Need to save money and struggling to find the motivation?
Making money-saving fun and engaging is a great way to get yourself to the finish line of the savings goal.
A money-saving challenge helps to keep you on track and motivated so that you keep on going.
There are lots of different great money-saving challenges out there that work in various ways.
The good thing about these challenges is it doesn’t matter how much you want to save, there’s something that works for literally any budget and you can adapt them to be realistic for your own circumstances.
My personal favourite of these savings challenges is the no buy challenge.
I find that if I go one month on a no spend challenge I emerge not only with some extra money in my savings, but also it almost resets my attitude towards spending and I’m much more frugal even after I’m finished with the challenge.
It’s good because it focuses your mind on what you actually need vs what you just want.
I also really love spending challenges that feature visual records of how much you have saved. I think this is a great motivator, as you can see your progress unfolding!
I’ve got a summary of some awesome money-saving challenges and how they work! Some of these challenges work best with cash, but I’ve included some cashless savings challenges if you’re someone who rarely withdraws notes from their account.
Even if you don’t have the pile of physical cash to see, you can still use printable savings records to help you visualise how well you are doing with your savings challenge.
If you have any to add please let me know in the comments.
You may also like: Tips for saving money on food
How to save money when you’re struggling to meet your savings goal
Best money-saving challenges
I’ve set out out how much each of these savings challenges could net you so that you can pick the one that works best for you.
The amount varies for some. If you have a specific target in mind then why not tailor one of the challenges to fit your savings goal?
No buy challenge
The simplest money-saving challenge but not easy if you are a habitual shopper.
The no spend challenge involves spending a period of time, normally a month but can be as much as a year if you really need to boost your savings for something big such as a house deposit, where you don’t buy stuff you don’t need.
You start by making a list of your essential spending, which will include rent or your mortgage, food, bills such as gas, electricity, water and car maintenance, and clothing essentials such as new shoes for the kids.
Anything that is not essential – such as new clothes that you don’t actually need, takeaways, beauty treatments, new gadgets, trips out etc – is banned.
I find doing this challenge in January is really useful for resetting your budget at the start of the year. It also means you can get a head start on saving for Christmas!
How much could you save? £300+ in a month
Spare fiver challenge
The spare fiver challenge involves saving every £5 note you receive.
This one only works well if you frequently use cash, which in this day and age many of us have less and less of as many shops and venues prefer cashless payments.
However you can find this really adds up over the course of a year. If you want to boost this savings challenge then do it with £10 notes instead.
How much could you save? Dependent on how much cash you have
The 52-week savings challenge involves saving increasing amounts of money every week over the course of a year.
For the classic version of this challenge you start at £1 in week one and this increases to £52 in the final week of the year.
Of course if you want to save more money you could double that amount – as long as you can afford to do so.
If you would prefer you can reverse the challenge so that you start with the highest amount first and go down to £1 by week 52. Remember that however you do this that in one month you will need to save around £200, which is considerably more than the £10 you need to save in the lowest month.
Your 52-week savings plan means you need to increase the amount you save by £1 every day. So it goes like this:
- Week 1 – save £1
- Week 2 – save £2
- Week 3 – save £3
- Week 4 – save £4
- Etc, etc, etc,
How much could you save? £1,378 in one year
£500 savings challenge
This is perfect if you want to save £500 in time for Christmas, starting in the first week of January!
This challenge spans 44 weeks, so that you have the amount saved in time to do your Christmas shopping.
Here’s how to do it:
How much could you save? £500
The £5 challenge
This is quite an ambitious savings challenge and operates in a similar way to the 52-week challenge.
You will start by saving £5 in the first week, and this then increases in multiples of £5 every week over the course of the year. In the final week you will save £260.
How much could you save? £7,000 in a year
100 envelopes challenge
This savings challenge has been huge on Tik Tok and it is a really fun idea that has a nice playful element to it.
The idea is you start with 100 envelopes numbers from one to 100. Those numbers represent how much money in pounds you need to place in each envelope.
Over the course of a year you need to pick around two envelopes per week at random. Then you place the correct amount of money into the envelope.
What’s great about this challenge is if you have some extra cash one month you can always pick more than one envelope to fill.
It’s good fun because you never know whether you’ll pick an envelop with a large amount or one asking for just a few quid.
Read more about the 100 Envelopes Challenge here.
I have a free tracker you can download and use here:
How much could you save? £5,050 in one year
365 day 1p challenge
A few pennies add up to a decent stash of cash over the course of a year!
The 1p challenge involves saving an increasing amount of money every day over 365 days.
On day one you will save 1p, then the next day you will save 2p, and so on. Finally on the last day you will save £3.65.
This is a fun challenge as you can pop your pennies into a jar every day to see them stack up.
How much could you save? £667 in one year
Spare change challenge
If you use cash a lot then this could net you a decent savings pot.
Every time you receive change from a transaction you put that change into savings right away.
How much could you save? Depends how much change you have regularly
The 7-days challenge
I like this challenge because it’s simple and the amounts you set aside every day remain small but it adds up over the course of the year.
You start the week by saving £1 and then this amount increases by £1 every day. So you’ll save:
- £1 Monday
- £2 Tuesday
- £3 Wednesday
- £4 Thursday
- £5 Friday
- £6 Saturday
- £7 Sunday
Then you start the same cycle again on Monday. Each week you will save £28 by doing this. It’s a great challenge if you have a lot of spare change in you purse every week.
How much could you save? £1,500 in a year
Switch your daily or regular takeout coffee for one you make at home and take out in a flask.
Now save the price of a takeout coffee every time you fill your own flask. If you drink a lot of takeout coffee this is a great way to save!
How much could you save? Depends how much coffee you normally buy
Weather Wednesday challenge
If you watch the weather like a hawk then you will love this money-saving challenge!
Every Wednesday you check the temperature high of the day. This is how much money you save in pounds.
So in summer you may be saving as much as £30+ on a Wednesday. In winter you may only need to set aside £5 a week.
I really like this challenge as you don’t know exactly how much you will save each day, but there’s a peak season and a lower season where you won’t need to scrape together as much.
This is a good challenge if there’s not a specific amount you need to save up.
How much could you save? If we have a bumper summer of hot weather you could be quids in!
1% money-saving challenge
Calculate 1% of your monthly take-home pay and this is what you need to save.
Simply set up a standing order into a savings account and let it run automatically. This is a good beginner’s savings challenge and you can still have a monthly tracker to keep an eye on how well you’re doing.
How much could you save? Depends on your earnings
Tips for a successful money saving challenge
Now that you have a few ideas for savings challenges you could tackle, here are some tips to help you succeed.
Choose affordable goals
Think about how much you can realistically afford to save.
There’s no point taking on a savings challenge where the goal is £5,000 in a year when you won’t have enough spare cash to meet this target.
Trim your budget
Help yourself to meet your savings goals by cutting back on your budget where possible. Cut out unnecessary expenses, make sure you’re meal planning to save on food and check out my list of frugal living tips.
Find ways to motivate yourself to keep going. You may find you start the challenge full of enthusiasm and then start to lose momentum.
It can help to have a clear goal which you will be savings towards, such as gifts for Christmas or a big holiday.
Tell your loved ones
If your loved ones know what you’re trying to do it can be way easier to stay on track.
It can be particularly useful to get everyone in your household on board with the challenge so that you can all help motivate each other.
Record your progress
Use a savings tracker to keep an eye on how you’re doing. I have a freebie to use with the 100 envelopes challenge plus you can get your hands on a free savings tracker if you sign up to my mailing list.
Tuesday 14th of March 2023
I don’t splurge out more than I need to. These days I read free magazines in the library or hairdressers. I even pick up free reading material from Sainsbury's and at a local train station. Instead of going to do my food shop at a supermarket I try alternative options. For example I tend to do my food shop in a farm shop. Best wishes.
And I buy loose fresh fruit and veg at a weekly open air farm market. It is much cheaper and actually safe. My cheese is obtained at a decent price from a nice farm shop. Same for my pumpkins. I buy them at a garden centre nowadays. I only ever buy a small bottle of milk. You can always compare alternative options.
For instance I buy food in multiple quantities. I frequently reuse items which I have at home to make my ends meet. Rather than waste money on food I compare the costs. It helps me to find the cheaper alternative. For picnics I take a bottle of water, fresh fruit sliced up and cake. Some times I have a tin of biscuits and crackers. I also have sausage rolls and leftover homemade muffins on a tray wrapped up.