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9 Smart Money Saving Challenges

Are you a part of the majority of people in the U.S. that are struggling financially? If so, this money-saving challenge is for you. About half of Americans don’t have anything saved for retirement and the majority of them don’t even have $1,000 in their savings account.

Woman doing the 52 week money challenge

Americans Don’t Have Enough In Savings

According to Changing America, 66 percent of all adults in the U.S. don’t even have a thousand dollars in their savings accounts and one-third of Americans don’t have any savings. Only 15 percent have over $10,000 stashed away.

At one time I was in the category of people that had no savings account. I remember when I was in my twenties I got chickenpox and I had to borrow $100 from my parents to be able to afford my medication.

I was putting money in my 401k but I wasn’t putting anything in a savings account. Not smart! I thought that I couldn’t afford to save any money.

But the truth is, I was wasting money on things that I couldn’t afford, like a new car, a jet-ski, and lots of clothes. I had school loan debt and a huge amount of credit card debt.

Now I realize that having money in the bank is more important than having stuff I can’t afford. It hasn’t been an easy road to getting out of debt and saving money, but it has all been worth it.

I’ve found that I sleep better at night, knowing I have money in my savings.

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Money Saving Challenge

No matter how much you need to save, a big or small amount, we have a money-saving challenge that will work for you.

You can go to our Resource Library and get a free printable money-saving challenge worksheet for a 3-month or 52-week savings challenge.

52-Week Savings Challenge

The 52-week savings challenge is my favorite way to stay motivated to save money. Posting a picture of the thing that you are saving for can help with motivation too.

If you’re saving for a vacation, you could post a picture of your destination beside the money-saving challenge worksheet.

Saving money for a year allows you to save easily for higher-priced items. Below you will find several different ways to save different amounts of money.

Money Saving Challenge

1. $1,000 Savings Challenge

For this savings challenge simply pick a square that has the amount of money that you want to save for that week and set aside that amount of money and cross off the square.

What’s great about this challenge is that if you have a lot of unexpected expenses in one week, you can choose a square with a small amount.

I love seeing my progress as I cross off a box every week. After the 52-week money-saving challenge, you will have saved $1000!  You could start your emergency fund or use cash for your Christmas shopping.

Use this money-saving challenge worksheet to save $1,000 in one year. Pick the amount that you want to save for the week and cross off that square.

There’s even a zero on the sheet for when money is tight. You can download the Free money-saving challenge worksheet by going to our Resource Library page.

2. $260 Money Savings Challenge

If you don’t like checking off boxes and saving different amounts every week, the $5 challenge may be for you. Set aside a five-dollar bill every week or have it automatically deducted from your paycheck.

You can save $260 in a year for less than what you probably spend on coffee or soda every week. I know you won’t have a large sum of money at the end of the year but if you don’t have any savings at all, the $5 challenge would be a good place to start.

Another option could be to save every $5 bill that you get back in change.

3. The Dollar-A-Day Money Saving Challenge

This challenge is pretty straightforward: Put a dollar in a jar that often or open an online savings account just for this purpose every day. This challenge will help you save $365 in a year.

4. Spare Change Challenge

This challenge is just that: Save all your spare change. You’d be surprised at how quickly a small change jar can fill up and how much money you’ll have saved simply by doing something you were going to do anyway.

But make sure to take your change jar with you to the bank periodically, most banks have coin machines that count your money for free.

Try to commit to not touching your savings for one year before adding it up and seeing how much you’ve saved.

$5,000 Money Saving Challenge

5. $5,000 Money Saving Challenges

This 52-week money-saving challenge allows you to save for the big things in life. If you’re trying to save a down payment for a house you might want to follow this 52-week challenge for a few years. If you could follow this plan four years in a row you could save $20,000.

Just like the challenge above, pick a square that has the amount of money that you want to save for that week and set aside that amount of money and cross off the square. This money savings challenge also has squares with small amounts for the weeks that you have a lot of expenses.

Use this money challenge worksheet to save $5,000 in one year. Pick the amount that you want to save for the week and cross off that square.

There are even small amounts on the sheet for when money is tight. You can download the Free money challenge worksheet on our Resource Library page.

6. Automatic Money Challenge

One of the hardest parts about saving money is resisting the temptation to spend money on fun things instead of saving. That’s where an automatic savings app can help — it allows you to save without even thinking about it.

Most banks have mobile banking apps that allow you to set up automatic deposits on whatever schedule you want — every week, bi-weekly, or whatever day works for you. Qapital is a free money-saving app that lets you save spare change whenever you shop.

The app allows you to make scheduled transfers, round up your purchases or even fine yourself for breaking a rule that you set. Qapital has NO monthly fees and you will receive interest on your savings, and it’s FDIC-insured.

You’ll even find a 52-Week Challenge option in this cool app. The savings app works with Fitbit, Foursquare, Instagram, and your phone’s GPS — allowing you to set “savings rules” that will transfer money into your savings.

For example, you can tell the app to make a transfer to your savings whenever you achieve a goal such as walking 10,000 steps in a day.

 Weekly Money Saving Challenges

If your goal is to save money quickly then a weekly money-saving challenge may be right for you. Sometimes short-term goals make it easier to stay focused since you reap the reward much quicker than an annual savings goal.

I find it much easier to make short-term sacrifices to save money. If you’re thinking about a weekend getaway or some new clothes that you need then try some of the following ways to save.

12 Week Money Saving Challenge

7. Save $1,000 In 12 Weeks

Saving $1,000 in 12 weeks is an aggressive savings plan but if you combine it with a budget and stay disciplined you can do it. Stay focused on other areas where you can save money, things like your cable bill, and groceries.

Sometimes in the summer, we cut our cable service back to the bare minimum to enjoy some extra savings for a few months. Cooking at home instead of eating out is another way to speed up your savings.

For this three-month money challenge, pick a square that has the amount of money that you want to save for that week and set aside that amount of money and cross off the square.

Use the squares with smaller amounts for the weeks that you have a lot of expenses.

Use this money-saving challenge worksheet to save $1,000 in three months. Pick the amount that you want to save for the week and cross off that square.

You can download the Free money-saving challenge worksheet on our Resource Library Page.

8. No-Spend Money Saving Challenge

A no-spend challenge can be done on a weekly or monthly basis. Although I have heard of people not spending for a whole year, I’m not that dedicated.

When you decide to start a no-spend challenge you stop buying anything except the bare essentials. A less extreme version of this challenge would be not spending money on things like eating out, shopping, or entertainment.

9. The Pantry Challenge

The pantry challenge is a contest in which you declare that no more food will enter your house until everything on hand has been exhausted. You start this challenge by eating what is currently in your cupboards, fridge, freezer, and pantry.

The key with this challenge is to stick with it until everything in your kitchen has been used up — even if that means you have to eat cereal for dinner six nights in a row.

Cut Everyday Expenses

Are you ready to see your savings grow? I know it’s not easy and if you need a little help getting the ball rolling here are some ways you can cut back on your everyday expenses so you can save even faster:

Create Additional Income

Maybe you’ve already cut back all you can on your spending and you just need to make a little more money. Here are some options for creating some additional income:

How To Stay Motivated To Save

Saving money can be hard, especially if you’re not used to doing it on a regular basis. Use the following tips to help you stay motivated.

  • Start with a small amount. Every penny counts – set small money-saving goals in the beginning. Once you see your savings account increasing, you’ll be motivated to keep going and save even more.
  • Make it harder to get your money. Keep your money in a savings account. Don’t make it easy to access your money quickly or you’ll be tempted to spend it!
  • Tell your family and friends. When you start a savings challenge, share the news with everyone. It will help keep you accountable. Ask a friend to start a challenge with you, make it a competition.

Which money-saving challenge are you going to try? Let us know in the comments!

6 Different Money Saving Challenges


  1. Thank you for this. You make it so easy to save money. I might have to spread out the weeks because I get paid every 2 weeks but even with that I will save money.

  2. Okay! I’m taking on you Money Saving Challenge of $1,000 in 12 weeks. I’ll Let ya know how it all works out. Thank you!

  3. I like to do “no spend months” and I find they are the best way to save money. I also find it very fun to do as well. And it’s surprisingly not that hard of a challenge!

  4. Nice Blog! Thank you for sharing these great and practical money-saving challenges. This blog can be used to implement saving techniques. If one wishes to save money, participating in a money-saving challenge is simple and risk-free. Begin with a small sum of money and observe how much you have gained.

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