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Best Money-Saving Challenges To Try in 2023

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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?

Read: 3 Easy Tips to Turn Your Credit Woes into Wows

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. The 52-week challenge
  6. The 26-week challenge
  7. The $2,023 in 2023 challenge
  8. Bowl-grab challenge
  9. Restricted shopping list challenge
  10. The change your grocery store challenge
  11. The pantry challenge
  12. No-spend challenge
  13. Kick a bad habit challenge
  14. No eating out for a month challenge
  15. Switching services 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.

Make Your Money Work for You

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.

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.

Timed Challenges

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

Make Your Money Work for You

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. 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. 

Make Your Money Work for You

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 three challenges can pile up your savings.

9. 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

Make Your Money Work for You

Changing Your Habits

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

12. 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. 

13. 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. 

14. No Eating Out for a Month Challenge

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans spent about one-third of their food money on eating out in 2021. That adds up fast. Save the money for a month and bolster your savings account by eating at home. 

15. 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.

Make Your Money Work for You

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.

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 and start 2023 with a nice cushion.

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 three challenges people face when trying to save money?
    • Some of the biggest challenges people face when it comes to saving money are:
    • Spending too much on housing. If you rent and you're struggling to keep up with bills, it may be worth looking into renting in a less expensive area. And a realistic budget is an important part of buying a house, no matter how tempting it is to overspend.
    • Failing to create and follow a budget. Making a budget can be tedious and confusing, but it's worth it to keep track of your expenditures and figure out where you can cut back.
    • Waiting to make more money before they start to save. Even if you can only save a little right now, it's important to start. You might be surprised at how fast your savings add up.

Caitlyn Moorhead contributed to the reporting for this article.