You can save money fast by trying the 6-month savings challenge. The 6 month savings challenge is when a person commits to saving a specific amount every week for six months to build a sizable savings account.
The median savings balance for American households is $5,300.1 Do you have less? If so, get ready to have a little fun and save more money with some money-saving challenges!
What Is the 6-Month Money Savings Challenge?
Before launching into other more aggressive challenges, the 6-month challenge is a way to ease into the financial habit of saving money.
Each week, commit to doing at least one thing that saves money. It could be anything, from fun to transportation. For example, think about taking the bus instead of driving a few miles to work or carpooling with a friend or family member. Additionally, do everything you can to avoid unnecessary spending.
Other Money-Saving Challenges
The 52-Week Money Saving Challenge
This money-saving challenge has you save a dollar for every week of the year.
Your contribution is equal to the week number:
- Week 1: Put $1 into savings
- Week 2: Put $2 into savings
- Week 3: Put $3 into savings
You keep upping your deposit until you reach $52. By that time the year is up, the 52-week money challenge will save $1,378.
The Penny Savings Challenge
Loose change like quarters, nickels, and dimes are still pretty valuable for vending machines and parking meters, but no one likes carrying around pennies. Instead, collect that copper in a spare jar. When it fills up, take it to your bank. If you have a big jar, you’ll be impressed with how much you’ve saved.
If you want a bigger payout, then step the penny challenge to a spare change challenge, where you save all of your loose coins over a year.
No Eating Out Savings Challenge
Eating out is one of the biggest drains on your money. Whether it’s fast food or fine dining, the average household spends over $3,000 on eating out.
For one month, avoid the usual take-out nights with a “no eating out” challenge. Of course, you’ll still have to eat, so you won’t be able to save all the money. But, it’s cheaper to cook at home than to eat out, so you will have extra money that can go towards your savings goals.
Don’t Spend It. Save It.
The “no spend” savings challenge requires you not to spend any money over a short period. For example, an ideal “no spend” stretch would be a long weekend—a time where you might be likely to spend frivolously. This money challenge is all about helping you save the money you don’t spend.
Tips to Build Your Savings
A money-saving challenge will certainly jump-start your savings efforts, but it’s only part of the battle.
Build a Budget
A budget is a financial overview that details the total amount of money you need over time. Budgets are a great way to get a handle on your spending habits and start saving money. Below are 6 steps on how to make an annual plan or budget with irregular income.
|1. List Your Income
|Write down your total income. This includes your primary salary, any secondary income sources, and regular bonuses or side hustles.
|2. Detail Your Expenses
|List all your expenses. Start with fixed expenses like rent/mortgage, car payments, and insurance. Then, include variable expenses such as groceries, entertainment, and dining out. Don’t forget annual or irregular expenses like subscription services, memberships, or holiday gifts.
|3. Set Savings Goals
|Determine your short-term and long-term savings goals. This could be an emergency fund, vacation, down payment for a home, retirement, etc. Decide how much you need to save for each goal and by when.
|4. Subtract Expenses from Income
|Subtract your total expenses from your total income to determine your discretionary income. If your expenses are higher than your income, you’ll need to adjust your budget by decreasing expenses or increasing your income.
|5. Allocate Remaining Income
|Distribute any remaining income towards your savings goals, investments, or additional debt payments beyond the minimums. If you’re focused on a savings challenge, decide how much you’ll put towards it each month.
|6. Review and Adjust Regularly
|Regularly review your budget, at least monthly. Compare your actual spending to your budgeted amounts. Adjust as necessary to stay on track, accommodating for any changes in income or expenses. Remember, a budget is not set in stone; it’s a living document that changes with your circumstances.
Use Bill Pay
Once you identify your recurring expenses, set them up on automatic payments. Utilities like electricity and water and insurance and loan payments are always due on the same date. You can set a plan up with your creditor using your bank account information; just about every company offers some “easy payment” option. Or, you can have your bank send payment on a specific date from your checking account.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to have the total amount of the bill available in your account on or before the due date. Otherwise, you run the risk of overdraft fees, disconnected services, or both.
Set Up Automatic Savings Deposits
Many financial institutions have direct deposit programs that allow you to split your paycheck to put money in as many separate accounts as you like—provided that the accounts are all at the same bank or credit union. In most cases, you can set either a specific amount of money or a percentage of your income to go to your savings account.
Automatic banking options take the thinking out of saving money. You don’t have to remember to make deposits or decide how much money you’re going to put away.
Create an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is a reserve of money used to cover unexpected financial needs. Unforeseen medical issues, car repairs, and job loss can wreck your budgeting if you are not prepared.
Learning how to build an emergency fund is one of the best ways to keep your savings goals on track. Ideally, your emergency fund should cover three to six months of expenses. If you have underlying medical conditions or dependents, you should plan for a more significant fund that covers at least one year.
FAQs About 6 Month Savings Challenges
The six-month savings challenge is a fun, goal-oriented program designed to help you boost your savings over a half-year period. It encourages consistent saving habits, which can be particularly beneficial for individuals looking to reduce credit card debt or build a financial cushion.
If you’re dealing with high-interest debt, the first step is to assess your finances. Allocate a portion of your income to tackle this debt, especially from credit cards, while setting aside a manageable amount for your savings challenge. Balancing debt repayment and savings is crucial, but remember, even small contributions can make a big difference by the end of your six-month challenge.
While a savings account may help you avoid the temptation to spend, you can still set aside more money in your checking account. Consider setting up a separate checking account or creating a dedicated space within your existing account specifically for the challenge funds.
The first week is all about planning. Review your monthly expenses, set a realistic savings goal, and decide how much you want to save each week or month. Remember, the key to a successful savings challenge is consistency, so choose an amount you can comfortably set aside regularly.
It can be tempting to use your savings to pay off credit card debt, but remember, the purpose of this challenge is to build a savings habit and create a financial safety net. To avoid dipping into your savings, you might want to set up a separate savings account or even consider a low-cost debt consolidation loan to manage high-interest debt.
Success in a savings challenge often comes down to discipline and planning. Automate your savings if possible, cut down on non-essential expenses, and find creative ways to increase your income. Tracking your progress can also be incredibly motivating, so consider using an app or a journal to keep tabs on your achievements.
Don’t worry—if you fall short one month, it’s not the end of your savings journey. Life happens, and the challenge is flexible. Assess what caused the shortfall, make necessary adjustments, and focus on the upcoming month. The key is to stay committed and keep saving what you can.
A Summary of Money Saving Challenges From CreditNinja
Savings challenges are an excellent way to start saving money and develop good financial habits. Taking on a money-saving challenge will give you the financial resources to tackle other challenges in life.
If you’re currently struggling to make ends meet and you don’t have any savings, consider applying for a personal loan with CreditNinja! You can get competitive rates, quality customer service, and flexible payment plans with our online loans. Check out our reviews and fill out an online form!