5 Money Challenges To Try This Year

Have you tried a money challenge? Check out our five money challenges to learn how you can easily save more money!

Saving money isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a good time. Spending money is fun! But saving money is something that we all have to do, so why not make a bit of a game out of it? Here are 5 money challenges to try this year.

Challenges to try:

  1. No Spend Challenge
  2. No Groceries Challenge
  3. Make More Money Challenge
  4. Cut Expenses Challenge
  5. Free Fun Challenge

No Spend Challenge

For one week, keep track of how many times you leave your house and how many times you spend money. Don’t count things like taking out the trash and checking the mail!

“You might find that you spend money almost every single time you leave home.”

You need gas; you go food shopping, you stop for a coffee, you buy lunch, you run into Target to buy one thing and come out with four bags worth. This can be an eye-opening exercise.

To help reign in your spending, do a no-spend challenge. Start small, one weekend a month, commit to not spending any money. Things like paying bills that are due are exempt, of course.

Once you have a few no-spend weekends under your belt, extend it to one no-spend week per month.

No Groceries Challenge

One area where almost all of us overspend is on groceries. Americans waste a lot of food. We buy too much, and it goes bad before we can use it; we buy “aspirational” groceries meaning lots of healthy food we intend to eat in a bid to be healthier but then buckle and order out or go out to dinner, leaving the food to rot in the fridge. Or we don’t know how to use ingredients for multiple meals, and while we might use three or four carrots, the rest of the bag goes to waste.

And it’s a lot of waste. Americans waste 219 pounds of food each year per person, which equals $1,600 wasted on food we don’t eat.

For one week, don’t buy any groceries. Believe me; you have plenty of food in your house to cover a week’s worth of meals. It’s pretty easy at first, but it can get more challenging as you go through your stores. When that happens, you can use SuperCook! It’s a site that will give you recipes to make based on the items you already have. It’s also an excellent site to use when you’re unsure what to make for a meal.

Make More Money Challenge

Making money is more fun than saving money, so include a make money challenge! Again, start small. Challenge yourself to make an extra $100 a month in your spare time. Here are some ideas:

  • Drive for a ride share service
  • Rent your house or apartment on Airbnb (crash with a friend)
  • Sell some things you don’t use online
  • Have a yard sale
  • Resell items online that you bought at a thrift store
  • Do your online shopping through a cashback portal like Rakuten
  • Create a profile and apply for postings on a freelance site like Upwork

“It’s really easy to make an extra $100 a month, and if you keep at it, you can make a lot more.”

Cut Expenses Challenge

Challenge yourself to cut $100 from your monthly expenses. Here are some ideas:

  • Call cell phone, cable, and internet providers and ask for a lower rate. It helps if you research their competitors to see what they’re offering new customers. Tell the rep that you’d like to stay with your current company and ask them to match the competition’s rates.
  • Shop around for lower insurance rates on your auto, homeowners, or renters insurance.
  • Use Trim to find and cancel subscription services you’re paying for but don’t use or forgot you even had.
  • Call your credit card companies and ask them to lower your interest rates. You’ll be surprised at how often they will.
  • Eat meat-free one day a week. I’m a dedicated carnivore but meat is usually the most expensive part of a meal.
  • Bring lunch to work most days rather than eating or ordering out. If you usually buy lunch five days a week, you will save at least $100 per month just doing this.
  • Create a list each time you go shopping for things like groceries or drugstore items and stick to it. If it’s not on the list, you can’t buy it.

Between this challenge and the make more money challenge, you could put an extra $2,400 a year on your pocket, nothing to sneeze at!

Free Fun Challenge

Many of us seem to use dinner or drinks as our default when making plans with friends or our partner, and while a lot of fun, those activities can get expensive. And frankly, they can get a little stale. Change it and save some bucks by finding free ways to have fun. Here are some ideas:

  • The easiest is to Google “Free things to do in X,” the X being the name of your city. Even small towns frequently have free activities like outdoor concerts, fairs, and festivals.
  • Go to the library! Many libraries have free passes to local attractions like museums, zoos, and botanical gardens that patrons can check out. In fact, libraries are a really under-used resource for free activities. Check out your local library and see what they offer.
  • Look up free entry days for local attractions. Many museums, for example, have a few days a month where you can get in for free.
  • Pack up a picnic and head to a local park.
  • Have a BYOB and snacks game night party with a few friends.
  • A lot of cities have an art district where galleries are clustered. Gallery hop and look at the works of art for free. Some galleries will have openings for new shows that offer free wine and snacks.
  • Go for a walk or bike ride in a pretty area.

It All Adds Up

Saving money doesn’t require drastic, significant changes to our daily lives, like moving into a smaller home or going from being a two-car family to a one-car family. And it doesn’t have to be tedious drudgery like clipping coupons. Try at least one of these money challenges this month and see how much you save.


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