5 Savings Challenges To Help Boost Your Savings In The New Year (2024)

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Saving money can be so hard sometimes. Hard to save yet so, so easy to spend.

Remember when you were a child, or if you’re a parent, think of your own children – turning something that seems otherwise boring into a game is always a fun way to motivate them, right?

Even as adults, we are motivated by challenges or competitions, which is why money saving challenges are a great way to motivate yourself to save money and work toward reaching your financial goals.

Set Yourself up for Saving Success

Sure, participating in a fun money saving challenge is a great way to disrupt your regular saving patterns (or lack thereof) and trick your mind into saving more money this year. It’s also a great way to kick off any money-related new year’s resolutions or treat yourself to a fresh start after your financial world was rocked by a bunch of unexpected expenses.

And at the most basic level, a money saving challenge is a financial tool to help you change your spending and saving habits. But in order to ensure you’re able to make the most of this tool, some light preparation is recommended.

A few easy ways to prime your saving challenge for success are to:

1) Invite a friend or family member to join you. Not only will you compete against yourself, but adding an extra layer of ‘friendly competition’ never hurts anyone. Plus, having someone you trust to compare notes with along the way never sucks.

2) Prefer to go it alone? No problem, but consider finding an accountability partner to bring on board. This person does not have to participate in the challenge themself, but rather be a sounding board or hype man to cheer you up if you find yourself struggling along the way.

3) Make it time-bound. Many of these money saving challenges have a set period of time built into the challenge. However, for those that don’t, pre-determine how long you will take to complete the challenge before you begin. Working toward achieving a goal with no clear set period of time or end date in mind can make it difficult to stay on task.

4) If you haven’t already, create a monthly budget. Learning how to budget will help you get a better understanding of how much money you’ll be capable of saving each month.

Money Saving Challenges You’ll Love

5 Savings Challenges To Help Boost Your Savings In The New Year (1)

These seven saving challenges are perfect whether you’re a struggling saver or a seasoned pro. Try one or try ’em all and see how much money you can save.

1. Five Dollar Bill Savings Challenge

Also known as: $1 Bill Save Challenge

This challenge is pretty self-explanatory and can be easily tailored to your preferences. Every time you receive a five-dollar bill, you save it…easy peasy.

This can be a five-dollar bill you receive as a gift, change from a purchase, or cash you receive from your bank or credit union. Any five-dollar bill that passes through your hands goes into your piggy bank, or better yet, deposited into a high-yield savings account so it can earn interest.

Creative Ways To Modify This Challenge

It’s worth mentioning if you’re on a super-tight budget, this challenge might not be the best place to start. Missing out on five dollars (or more if you get multiple bills) could serve to put a decent dent in your disposable income each month.

There are a few different ways you can modify this challenge to fit your specific financial situation by switching up the dollar amount.

If you’re struggling financially, try saving your one-dollar bills instead. This will have less of an impact on your monthly budget while still allowing you to begin saving.

Conversely, if your finances are solid and you want to up the ante, consider saving your ten-dollar bills or even twenties.

2. Monthly Saving Challenge

Also known as: 12-Month Savings Challenge, Monthly Money Challenge

This money saving challenge is simple, easily customizable, and the best way to save a set amount of money over the course of a year. This challenge is perfect if you typically struggle with money-related new year’s resolutions, as you can start at the beginning of the year and save throughout the entire year.

However, don’t let a specific start date stand in your way, as any month of the year is a good time to save money. Simply determine your long-term goal, or the total amount of money you want to save during this challenge. Divide that amount by 12 to get your monthly savings amount. Save that specific amount each month, and by the year’s end, you’ll have conquered this challenge.

3. Weekly Saving Challenge

Also known as: 52-Week Challenge, 52-Week Money Challenge, 52-Week Savings Challenge

The weekly saving challenge is a helpful way to save a substantial chunk of money without affecting your budget in an extreme way.

This challenge is a great method to force yourself to save throughout the year and dedicate this money to a specific sinking fund at the end of the year. If you celebrate the Christmas holiday, this is an effective way to plan for the holidays and experience a debt-free Christmas.

The catch is that in the last quarter of the year, you’re saving the bulk of the money for this challenge, which can be difficult for many.If this sounds overwhelming, the next challenge may be a better fit for you.

In this challenge, you will save a small amount of money each week, equal to the week of the year. For example, for the first week, you will save $1. In the second week, you will save $2. The third week, $3, and so on.

The final week of this challenge calls for you to save $52, as there are 52 weeks in the year. At the end of the challenge, you will have saved $1,378!

4. Reverse Weekly Saving Challenge

Also known as: Backward Weekly Saving Challenge, 52-Week Money Challenge Backward, 52-Week Savings Challenge Backward

This is technically the same challenge as number three, but you’re going to flip the script and complete it backward or in reverse. This version is awesome because it lets you get the big numbers out of the way early in the year and relieve your budget come year-end and, more importantly, the holiday season.

Not only will you not be stuck trying to scrounge up extra money for the weekly savings at the peak of the Christmas shopping season, but you will still have saved up $1,378 at the end of the year for your holiday budget. Win-win.

With the reverse weekly saving challenge, you will save $52 in the first week. Save $51 the next week and continue to follow suit, counting down to $1 in the final week of the year.

5. Envelope Challenge

Also known as: 100 Envelope Challenge

Technically this is a 100 day challenge that requires 100 envelopes. However, this is another challenge you can easily modify to fit any set amount of time you prefer.

Take any number of envelopes and number the front of each envelope. If you choose to participate for 100 days, you’ll number each envelope, beginning with number one and going to 100.

On the first day, pick any envelope at random, and whichever number is marked on the front of the envelope is the amount of money you’ll place inside the envelope to save.

For example, if you choose envelope #58 on the first day, you’ll place $58 inside the envelope. Suppose you choose envelope #16 on the second day. Save $16 in the envelope. On day 100, you will have $5,050 saved in cash.

If the thought of keeping this much cash around makes you uncomfortable, opt to deposit or transfer the amount from your checking account to a savings account instead.

6. Spending Freeze Challenge

Also known as: No Spend Challenge

A spending freeze is not only an excellent way to save money, but it will also force you to cut back on unnecessary spending at the same time. Prior to beginning a spending freeze, it’s important to choose the duration of the challenge and set the ground rules on when you can and cannot spend.

A spending freeze does not have any specific guidelines, so you can execute it however you see fit. But, once you set the rules, be sure to abide by them. You will need to spend money to pay your fixed expenses, of course; however, you’ll need to decide what type of discretionary spending, if any, is allowed during your freeze.

Discretionary spending is typically categorized as unnecessary spending. Things like trips to your favorite coffee shop, impulse purchases, or extra subscription services. At the end of your spending freeze, try to refrain from purchasing everything you wanted during the freeze.

7. Spare Change Saving Challenge

Also known as: Round-Up Saving Challenge

If you already save your spare change, this will be an easy challenge for you. But participating in this challenge with intention will help you find even more change to add to the pot.

Find yourself a cool change jar and keep it in a convenient place where you can drop your change each time you return home from making a purchase; that way, you’ll be sure to save it and avoid tossing it in a junk drawer, never to be seen again.

If you’d rather go digital, the Acorns app will round your purchase to the nearest dollar and invest it for you!

8. Starter Emergency Fund Challenge

Also known as: $1,000 in 3 Months Challenge, 3-Month Saving Challenge

This is an awesome challenge to try if you’re working to build up a starter emergency fund. An emergency fund of 3-6 months of living expenses is essential for financial security, but it’s a good idea to pay off debt you may have before putting that much money aside.

A starter emergency fund, however, is usually around $1,000 set aside for emergencies that pop up while you’re working to improve your finances.

This savings challenge is a great way to get your starter emergency fund established in only three months. You can save this daily, weekly, or monthly. Weekly would be $77/week, daily would be about $11/day, or monthly would be $333/month.

This challenge requires you to save a substantial amount of money in a short amount of time, but having a very specific endgame in mind, i.e., funding your starter emergency fund, can be an incredible motivator.

Not all, of course, but many emergencies we incur can be covered by $1,000.A sick pet (or kid), a flat tire, a broken dishwasher, and most of the annoying little things that pop up can be handled with your starter emergency fund, so this challenge will really put you in a good position to start the new year.

9. Pantry Challenge

Also known as: Eat at Home Challenge, Cook at Home Challenge, No Dining Out Challenge, No Eating Out Challenge

While grocery bills have been through the roof recently, you will still save a lot of money by cooking at home and avoiding eating at restaurants or ordering takeout.

A pantry challenge forces you to cook at home and takes it a step further by requiring you to use the ingredients you already have on hand to feed your family.

Most people opt to visit the grocery store one time per week to purchase fresh produce, milk, and eggs. Others purchase nothing throughout the challenge. The specific dietary needs of your family will shape this challenge.

In all scenarios, the point is to significantly slash your food costs and use up all the food you likely have in your cabinets, pantry, and refrigerator.

What is the Best Money Saving Challenge?

5 Savings Challenges To Help Boost Your Savings In The New Year (2)

The best money saving challenge is simply the one you will stick with. Of course, if a specific challenge causes you to save a larger amount of cash than another, one could argue it may be a “better” challenge. But if you give up after the first week, is it truly better?

No one challenge is the best. Any challenge – or other motivating factors, for that matter –is a great option if it helps you cultivate a habit of consistent saving.

Think outside the box with these challenges. Cut costs by meal planning each monthor find a side hustle you love, like proofreading from home, to bring in some extra cash you can save.

Regardless of which savings challenge you (or try them all), the point is that you are creating a habit of paying yourself first by saving consistently each day, week, or month. Neglecting to save a portion of your income can set you back years on your journey to financial freedom!

More From Cents + Purpose

Kristin Stones


Kristin Stones is the owner of Cents + Purpose, an online community dedicated to sharing practical personal finance content. Her mission is to equip women with the necessary tools and knowledge to take back control of their money and live a more purposeful life. She creates actionable content to help her audience achieve financial wellness using her simple approach to managing money - all learned through her personal experience of paying off almost $55,000 of debt in under two years.

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5 Savings Challenges To Help Boost Your Savings In The New Year (2024)


What is the 5 savings challenge? ›

The fiver challenge - save £7,000

This challenge works the same as the 52 week challenge, but you go up in multiples of £5 rather than £1. So week one = £5, week two = £10, all the way up to week 52 at £260. Alternatively, if you're not in the position to save these larger amounts, you could save £5 every week instead.

What are the 5 steps in savings? ›

These five tips will help you reach those bigger goals, one step at a time.
  • Set one specific goal. Rather than socking away money into a savings account, set specific goals for your savings. ...
  • Budget for savings. ...
  • Make saving automatic. ...
  • Keep separate accounts. ...
  • Monitor & watch it grow.

What is the saving challenge for the year? ›

Match each week's savings amount with the number of the week in your challenge. In other words, you'll save $1 the first week, $2 the second week, $3 the third week, and so on until you put away $52 in week 52.

What are some challenges to saving? ›

7 barriers that keep us from saving money (and how to knock them down)
  • Spending too much on housing.
  • No defined budget.
  • The “I'll save when I make more money” mindset.
  • Lack of measurable savings goals.
  • Student loan payments.
  • Your comfort zone.
  • Overusing credit cards.

What's the $5 challenge? ›

Save Every $5 Bill Challenge

If you are a cash user, then this is one of the easiest ways to save money. You simply save every single $5 bill you get. So, whenever you get change you will be hoarding those $5 bills like a chipmunk collecting nuts for winter.

Is there a 5 savings account? ›

In fact, 5% savings accounts are now available at numerous financial institutions.

What is the 5 rule in money? ›

How about this instead—the 50/15/5 rule? It's our simple guideline for saving and spending: Aim to allocate no more than 50% of take-home pay to essential expenses, save 15% of pretax income for retirement savings, and keep 5% of take-home pay for short-term savings.

What are 6 ways to save? ›

Here are some tips for getting into the habit of saving.
  • Set goals. Set savings goals that motivate you, like saving up for a house or going on a dream vacation, and give yourself timelines for reaching them.
  • Budget. ...
  • Cut down on spending. ...
  • Automate your savings. ...
  • Pay off debt. ...
  • Earn more.
Feb 14, 2024

What is the 7 rule for savings? ›

The seven percent savings rule provides a simple yet powerful guideline—save seven percent of your gross income before any taxes or other deductions come out of your paycheck. Saving at this level can help you make continuous progress towards your financial goals through the inevitable ups and downs of life.

How much is $1 dollar a day for a year? ›

If you saved $1 a day for a year, do you know how much money you'd have? Roughly $30,000. This is totally 100% true.

How much is $1 a week for a year? ›

The 52-week money challenge is a savings method where you increase the amount you save by $1 every week for a year. So, you'll deposit $1 into your savings account during Week One, $2 during Week Two, and so on, until you reach Week 52 and deposit $52. Your total savings over the 52 weeks should total to $1,378.

What is the 1 to 100 saving challenge? ›

The 100-envelope challenge is pretty straightforward: You take 100 envelopes, number each of them and then save the corresponding dollar amount in each envelope. For instance, you put $1 in “Envelope 1,” $2 in “Envelope 2,” and so on. By the end of 100 days, you'll have saved $5,050.

How do you make a saving challenge? ›

Start with a small amount you're comfortable with and add to it weekly. For example, if you started by setting aside $1 the first week and then adding an extra dollar per week (so you set aside $2 the next week, then $3, then $4 and so on), you'd save $1,378 after 52 weeks. Just remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

Why do people struggle to save? ›

Financial illiteracy is one of the biggest reasons people have difficulty saving or investing money. Many people don't understand how to save or budget their money, which causes them to spend more than they earn. Ignorance can also lead them to make bad financial decisions that can further hurt their ability to save.

What is the most challenging part of saving 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. ... – Waiting to make more money before they start to save. ...

How to Save $5000 in 3 months challenge? ›

It works like this: Gather 100 envelopes and number them from 1 to 100. Each day, fill up one envelope with the amount of cash corresponding to the number on the envelope. You can fill up the envelopes in order or pick them at random. After you've filled up all the envelopes, you'll have a total savings of $5,050.

How can I save $5000 with the 52-week money challenge? ›

Here are a few more ways to save $5,000 by the end of 2023:
  1. Save $96.16 every week.
  2. Save $192.31 every two weeks.
  3. Save $416.67 every month.
  4. Save $1,250 every quarter.
  5. Save $2,500 every six months.
Jan 5, 2023

How much does the 52 week savings challenge save? ›

There are no complicated rules to remember. Week 1, you save $1.00. Week 2 you save $2.00, and it continues through the year, adding one more dollar to each week's savings goal. By Week 52, you'll set aside $52.00, which will bring the year's total savings to $1,378!

How much money is the 52 week challenge? ›

You'll end the challenge with over $1,300 saved If you successfully complete the 52-week money challenge, you'll have $1,378 set aside. You may have that earmarked for a specific financial goal —or you may choose to put it in a high-yield savings account as the start of emergency savings, if you don't already have one.

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