3 per week to your savings goal. That’s $6 in week two, $9 in week three and so on. At the end of 26 weeks, you will have saved $1,053.

9. The $2,023 in 2023 Challenge

Clark.com developed the $2,023 in 2023 challenge. A huge plus of this challenge is that the saving amounts fluctuate so you can decide what you put away and when, as long as you get to the total. If you’re having a week that’s hard on your budget, you can save a little less and make it up next week without feeling like you’re missing your goal.

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10. Bowl-Grab Challenge

Write denominations of money such as $1, $5 and $10 on slips of paper and place the slips in the bowl. Grab a slip of paper out of the bowl every day, and save the amount of money on the slip for a predetermined number of days. If the challenge works well for you, it’s easy to fill the bowl back up and keep going. 

11. The 30-Day Savings Sprint

For 30 days, save a set amount daily. This could be as little as $1 a day or more, depending on your financial goal.

Grocery Challenges

Reducing your spending money can be hard, so these challenges focus on reducing the amount you need to spend on groceries. By saving money on something you consume every day, you may be surprised at how quickly these challenges can pile up your savings.

12. Restricted Shopping List Challenge

Restrict your shopping list so you’re only purchasing food in bulk. Moreover, if you have the ability to grow food, grow your own and save at the grocery store, further restricting your shopping list and saving you money.

However, it’s important to be realistic with this challenge and don’t buy more at a time than you can reasonably eat before it goes bad.

13. The Change Your Grocery Store Challenge

Stop shopping at high-priced grocery stores. Instead, take your shopping list to the nearest discount grocery store and apply your grocery savings to your savings account.

14. The Pantry Challenge

Instead of grocery shopping, look in your pantry and get creative to make meals out of what you already have. This helps you clear your pantry, stop wasting food and save money at the same time.

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15. Generic Brands Only Challenge

For a month, buy only generic or store-brand items at the grocery store. Compare the savings to your usual brand-name purchases.

16. Meatless Mondays Challenge

Every Monday, go meatless for your meals. This not only saves money but can also promote healthier eating habits.

Changing Your Habits

It’s not just groceries that you can save on by changing your shopping habits. These challenges can not only save your budget but also help you form healthier habits.

17. No-Spend Challenge

The no-spend challenge helps you save by guiding you to only spend money on essential items. The traditional challenge lasts for 30 days, but you can adjust this time frame to make it more comfortable to accomplish. 

18. The Kick a Bad Habit Challenge

Pick an expensive habit you have to kick and put the money you save into your savings account. You can save a significant amount of money when you quit smoking, drinking sugary drinks or buying coffee every day. 

19. No Eating Out for a Month Challenge

A significant portion of people’s food budget often goes towards eating out. By choosing to eat at home for a month, you can quickly accumulate savings and give your savings account a healthy boost.

20. Switching Services Challenge

Each month, call at least one utility service provider that you’re currently not using to find out if they can offer a better deal than your current utility service provider. If so, switch your services and transfer the savings to your savings account each time you pay the bill.

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If you don’t find savings with another provider, or there’s only one provider for the service in your area, you can also call your existing utility provider to see if they have any deals or discounts to offer.

21. DIY Coffee Challenge

Replace buying coffee from cafes with homemade coffee for a month. Calculate your savings at the end of the challenge.

22. Public Transportation Challenge

Use public transportation instead of personal vehicles or rideshare services for a set period, like a month, to save on travel costs.

Mindful Spending

Mindful spending is all about being more intentional with your finances. These challenges encourage you to think carefully about your everyday expenditures and find creative ways to reduce unnecessary spending, helping you save money and cultivate more conscious spending habits.

23. Entertainment Budget Challenge

Set a strict budget for entertainment each month. This includes movies, outings and other leisure activities.

24. Utility Usage Reduction Challenge

Aim to reduce your utility bills by a certain percentage through mindful usage of electricity, water and gas.

25. Online Shopping Freeze Challenge

For a set period, such as a month, avoid all non-essential online shopping. Track how much you save by not giving in to impulse buys.

Final Take

Saving money can be fun when you challenge yourself to do so. Take part in the money-saving challenges above to bolster your savings account.

FAQ

Find the answers to the most common questions about saving money below.
  • What are savings challenges?
    • Savings challenges are challenges with specific rules designed to help you save money.
  • What is the $5 savings challenge?
    • The $5 savings challenge is when you save every $5 bill you receive in change. You can choose to set aside other bills too, depending on your finances and how fast you want to build up your savings.
  • What is the 12-month money challenge?
    • The 12-month challenge is synonymous with the 52-week challenge and this is where you start an annual savings challenge by saving $1 on your first week. Increase the amount of money you save each week by $1 -- the second week, you'll save $2, then $3 and continue for a full year. The final week of the year, you'll add $52 to your savings. You'll save $1,378 per year when you stick to the 52-week challenge.
  • What is the 26-week money challenge?
    • The 26-week challenge is where you start by saving $3 on week one. Then, add $3 per week to your savings goal. That's $6 in week two, $9 in week three and so on. At the end of 26 weeks, you will have saved $1,053.
  • What are the potential obstacles in saving money?
    • The main obstacles in saving money often include:
      • Inconsistent income
      • High living expenses
      • Lack of budgeting
      • Impulsive spending habits
      • Financial emergencies
    • Psychological factors, such as a lack of financial discipline or the influence of social media and advertising, can also make it difficult to save. Additionally, debt repayment and low financial literacy can hinder one's ability to set aside savings effectively.
  • How can you save $5,000 in three months?
    • To save $5,000 in 3 months, you need to save approximately $1,667 per month. This challenge requires a detailed budget plan and possibly significant lifestyle changes. It involves identifying and cutting unnecessary expenses, increasing income through additional work or side hustles and strictly adhering to a savings plan. Consider automating savings, reducing discretionary spending and potentially downsizing major expenses like housing or transportation.
  • Why is it challenging to save money?
    • Saving money can be challenging due to several factors. These include fluctuating income levels, high living costs, existing debt and unexpected expenses. Psychological factors like instant gratification, peer pressure to spend and a lack of financial education also play significant roles. Additionally, in today's consumer-driven society, constant exposure to marketing and the temptation to keep up with social trends can make it difficult to prioritize saving over spending.
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Caitlyn Moorhead contributed to the reporting for this article.

The article above was refined via automated technology and then fine-tuned and verified for accuracy by a member of our editorial team.

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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