When it comes to saving money, whether it’s for a short-term goal, such as a trip, or for a long-term one, such as a retirement fund, there are many budgeting strategies to choose from. Starting a money-saving challenge can be a good strategy to save money while being motivated to reach a goal and have fun.
However, not all challenges fit every money personality type. Whether you’re a self-motivated worker, an experience seeker, a challenge expert, or a flexible explorer, in this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn what budgeting challenges fit your personality the most. Let the challenges begin!
What Is a Money-Saving Challenge?
Money-saving challenges are budgeting challenges to encourage spenders to achieve a certain financial goal in a creative way. Whether that’s saving big or changing a financial habit, money challenges can help you keep track of your spending and set small achievable goals.
Saving challenges are not only fun, but they also help you start a habit of saving consistently, learn about your financial goals, track your budget, and improve your personal finances.
How to Choose a Money-Saving Challenge
You can find plenty of money-saving challenges online, but it’s important to pick one that fits your budget goals and lifestyle. Choosing a challenge that fits your personality type can also make it easier to complete and achieve your money goals.
- The first step is to find out what your personality type is, which you can do by taking a personality assessment, such as the Myers-Briggs 16 MBTI types.
- Once you find out your Myers-Briggs type, cross-reference with Mint’s money personality guide to determine your money personality type:
- Dedicated Steward
- Wise Analyst
- Wealth Builder
- Bold Explorer
- The next step is to decide what your money-saving goals are. Find out how much money you want to save and how much time you have by looking at your living expenses and current savings.
- Lastly, navigate through our guide that’s divided by personality type to pick a challenge that fits both your personality and saving goals. You can always pick a challenge from another personality type if you feel it resonates with your goals better.
Money-Saving Challenges for Dedicated Stewards
Dedicated Stewards are practical and self-motivated workers who seek security and safety. They take occasional risks and prefer to set smaller and realistic financial goals, and they also like to plan for the future and the unexpected. The Myers-Briggs types of Dedicated Stewards include:
- ISTJ: The Analyst
- ISFJ: The Protector
- ESTJ: The Organizer
- ESFJ: The Supporter
1. 52-Week Money Challenge
If you want an easy challenge to start with, the 52-Week Money Challenge is a flexible challenge that doesn’t require a lot of money or effort. In this saving challenge, your goal is to deposit an increasing amount of money every week until you save $1,378 at the end of week 52. The dollar amount you save every week corresponds to the week of your challenge.
2. Keep All the Change Challenge
It’s always a fun surprise when you stick your hand in your pocket and find some change. But what if you could see it all stacked up in one place? Whenever you stumble upon some extra cash around the house or when you receive change from a store, keep it in a jar. Every penny counts!
3. Cash Only for a Month Challenge
Always tempted to buy things you can’t necessarily afford? Join this monthly savings challenge of carrying only cash when you go shopping, so you can only spend what you have on hand. Just don’t make this an excuse to withdraw your whole paycheck when going out.
4. 26-Week Savings Challenge
If you get paid biweekly, this challenge can be a great way to match your paycheck with your savings plans. In this money-saving challenge, you’ll save in increments of $3, starting on the first week with $3, on the second $6, on the third $9, and so on. Every time you receive your paycheck, transfer the corresponding amount to your savings until you reach week 26, when you’ll deposit $78 to total $1,053.
5. Penny Savings Challenge
You don’t have to be a penny pincher to join this challenge, but if you’re still a fan of paying with cash, this money challenge is for you. The Penny Savings Challenge is similar to the Keep All the Change Challenge, but instead you will add only the pennies to your jar. Seeing the jar fill up will show you that every penny counts and you can add it all to your savings when it’s about to overflow.
6. 30-Day Minimalist Lifestyle Challenge
If you often find yourself going down the rabbit hole of minimalist lifestyle videos but don’t know where to start, embark on the 30-Day Minimalist Lifestyle Challenge to motivate you to change your lifestyle while de-stressing and saving money. For 30 days, follow the minimalist lifestyle tips and start practicing minimalism to help you build better money habits.
7. $1 Bill Save Challenge
Are you a fan of the envelope budgeting system? Add another envelope to your stack and join this challenge to use it for something fun at the end of the year. This challenge is simple — every time you get a $1 bill as change, add it to your envelope for extra savings. If you prefer to save paper or spare an envelope, you can also add it to a savings jar or piggy bank.
Money-Saving Challenges for Wealth Builders
Wealth Builders are easily inspired and value experiences over maintaining the status quo. They enjoy celebrating small victories and linking financial goals to their own financial values. They don’t spend too much time analyzing and prefer to take action to plan out their next steps. The Myers-Briggs types of Wealth Builders include:
- INFJ: The Visionary
- INFP: The Helper
- ENFJ: The Leader
- ENFP: The Dreamer
8. Holiday Gift Challenge
Wouldn’t it be nice if Santa bought all the gifts on our shopping list? If you feel like you’re struggling to find funds to afford gifts for the family at the end of the year, make it a challenge to contribute a small amount to your holiday fund every week. At the beginning of the year, tally up all your holiday spending from the previous year and figure out how much you would have to save each week to reach your goal amount.
9. Pay Yourself When You Make a Money Mistake Challenge
Everybody makes mistakes, but how much money would you have if you paid for every mistake you made? This money challenge is not to encourage you to make mistakes, but you can join it by adding funds to your savings every time you make a financial mistake, such as impulse purchases or paying a bill late. At the end of the day, this challenge can be a win-win — you either make fewer mistakes or save more money.
10. 26-Week Biweekly Savings Challenge
If adding funds to your savings for a money challenge every day or every week sounds like a lot of work, doing it biweekly might work better for you. In the 26-Week Biweekly Money-Saving Challenge, you can save $1,404 in a year by depositing an increasing amount every other week. Start with $4 on the first week and $8 dollars on the second. Add $4 extra to the amount every two weeks until you deposit $106 on week 26.
11. Money Throwdown Challenge
Friendly competitions can be fun and motivating. If you need a partner to keep you on track, challenge a friend or family member to the Money Throwdown Challenge. The rules for the challenge are up to you to decide, such as seeing who can save $1,000 the fastest or who can save the most for six months. Celebrate your earnings by going out to eat with your challenge partner and plan what you’ll do with the savings.
12. Savings Fever Challenge
Are you a fan of DIYs? In this money-saving challenge, you can summon your creative skills and create a savings thermometer. Use a piece of paper or cardboard to draw a thermometer and write down your savings goal at the very top. For each temperature, list a smaller saving goal and color it in as you reach each target. Although no one wants to have a 3,000-degree fever, this is a flexible and fun challenge for every budget.
13. Holiday Helper Fund Challenge
Budgeting for the holidays can be tough amidst all of the party planning, but saving small increments throughout the year can help you get a budget in place by the time December rolls around. Make it a challenge to add $20 to your holiday budget fund every week or every other week to have enough for gifts or an end-of-year vacation with the family.
14. 3-Month Savings Challenge
If you’re looking for a money challenge that doesn’t last all year, the 3-Month Savings Challenge can help you save $1,008 in just 90 days. To join this challenge, set a reminder to deposit $84 every week for 12 weeks. You can make things easier and your savings bigger by setting automatic transfers to a high-yield savings account.
Money-Saving Challenges for Wise Analysts
Wise Analysts are driven by thinking and lead with intellect while seeking to improve their situation. They enjoy setting clear financial goals and stay on track with automatic payments, remaining patient when it comes to results. In other words, they’re built for challenges, especially money-saving challenges. The Myers-Briggs types of Wise Analysts include:
- INTJ: The Strategist
- INTP: The Thinker
- ENTJ: The Planner
- ENTP: The Inventor
15. No Spend Challenge
We’re all guilty of filling our carts with things that will probably collect dust. If you feel like you’re spending a lot on nonessentials, make it fun by trying the No Spend Challenge. In this money-saving challenge, you’ll eliminate discretionary spending altogether. You can also decide on certain categories to avoid buying, such as clothes or takeout.
16. 356-Day Nickel-Saving Challenge
Get your big jars ready. In this fun money-saving challenge, your goal is to save money in increments of five. Start on day one with a nickel, adding two nickels to your jar the next day, then adding 15 cents on day three, and so on. Keep this going until day 365, when you’ll deposit $18.40 in your jar. If a nickel doesn’t sound like much, wait until you see that your big jar will have saved you $3,339.75 at the end of the year.
17. Weather Wednesday Challenge
Instead of wearing pink on Wednesdays, why not save money? In this savings challenge, every Wednesday you’ll add money to your savings account — but there’s a twist. Before adding money, check the weather channel for the highest local temperature and match that amount to add to your savings. Now wearing your pink outfit when it’s 83 degrees outside is even better when you’re saving $83.
18. Trim 1 Percent of Your Salary Challenge
As scary as it sounds, trimming 1 percent of your salary doesn’t mean you’re working for less. This budgeting challenge works for every budget and can be a good way to build savings. Calculate 1 percent of your yearly salary and find ways to cut your spending by that amount. You can look at your subscription services or grocery bills, for example, and see how you can bring your budget down to end up with 1 percent of your salary as a bonus.
19. Round Up Money-Saving Challenge
Ever wonder why prices usually end with .99, .79, or .88? It’s a psychological strategy to make it seem like the price is lower. If you like to save, take advantage of this strategy and join the Round Up Money Challenge by rounding up to the nearest dollar and adding those cents to your savings. For example, if you make a purchase of $2.79, round it up to $3 and add $0.21 to your savings. Some banks will allow you to do that, but there are also apps that make it easy for you to do it.
20. 30-Day Meal Planning Challenge
Starting with small steps can make it easier to start building positive habits. If you want to reduce your grocery bills and the number of times you eat out, plan your meals for 30 days and have your meals packed for each day of the week as part of this challenge. At the end of this budgeting challenge, compare your savings to a previous month where you ate out more often, and use it as motivation to keep the challenge going for the following months.
21. Expense Tracking Challenge
If you are struggling to keep up with your expenses, this challenge will help you build a habit of tracking your expenses so you can become more financially savvy. Use this budgeting challenge as an opportunity to start tracking your expenses by writing down and categorizing your expenses for at least a month. If you can keep the challenge going for over a month, you will be able to see where you can trim back your expenses and save more money. For a foolproof way of tracking your expenses, the Mint app makes it easy to reach your goals with personalized insights.
22. 100 Envelope Money Challenge
Got a stack of envelopes but don’t know who to write to? This money challenge will take care of that. Grab 100 envelopes and number them from 1 to 100. Every day or week, grab a random envelope and insert the amount of cash according to the number on the envelope, and set it aside. So if you grab envelope 38, you have to add $38 to the envelope, helping you save $5,050 at the end of the challenge. If you still have some envelopes left after you finish the challenge, you can write to a friend and let them know how much you saved.
Money-Saving Challenges for Bold Explorers
Bold Explorers are quick and flexible thinkers who enjoy experimenting with their many passions. They avoid impulse purchases and set strict saving guidelines in order to commit to long-term plans, and they take time to analyze big decisions and avoid indulgent purchases. The Myers-Briggs types of Bold Explorers include:
- ISTP: The Experimenter
- ISPF: The Artist
- ESTP: The Risk Taker
- ESFP: The Socialite
23. Pantry Challenge
Tired of spending money eating out or seeing your grocery bills stacking up? Challenge your creativity in a quest to eat as much of the food that you already have in your house as you can before you buy more groceries. By doing little to no shopping for extra ingredients, this is your chance to start meal planning and reduce waste. You might have to come up with some crazy — but still delicious! — recipes for this saving challenge.
24. Kick a Bad Habit Challenge
Struggling with a bad habit and saving money? This challenge takes care of both. No matter what bad habit you have — smoking, drinking a lot of soda, or spending too much time on TikTok — it could be keeping you away from your financial goals. Kick your bad habits and reward yourself with the money you would be spending by adding it to your savings instead. Just don’t spend your reward on new bad habits.
25. $5 Bill Savings Challenge
Similar to the $1 bill challenge, this budgeting challenge will still help you save money without much effort. Any time you receive a $5 bill as change or when withdrawing money at the bank, save the $5 bills in a safe spot. Check how much you saved after a couple of months or challenge yourself to do it for a whole year.
26. Find Extra Money Challenge
If you think you never have extra money after paying your monthly bills, you might not be looking in the right place. Get creative with the Find Extra Money Challenge and do a sweep around your house for any spare change you might have forgotten. Look in every pant and jacket pocket, between couch cushions, and your junk drawer. Is your home spick-and-span? You can create extra money for yourself by making it a goal to spend less than your budget and adding the extra money to your savings, or decluttering your home and selling items you don’t use anymore.
27. Coffee Break Challenge
Want to cut back on your expenses but can’t seem to stop your coffee runs? This savings challenge will get you motivated to make your own coffee at home while building your savings. Each time you make coffee at home instead of going to a coffee shop, deposit $2.75, or the amount you would have spent on your coffee, into a jar or straight to your savings account. Whether you have great barista skills or like it simple, coffee tastes better when you’re saving.
28. Cancellation Challenge
Free trials are great when we want to watch a movie but aren’t ready to commit to a subscription. But what happens when you forget to cancel the trial before it ends? With subscription services becoming more popular, it can be easy to lose track of your spending. Join the Cancellation Challenge by taking some time to evaluate all your subscription services, cancel any that you haven’t been using, and transfer the money you would have spent on them to your savings.
29. 12-Week Money-Saving Challenge
If you need money to buy a gift for a family member or save money for a dream trip, but you don’t have much time, the 12-Week Money Challenge can be a good starting point. In this challenge, you will start with $10, and each week the deposit increases by $10. When you get to the 12th week, you will deposit $120 to finish your challenge with $780 saved up.
30. No Eating Out Challenge
Eating out can be tasty, fun, and doesn’t leave dirty dishes in your sink — but it does dirty up your credit card statement. If you love to dine out but want to save money for something else, attempting this money-saving challenge can be a good way to save money and brush up on your cooking skills. Since preparing your own food can be cheaper, try to see how long you can go without eating out or ordering takeout and enjoy the taste of your own cooking — and savings.
When to Start a Money-Saving Challenge
Most money-saving challenges don’t have a set starting point. Whether you decide to start on the first day of the year or on your birthday, adjust the challenge according to your savings goals and timeline. Take into consideration your schedule and current savings when deciding on the best time to start.
The Bottom Line
Budgeting can be easier when you’re having fun. Attempting a money-saving challenge can help you get one step closer to your financial goals and help you build better saving habits. Whether you finish a challenge or decide to try a different one, you will be able to learn more about your money personality and spending habits.