I will be the first to admit that I SUCK at saving money. Actually, scratch that. My parents would be the first to admit that I am terrible with money. However, in an age where financial status has moved from a whisper to a roar, I realize the importance of finally suiting up and climbing aboard the savings bandwagon.
I think I have tried every possible way to save money. I’ve read financial books, watched debt-fixer television shows, downloaded apps, used labeled envelopes, purchased budgeting software, tried multi-coloured jars, put post-it note reminders “to save!” in my wallet, and even froze my Visa card. Needless to say, nothing worked – and that last one nearly gave me frost bite.
Then last year, after another late night Pinterest scanning session, I discovered several yearlong savings challenges. I was immediately intrigued and found myself determined to make one of them make me rich. Well, sort of.
As it turns out these challenges really worked for me. I’m not exactly sure why, maybe it’s the competitive side in me or the simplicity of the whole thing, but by completing these three easy to follow challenges, I managed to save over $7,000 last year without really trying. No joke.
Now it’s time to pay it forward.
- 52 Week Savings Challenge
This is the first challenge I put into place last year, and it was incredibly easy to execute. It goes like this: for each week of the year you save in dollars the number of that week. For example, week one, you save $1; week two, $2, and so on and so forth until you reach the end of the year and finish with saving $52 for the 52nd (and final) week. By the end of the year you have saved $1,378.
- The $5,000 Challenge
I found this challenge on Pinterest and was instantly appreciative at how easily it was laid out. No bells and whistles, just a simple chart that indicated how much money you could save EACH WEEK that would result in an accumulation of $5,000 by the end of the year. While the amounts are a bit sporadic, it was very easy to stick to. What worked for me was adding two weeks together (weeks 1 and 2 for example) and transferring that sum into my savings account. I continued this doubling of amounts for the duration of the year and have ended up with a solid $5,000 in my nicely increasing bank account.
- The $5 Bill Challenge
This challenge is as simple as it gets. If you have $5.00 bills in your wallet when you come home at the end of the day, save them. I put my in a locked box and literally forgot about them for months on end. When I did the final tally, I had $460.00 in cash. At that point you can either put the money in your savings account or, be like me, and splurge on something you don’t really need but have been secretly eyeballing every time you fall in to the invariable death trap that is late night internet shopping.
Finally, while it doesn’t involve saving, another thing that I’ve done to help curb my persistent “spendies” is to give myself an allowance. Depending on my income I will allocate to myself between $50 and $100 PER WEEK as “fun money”. This money can be used for anything I want, no questions asked. The only rules are: 1) It can’t be used for anything I need (i.e. groceries or gas); and 2) Once the money is spent, there’s no topping it up. I must wait until my next pay day.
There you have it: the simple ways in which I overcame my spending habits and fattened my bank account. Sure, these may or may not work for you, but the bottom line is this: saving money doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful, in fact, as it turns out, it really can be fun. Who knew!