The end of the year is upon us. How much were you able to save the entire year? Your New Year’s resolution may have included saving a lot of money, but somehow, you couldn’t reach that goal.
We are often guilty of making resolutions that are too broad. Our inability to reach set goals can be attributed to a lack of understanding of how to make plans and achieve them. We often set vague goals without real progress markers. If we must achieve our goals, there is a need to set specific, realistic, achievable, and measurable ones.
Money-saving challenges are often associated with the new year. That doesn’t mean you can’t start your savings journey anytime. Just as we are about starting a new year, there are a lot of saving challenges stay-at-home moms can try so as to end the next year in a manner a lot different from this year.
Saving more and spending less are great habits to develop to improve personal finance. These saving challenges can help you get started. If you already have a savings plan working for you, you can also check to find other options that may suit you even better.
You can also decide to take up the challenge with a friend, which is a fun and effective way to help you develop your saving habits.
Here are some of the money challenges you can try.
1. The 52-Week Money Saving Challenge
This type of saving challenge is very popular, probably because of its simplicity. One nice attribute of this challenge is that it starts off easy and increases over time. It is a great way to save money for year-end expenses.
You save $1 in the first week, $2 in the next week, $3 in the third week and so on till you get to save $52 in the 52nd week. At the end of the challenge, you will have $1,378 saved!
2. The Reverse 52-Week Money Saving Challenge
Many people who find it difficult to save towards the end of the year may find the reverse 52-week challenge more convenient. In this challenge, you start by saving $52 in the first week, and keep decreasing the amount you save till you get to saving $1 in the 52nd week. You’ll still have the same $1,378 saved at the end of the year.
You’ll also have an advantage if you are putting your money in an account with high-interest rates because you’ll receive higher interest for building the account earlier.
3. The Double 52-Week Money Saving Challenge
You have an option to double your savings if you find the 52-week challenge too easy. You can try this option if you have more disposable income or have been saving for a while. This way, you get to save more.
In the first week, you double your savings to $2. In the second week, you get to save $4 and so on. What you do here is to simply double everything. You’ll save $104 in the 52nd week and by year-end, you would have saved a whopping $2,756!
4. The Mini 52-Week Saving Challenge
You can also try the mini 52-week money challenge if you find it difficult to keep up with the main version. If you have a small amount of disposable income or you are still struggling to build up your saving habit, this can be more convenient.
In the first week, you can save $0.50 instead of $1. You’ll save $1 in the second week and keep increasing by $0.50 each week. You’ll have a total of $689 by year-end, which isn’t too bad for people struggling to start their saving journey.
5. The Flexible 52-Week Saving Challenge
In this version, you have an option to save in a more flexible way. While it also involves 52 weeks, the difference lies in the fact that you can save any amount from $1 to $52 and still have $1,378 at the end. There is no particular order.
In the first week, you can save $15 and cross it off the list, then choose another amount to save the next week. This may be more realistic for some people – not to mention fun too!
6. The 12-Week Challenge
If you are trying to save for an upcoming trip or to build up an emergency fund, you may want to try the 12-week challenge. By the end of the 12 weeks, you will have saved $1,000 by saving a different amount each week ranging from $65 to $100.
7. The Penny Challenge
This is a year-round challenge where you get to save for 365 days. On the first day, you save $0.01 and you increased the amount by $0.01 every day. You’ll save $3.65 on the last day which will leave you with a total of $667.95 for the year.
You can also customize this challenge anyhow you like to suit you. It’s nice because it encourages you to save every day throughout the year.
8. The $1 per Day Challenge
You might want to increase the amount you save every day to $1. If you take up this challenge, by the end of the 365 days in the year, you would have saved $365. You can take up this challenge if you are planning for a trip, saving towards charity, or just wanting to get yourself a gift.
9. The Monthly Saving challenge
You might want to try the monthly challenge if the weekly and daily challenges do not suit you. Here, you’ll be saving a specific amount each month. The amount will increase and decrease throughout the challenge.
The amount to save goes up in increments of $25 every month. You save $25 in January and $50 in February, carrying on through June and July when you would have to save $150 each month, then keep decreasing by $25 till you get to $25 again in December.
10. The $5 Saving Challenge
In this challenge, you get to save your $5 bills all year round. You can save thousands of dollar amounts using this challenge. If you are going to do the $5 challenge, you’ll need to use only cash. That way, you’ll see the money you are saving.
11. The No-Spend Challenge
The no-spend challenge is done on a one-month basis but you can still do it all year round if you want. It may involve not spending on anything outside bare necessities.
You can make your no spending rule to suit you. There is no set amount to save. The goal is to cut as much spending as possible for the month.
12. The Spare Change Saving Challenge
If you use cash to make your purchases, you can save up your spare change/coins in a jar or piggy bank. This can add up very quickly or slowly, depending on how many purchases you make with cash.
13. The Bad Habit Jar Challenge
If you are making efforts to curb a habit, you can save alongside. You get to save money each time you find yourself going back to the habit. This challenge can help you set a concrete goal. Taxing yourself for the habits and saving along the way can help you become more disciplined.
By penalizing yourself each time, you can curb the habit and have some funds saved up to serve a particular purpose.
14. The Envelope Saving Challenge
If you want to try the envelope challenge instead of the shoebox or jar, you can mark each envelope with a series of numbers depending on the range you are comfortable with. It could be 1 to 25 or 1 to 150. What you do is fill the envelopes with the corresponding numbers marked on them. Number 25 will hold coins and bills totalling $25. If you take up the 1 through 25 challenge, you’ll get to save $325 at the end.
15. The Automatic Money Savings Challenge
This is a very simple and effective way to save money. All you need to do is automate transfers to your savings account. This way, your saving won’t be delayed since your bank will handle it for you when it’s time to make a deposit from your bank account into your savings account.
16. The Competitive Saving Challenge
The competitive saving challenge is a fun way to save along with friends or family. This is a good way to motivate yourself to save. You can compete to see who can save the most in a week or a month. However, this may be unfair to participants with less disposable income. You can try an alternative, which is to see who can spend less within the specified time.
You may want to make it all the more interesting by adding a prize for the winner, or merely save for bragging rights.
17. The Weather Saving Challenge
In the weather saving challenge, you save according to the weather. This is a way to add dynamic to your savings. For instance, you can decide to save $25 if it’s sunny outside and save $50 if it’s raining. Another good thing about this challenge is that you get to save something every day.
18. The Themed Saving Challenge
Saving isn’t so much fun, but you can decide to add some flavor to your saving challenges to spice it up. You may want to try out different challenges each month to get diverse experiences.
How about trying a “No chocolate February” or a “No spend November” or a “Pack a lunch January”? Sounds like fun, right? The difficulty in the challenge will depend on the theme you choose for the month.
19. Homemade Food Challenge
If you want to improve your cooking skills, you should try this challenge. Instead of spending on food and deliveries, you get to prepare your meals from what you have inside your fridge.
You can make it more fun by taking up this challenge with your kids. You’ll improve your cooking skills, have fun with the kids and still save.
20. No Entertainment Money Challenge
As a stay-at-home mom, you may be tempted to spend so much on entertainment. People spend a lot on entertainment to curb the boredom. You can cut this down and save while you’re at it. You can save instead and find other ways to have fun without spending money.
Whichever challenge you decide to take up, make sure to have a positive mindset. Remove doubts, tell yourself that you will complete the challenge and stick with it. Remember that consistency is the key to making the most out of any challenge you commit to.
Also, be realistic when picking a challenge. It’s okay to start small and increase over time. Every challenge has its difficulty. Choose one that fits you financially.
To ensure you don’t spend the money you save, put it in a savings account away from you, since out of sight is out of mind. You can try taking up another challenge after completing one.
Cut your daily expenses to free up money for the challenge you choose.
Bonus Tips To Help You Cut Your Expenses And Free Up Money For Your Savings
Set A Money Goal
Decide on the amount of money you want to save up. Decide what you are saving money for. Is there something you want to achieve with your savings? You should consider that before saving. It will help you decide how much to save each week or month and the period of time you would need to save so as to get what you want by the time you want it – for instance, end of the year or Christmas expenses.
Your savings goals should be SMART, which means, specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-oriented. That will increase your chances of reaching them. You’ll keep struggling to keep up with your saving challenge or achieve your financial goals if you set overly broad, aimless, or vague goals like “I want to have a lot of money” without being specific, for instance, “I want to save $500 this month.”
Find Better Deals For Bills You Can’t Avoid
Some of the bills you pay are quite negotiable so instead of completely leaving out the things you love to afford these bills, try negotiating for lesser rates.
You can negotiate your car insurance, credit card interest, cell phone and bank fees. All you need to do is call these companies and ask about how to lower your rates. They’ll elect to offer you a less expensive deal than lose you entirely as a customer.
Use Cash For Your Purchases
It is a lot easier to spend a lot of money when you are just swiping cards than when paying with cash. Seeing your money go away physically has more impact on your spending habits than otherwise.
You can cut the amount you spend on shopping if you decide how much you want to spend and carry only the specific amount to the store. That way, you get to chuck the habit of throwing more items into your shopping cart than you intended. You’ll get to cut spending and retain more money to save.
Stretch Your Dollars
There is a strategy you can adopt to make the most of your money. To do this, choose one area you always spend on, whether be groceries or clothes, etc. What you have to do is to challenge yourself to spend less than you would normally spend in that specific area. For instance, if you always spend $100 on groceries every week, try to cut off $25 and save. If you were successful, try going lower the next time. This will help you get smarter at spending and will also help you with your savings journey.
Prepare Your Meals At Home
The amount of money you spend on eating out can add up really quickly as it is often easy to spend on food with the excuse of needing it to survive. Convenience food also costs about twice the amount you can use to get your meals prepared at home.
If you are looking for a way to save some money, then cook more of your meals. Homemade meals are also healthier than typical restaurant meals.
Trim Off One Expense At A Time
Cutting expenses that are not all that important can help you save money. Also, check your credit card statement for memberships you are not utilizing currently and cancel them till you are ready to use them.
Go To The Grocery Store With A Shopping List
Impulse buying can drain your finances if you do not keep it in check. You can reduce the amount you spend at the store if you go with a list. The list will help you stay within your budget and not overspend.
Learn Basic Skills To Use In The Home
You don’t need to hire a professional to do everything for you. You can handle some jobs yourself to cut costs. If you learn some skills, like how to sew your clothes and that of your kids, how to mend a hem, sew on a button or fix a seam, how to dye your hair, do your manicure and pedicure, and even cut your child’s hair.
Check Your Habits
Consider dropping some of your habits that make you spend so much. The cost of keeping habits like shopping, gambling, smoking, drinking, etc, can affect your finances over time. Try to drop some of these habits and pick up one that you don’t have to spend on. This will go a long way in cutting down your expenses.
Pick Up A Side Hustle To Earn Money
You can earn more money while staying at home if you can put in a few hours of work every day (depending on your schedule). There are various categories of jobs you can do from home. You can try freelance writings such as creating blog content, newsletters, email marketing campaigns, or website content writing. Freelance writing is a great choice of job for stay-at-home moms. You can use your skills and experience to carve a niche for yourself.
You may also want to own your own blog. Blogging is one of the best jobs for stay-at-home moms today. It gives you the opportunity to turn your passions into sources of income. You also get to control the kind of content you create and how much work you do. You’ll also have to promote your blog and deal with the online business side of it.
You can also create and sell your own ebooks. List your ebooks on places such as Amazon and earn extra cash. You won’t have to worry about storage and overhead costs as you would with real books.
You may also want to consider providing childcare for other working parents. If you think you are capable of taking care of another child in addition to yours, you can become a childcare provider or babysitter for parents who are looking for help during random times so they can go out or work.
Also, you may want to try consulting, virtual assisting, telemarketing and sales, becoming an online teacher or social media manager, among others. Find out what you can do and start working according to your schedule.
With the tips provided here, you’ll find some avoidable expenses to cut and income streams to generate so you’ll have some money set aside for your savings.
As the year gradually comes to an end, this might be just about the right time to make up your mind about which money-saving challenge you would like to try next year. You can also try a combination of challenges you find suitable. The goal is to be able to take care of upcoming expenses or attain financial freedom. Every challenge comes with its difficulties. However, stay consistent – you got this!