Do you need easy money challenges to help you to save money and get your finances in order? While it’s true that you shouldn’t expect a money challenge to solve all of your financial issues, the discipline of these challenges and the creative thinking involved can help you to think differently about your spending habits.
Breaking the old bad habits of the past is key to establishing new, healthier spending choices for the future. Here are three easy money challenges that can help you get started.
Weather Savings Challenge
The Weather Savings Challenge is a fun way to introduce a random element to your saving plan. Many believe in the power of chaos theory, and while that’s not exactly what we’re discussing here, a bit of chance in the effort helps keep things from getting boring. How does this money challenge game work?
Pick a weather condition–the anticipated daily high or daily low temperature, for example. You can pledge to yourself to put a certain amount of money in savings every time the temperature hits or exceeds the daily high or goes down to the predicted low or below.
Playing this money-saving challenge requires a bit of forethought–don’t use temperature changes if you live in a zone where the temps rarely move out of a certain range seasonally–you can always base your saving around a different weather phenomenon such as an inch of rain in a day, the appearance of snow, etc.
Making this challenge work means being diligent about checking the weather and making your deposits–build this into your daily routine to make it stick.
Expense Tracking Challenge
This easy money challenge is more about raising the awareness of where your hard-earned dollars are spent, and how frequently rather than saving money. The awareness factor can be just as valuable as saving money itself, so if your goal is to get your finances in order, this one’s well worth a look.
The idea behind this challenge is to find an app like Mint, Abacus, or Simplifi by Quicken and use the app to watch every cent you spend. This will give you a very detailed look at your strengths and spending weaknesses. How much do you really spend at Starbucks in a month? This challenge will help you determine that and whether or not you want to maintain such habits in the future.
Spare Change Challenge
This challenge is a long-term savings game–you basically commit to putting all your spare change into a jar and seeing how it builds up for an entire year.
You can also do a digital version of this challenge that has you downloading a savings app that can shave off the equivalent of spare change from your account and set that “change” aside in a savings account for a full year. This kind of money challenge doesn’t sound like much at first, but those who see it through to the end are often surprised at just how much money is saved by doing so. This is a good one to try if you’ve never done these challenges before.
Joe Wallace specializes in personal finance, military affairs, and consumer protection topics. Since 1995, his work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and collects unusual vinyl records, which gives him an excuse to write the vinyl blog Turntabling.net.