When we begin a new year there is a lot of focus surrounding the goals we have for the year and what we might want to achieve. Everyone has different ideas about what they want, but there is often a common theme for many and that is financial goals and setting oneself a financial challenge. There is no hiding from the fact that we all would like more money in our bank accounts, and one way to do that is to place more focus on savings goals. So why not give a savings challenge a go in 2023?
However, saving is not like it used to be. Previous generations will have hoarded every penny they could. Saving it under beds and in suitcases, and in more recent years we have seen our older generations placing savings into fixed-term accounts or placing lump sums into savings often. Today we are better financially educated but actually worse with money. We often save for luxury items but forget that we should pay off debts and credit cards and create an emergency fund first. If you take on one or more of these challenges this year you could use the money for any of these.
In today’s society, it can feel harder to save. Cost of living is rising, commitments we all have to pay our bills, and wages don’t seem to be matching those price increases. It is hard to save each month there is no denying that, but a trend that has grown in popularity in recent years and is helping people to save money and more frequently are saving challenges. They vary in costs and saving goals but they can all get you back into the habit of regularly putting money aside. So here are some of the savings challenges that you might want to try this year.
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The 52-week savings challenge
The first thing you can try is a savings challenge that focuses on placing an amount of money into your savings account each week. Pick a day that you do this and then stick to it. The first week, you place £1 into it. The second week would be £2 and so on. For each numbered week you place that exact amount into your savings account. It is a great way to slowly build up your savings and at the end of the year, you will have a nice sum of money to use towards Christmas or to pay for something the following year. As the year goes on, the amounts obviously go up so it can be easier at the beginning and harder to stick with it towards the end. This brings me to my next option.
The 52-week challenge in reverse
If you think the larger amounts will be harder to save at the beginning of the year then why not do the same challenge but in reverse? Instead, start with £52, and then reduce it by £1 each week. You will still have the same amount of money, but you may find that this time it is easier to stick to. If you find it difficult to remember to put the money into the bank each week, you can go old school and use a piggy bank. Go for one that you have to smash to get the money out so that you aren't tempted!
The round-down challenge
The round-up challenge is a great saving option and in some cases, it won’t even feel like saving at all. The aim is to get to the end of the day and check your banking app for your balance. For example, if the balance in your account is £342.34 then you would simply transfer £2.34 to your savings account. If it was £346.76 then you would transfer £6.76. The aim is to get rid of the pounds and pence and transfer that across. If you have a day where you haven’t spent anything and your balance hasn’t changed then you can skip that day. This will give you varying results as it all depends on how much you transfer and how often. But it can be an easy way to make some savings.
The £2 coin savings challenge
The savings challenge that might not give you quick results but will still help you to save is the £2 coin savings challenge. Every time you get a £2 you can then pop that in a moneybox or jar and watch them build up. You can do this with any coin or note you wish. For example, saving a £5 note every time you get given one or have one in your wallet. It also works for smaller amounts such as saving every 10p, 5p, or 20p coin. Pick something that you think will be worthwhile to you. This is a fun challenge as it is nice to see the amounts add up in a jar.
Saving your spare change
A simpler approach to saving physical money would be to put any spare change or extra cash that you have in your wallet or purse at the end of the day into a jar. It does force you to break into notes each day if you use cash, and that spare change can quickly accumulate over time, especially if you visit the grocery store often! You will then take the filled-up jar to the bank and transfer it directly to your savings account.
The cancellation challenge
If you feel that money is hard to come by or can’t see that you have anything spare to transfer then why not go looking for the savings instead? The cancellation challenge will force you to look at your outgoings and decide what could be cancelled in favour of savings. Of course, there are bills you can’t cancel, but you may find that you aren’t using that gym membership you pay for or the Netflix subscription, for example. Cancel those bills and then set up a standing order for the exact amount to your savings account instead? You won’t be any worse off but you will start to accumulate savings monthly.
The no-spend challenge
Many people embark on no-spend challenges and instead of leaving the money in your account why not physically transfer it to your savings instead? You could try a one day challenge or weekly, or monthly no-spend challenge. If you are in the position where you would normally buy something then transfer the amount over to savings instead. Once you start to see that balance rise you will continue to be motivated by it. For example for each takeaway coffee that you would have bought, transfer that £3 into your checking account. Individually these might be small amounts but they will soon add up, enabling you to achieve your larger goals.
The “Give up” challenge
Finally, is there something you could give up in favour of savings? For example, that take out coffee each morning or that weekly takeaway. Decide on what it is and the amount and then set up a standing order that would transfer that amount out each day or week. You will start to see your savings build up over time. This is a popular challenge that also gives you a great insight into your spending habits too.
The envelope challenge
The idea behind this challenge is to get 100 empty envelopes and write the numbers 1 to 100 on them. Every day, for 100 days you can pick an envelope at random and put the equivalent amount of money in the envelope to the number written on it. The envelope challenge will earn you a savings pot of £5050 in only 100 days! You can of course repeat this challenge 3 times in the year making it a really fun challenge for saving bigger amounts over an entire year.
Hopefully, these savings challenges will have you motivated to make some big savings this year, whether it's to build up a sinking fund, or if you have a specific goal in mind that you need x much money for such as a large purchase, these challenges will certainly add up to give you an extra amount of cash.
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