Every year, families set goals to save more and/or pay off debt. However, they never see their accounts grow or debts decrease. Money management has become a common issue as credit cards are economically “necessary” and the rising cost of higher education places millennials in historical amounts of debt before entering the workforce – and we cannot overlook the corrupt concepts of the American Dream. Consumerism tells us there’s something better than what’s in our hands, so we constantly seek the latest and greatest. However, if we move past the gloom and doom of our financial status and develop better self discipline, we can work toward financial stability in 2019.
In order to reach the stability needed for a responsible lifestyle, a budget must be in place. A budget doesn’t define what’s spent and saved, it sets boundaries around where money goes. If you’re not mindful of where your money is going, then moving forward with a saving challenge will not be easy. But we all have to start somewhere and even a little toward your goal makes a difference over time. Some of the challenges below are for saving large amounts over one year, but you can adjust these to fit your income and goals.
This first challenge is simple: take the first 10% of your paycheck (before you spend it) and put it in your savings. It’s similar to setting money aside for a bill. When you know every month, $400 is going toward a bill, taking it out isn’t so hard. That same mindset will make this 10% challenge easy. Whether it’s a lot or a little, this trick will save you a lot down the road. This is also the same principle for tithing, so if you already tithe and are wanting to grow your savings, don’t put your money to the church on hold. Create a balanced budget allowing you to deposit 10% to your savings and another 10% to your church.
Whether you have big plans for your savings or are looking for a more structured plan, this challenge will help you reach your goals. For this, you’ll deposit an amount into your account that corresponds to the week of the year. For example: on week one, you’ll deposit $1; on week 28, you’ll deposit $28; and week 52, you’ll deposit $52. Stay on track with this and you’ll save around $3,700! You can also adapt this to your budget and add any additional cash you have to save even more. Click here for variations of the 52-Week Challenge.
Save the Change
We all hate coins. They usually clutter up your center console or the bottom of your bag – maybe even the couch cushions. But instead of allowing them to take up space, put them to use. Every time you find change, put it in a jar. Even pick up those pennies in the parking lot. This is a great way to save when you don’t want to think too much about what’s coming out of your checking account. And you’ll have a fun surprise at the end of the year with little to no work involved. But maybe this challenge isn’t for you. If you’re looking for easy ways to challenge your kids savings account, try saving the change.
A great way to keep saving as fun as possible is to mix up monthly challenges. There are numerous plans, from saving $20/week for one month or doing a 30-day version of the 52-week challenge. However you choose to save, there are ways to make each challenge unique to you and your budget. There are even DIY crafts to involve the whole family on your savings journey. Click here to discover savings plans and crafts.
6 Months of No Spending
This is not for the faint of heart, but your life will change after six months. Of course you’ll have some spending for food, house, car, etc., but you’ll tighten the reins on all other spending. If you don’t need, don’t buy it. This means no clothes, spa trips, eating out (unless there’s an occasion), or anything else you can think of. Some people have done this challenge for a year, and you may find yourself completing the year challenge after six months, but it takes a lot of self discipline and the ability to see the big picture.
Whether you intend to start a challenge or not, hopefully these options help you see the many ways to save. Traditionally, people simply put every extra dime into a jar or savings account, but there are ways to challenge yourself and see what you’re capable of.
If you have attempted any of these listed or plan to, let us know in the comments below!