I was a sprinter, not a distance swimmer, which is why I think I am naturally bad at saving money. I have a savings account and I do save money, but it takes a lot of work and even more will power. Often times I feel like I’ve worked super hard not to spend money but then my savings account has nothing to show for it. That’s probably because building up savings takes time. A lot of time. We’re not talking days or weeks here – it can take years to start seeing your savings add up in a significant way. But that’s why it’s even more important that you plug away at it! Don’t fall into the “I don’t have enough money to save any” trap. Every dollar helps. Here are some fun ideas on how you can jump start your savings habit:
1. Reverse 52 Week Savings Challenge – We’ve all heard of the original 52 Week Challenge before, where you end up saving $1,378 in a year by savings $1 the first week, $2 the second week, $3 the third week, etc. This works great for some people, but others give up on it only a few weeks in. That may be because after the first month, you’ll only have saved $10 which is not very exciting. But what if you did the challenge in reverse and started by saving $52 the first week, $51 the second, and so on? You would have $202 by the end of the first month, which is a way bigger motivator to keep saving. It could work!
2. Savings Bingo – Or if you like to live on the edge you could mix up the 52 Week Challenge even more by not following a pattern at all. Write all 52 amounts on little slips of paper, put them in a bowl, and then randomly select one a week. Whatever number you pull out of the bowl that week is the amount you have to save.
3. No Spend Challenge – This challenge is great for people who don’t like to have fun. But truthfully it could be a wake up call for how much you spend on “extra” stuff each month. For one month only pay for necessities, like rent, electricity, car payments, grocery shopping,etc. Do not pay for anything extra like eating out, movie tickets, or new clothes. You might think you “never go out” or “hardly ever buy candy at the gas station” in a typical month, but you’ll be surprised how much you can save in a short period of time when you cut out non-necessities.
4. Spare Change Challenge – If you still use cash rather than a card, this challenge is for you! At the end of every day, toss your spare coins into a jar and save them up for a year. At the end of the year you can roll them or bring them to a coin machine to turn coins into cash. My dad has been doing this for years but he never actually cashes in all the coins. Instead I steal them from him a little bit at a time and cash them in myself . . . I mean what? Just kidding. I haven’t done that since high school, Dad, I swear.