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Everybody wants to save more.

But when you’re already feeling strapped with bills, finding any extra can feel impossible. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Here are 5 easy and kinda fun challenges for you to try that’ll help you save more money (we’re talking hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars) this year without too much work.

#1 Save every $5 bill
Possible Savings: Varies ~$1000 (or more)

Former Boston Globe journalist Marie Campagna Franklin saved thousands of dollars with a simple trick and it’s very easy to set into motion.

So here’s how it goes. If you don’t use cash on a regular basis then you’ll have to make a commitment to use more cash in your everyday life but once you’ve got you’ve got your cash rolling, it’s pretty simple. Every time you get a $5 bill, just tuck it away and make the decision not to use it.

Done.

You can tuck your $5 bills away in an unused part of your purse, in a ziplock bag, an envelope, basically anything that’ll help you keep the money out of sight.

Once you have around $100 then it’d be a good time to put the money in a savings account, investment account or even a money market account. It’s all up to you on how to save the money depending on your goals.

Why Saving Every $5 Bill is Great

  • $5 bills add up quickly. So you could save hundreds like Marie in a short time.
  • It’s easy because you save the same amount every time. No specific amounts to take out on specific days.
  • You can actually see your money growing and can count it. There is something motivating about having a visual reminder of your progress. It might help you stay on track.

Why Savings Every $5 Bill is a Challenge

  • If you don’t already use cash every day, then going to the ATM or remembering to get cashback will take effort
  • It’s relatively easy to stumble because the money is readily available
  • If you have a zero budget that already pretty tight, then saving every $5 bill can run your budget short and force you to raid the savings.

#2 Spare Change Round-Up To $1
Possible Savings: Varies ~$300 (or more)

How’d you like to save money while you are making your everyday purchases? Well this challenge allows you to do just that. Think of it like an adult piggy bank where you can put all your spare change in and count it up at the end of the year.

But the best part is it can be completely digital. You could utilize financial technology services and use a savings app like qapital to round up your bank transactions to the nearest dollar or two for you and save it to a separate account.

The way the app works is you connect your bank account and it tracks your spending and rounds up to the nearest $1 (or saves in the manner you describe). So that $3.21 coffee means $0.79 deposited in your savings.

Sure it doesn’t sound like much but it adds up. I can save well over $20 in a 2 week period with those little $0.85 here, $0.37 there.

And you can choose the use the money however you want. You can transfer the money back to your account, use it to pay off debt or deposit the money to an investment account.

Why The Round Up Savings Challenge Great

  • It’s saving on autopilot so no work for you to do after you set it up.
  • It rounds up your spare change automatically so no willpower needed from you
  • It takes small amounts each time so you barely see it.
  • The money is tucked away and is much less accessible for raiding.
  • It’s out of sight, out of mind savings, which allows it to grow undisturbed.

Why The Round Up Savings Challenge is A Challenge

  • If you have an emergency and need to raid the funds, it’s a couple days to transfer the money back to your account
  • You aren’t in control of your withdrawals so you’ll need to monitor your accounts to ensure you don’t overspend

#3 Save Dimes in a 2-Liter Bottle
Possible Savings: $700

Raising $100 is easier than you think. All you need is an empty 2-liter bottle. Put one on your kitchen counter or your desk at work until the bottle is full.

When your water bottle is filled with dimes, you will have between $500 and $700 saved up and you can convert it to money by rolling them and giving them to a bank or using a coin machine to have them counted.

Why Saving Dimes is Great

  • You save the same amount all the time. No specific amounts to take out on specific days.
  • All you need is a 2-liter bottle and you can get started.
  • It’s fun to incorporate the kids because they can add dimes too
  • You can get a bonus if you find dimes on the ground around your town to save
  • It’s exciting because you can see your money growing and can guess how much you’ve already saved

Why Saving Dimes is A Challenge

  • Like the $5 bill challenge, if you don’t use cash regularly, it could take some adjusting to get this challenge to work.
  • Walking around with coins in your purse is heavy, not to mention you might be tempted to use the vending machine more just because you have coins (… or maybe that’s just me lol).

#4 Save Every Week Challenge
Possible Savings: $1378

The idea is simple: You start slow and easy by socking away just $1 in the first week of the year, and then gradually increase your savings by a dollar a week throughout the year. So you save $2 in Week 2, then $3 in Week 3, and so on until you’re stashing away upwards of $50 a week next December.

And every little bit adds up. At the end of the year, if you complete the challenge, you’ll have saved $1,378! Not a small chunk of change if you ask me.

Why The Save Every Week Challenge is Great

  • It’s easy to get started with just $1. Anyone can save a $1.
  • You can ‘catch up’ easily if you are starting later in the year
  • You can use it with a bank account or with cash
  • You can have your emergency fund saved up by the end of the year.

Why The Save Every Week Challenge is a Challenge

  • The first months are pretty easy (saving $10 in January) but by December you are saving $200 in a busy spend month.
  • You have to keep track of the number of each week in the year so you can save the right amount
  • Remembering to save every week can be hard if you’re not used to it

#5 365 Day Money Challenge
Amount Saved: $667.95

Don’t think you have a single penny more to save? Then this challenge is for you.

With this challenge, you save money every day starting with $0.01 the first day, $0.02 the second day, $0.03 on the third day and so on. On the last day (aka the 365th day) you save $3.65.

Follow this challenge through to the end and in total you save $667.95 by the end of the year. Not too shabby for a couple of pennies to rub together am I right?

Why The 365 Day Money Challenge is Great

  • Anyone can start saving with just a penny
  • A single penny in your savings jar will look pretty pitiful, so you might be tempted to beef up the savings … #winning
  • The savings add up over time and over $500 bucks is nothing to balk at.

Why The 365 Day Money Challenge is a Challenge

  • It can be complicated to keep track of how much to save daily. for example: in January it’s easy to know which day of the year it is, but do you know what day August 18th is? If not, then you wouldn’t know how much to save on that day… it’s 227 by the way.
  • Who really has that many pennies to save a couple of them every day?
  • Getting pennies changed into cash can be hard and you could lose some of your savings changing them to cash.

Get To Saving

Obviously, these challenges are not the only ways to save, but the idea is to create a game plan with the motivation necessary to help you start saving.

In the end, whether you’re building your first-ever emergency fund or saving for a down payment on a car, it doesn’t really matter what you use. The important thing is that you start a routine of socking away some money for your own future and that you stick to it.

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