Latest posts by R.J. Weiss, CFP® (see all)
The idea with a challenge is to break your current habits.
This is true for popular fitness challenges, think Whole30/P90X, as well as money challenges.
The right challenge can help you breakthrough to a new level. Once completed–that new level becomes the new normal and you’re forever better off.
Where should you start?
Try one of these 9 money challenges.
9 Money Saving Challenges
# 1 – The Save $500/Make $500 A Month Challenge
How It Works: The goal is simple. You want to make $500 more in a month. Then, save $500 more. The end result is an increase in net worth by $1,000.
Free Resource: The 30 Day Challenge: Increase Your Net Worth By $1,000
# 2 – The 6 Months to 50% Challenge
How It Works: Your goal is to get to a 50% savings rate inside of six-months. This is a great challenge for someone who hasn’t yet established a 3-month emergency fund. It takes work and you’ll have to make some big changes but it’s possible.
# 3 – One Survey A Day
How It Works: Paid online surveys are a great way to make a little side income. While you will not get rich, you can make a few dollars a day which could really compound over the course of a year. The goal with this challenge is to complete one survey a day. Start out by signing up for popular survey sites with an alternate email address. Then, login to that email once a day to pick the survey that pays the highest (the more sites you signup with, the higher the potential payouts).
Here’s 5 legit high paying survey sites:
# 4 – The 52 Week Money Challenge
How It Works: The idea is to save $1 the first week, then an additional dollar every week. So, in week # 52, you’re saving $52. While it doesn’t sound like much, you’ll save $1,378 over the course of a year. This is a great challenge to start the year off, as you can use it to start a Christmas savings fund. It’s also perfect for saving for a vacation a year out.
Free Resource: Six Ways to Hack the 52-Week Money Challenge
# 5 – The Zero-Based Budgeting Challenge
How It Works: The goal is to account for every dollar that goes in and out of your life. You start by allocating a certain amount of your income to different categories. Next, over the course of the month, you assign every expense to a category. The idea is to not exceed your budget for any category. Then, take the surplus you have left over and apply it to your highest priority financial goal.
Free Resource: A Zero Based Budget: Boring & Effective
# 6 – The Cash Only Challenge
How It Works: For 30 days pay using only cash. You can choose a certain category of spending, for example groceries, dining out, entertainment, etc… Or, you can apply this to of your spending (Tip: Stay organized with the envelope system).
Free Resource: The One-Month Cash Challenge
# 7 – The List One Thing A Day on Craigslist Challenge
How It Works: Your goal is to list one-thing a day on Craigslist. (You can lighten it up by going for only on weekdays or even once a week). What I learned when I tried this challenge was that I started with the obvious things I’d been meaning to sell. But then when I was forced to sell something I hadn’t considered–I didn’t miss it at all.
Free Resource: List One Thing A Week on Craigslist
# 8 – The No Spend Weekend Challenge
How It Works: Go an entire weekend without spending any money, including gas. I’d add the wrinkle that your goal is to maximum enjoyment as well. This is an easy challenge to start with–as it’s very doable. Plus, it gets you out of the habit of only looking to spend money to have fun.
Free Resource: No Spend Weekend
# 9 – The 401(k) 1% Monthly Savings Challenge
How It Works: Increase your savings rate of your 401(k) by 1% a month. Ideally, you’d try to complete this challenge up to your maximum contribution amount.