When you look at your budget, do you think, “How am I ever going to cut back”? I often feel the same way. After all, I love my morning latte on Fridays and my weekly lunch date with my friends.
It’s difficult to pick and choose where you can cut back in order to achieve your financial goals. That’s why I always love a good money challenge to help me get motivated.
A money challenge can help jump start your savings and debt repayment goals, whether you’re working toward paying off debt or saving for retirement.
There are countless challenges you can try, but below are a few that can kick your savings in particular into gear.
Go Cash Only
Put your credit cards away; it’s time to use cash. This is a great challenge to not only save money but also identify your spending habits. When you use cash, you see your money leave your hands and you may be less tempted to overspend. It may be harder to part with your hard-earned cash when you can see it leaving your wallet.
Evaluate your budget and take out the exact amount you need for each week. You may not want to carry around large amounts of cash, so be cautious with the amount you choose to take. Be strategic about your purchases at the grocery. Try not steer from your shopping list.
When you are on a cash budget, it’s also wise to keep a small amount of cash as an “oops” fund. You can use this for unexpected expenses that pop up throughout the month. That way, a mini emergency doesn’t throw off your grocery budget or your fun money.
What a lot of consumers don’t realize is they can negotiate almost anything. Start with your subscription services. A lot of service providers are willing to work with you and lower your bill in order to keep you as a happy customer. If you don’t feel comfortable negotiating with your service providers, companies like BillFixers will do it for you for a small fee.
Some services you can negotiate include your cable bill, your Internet bill, your insurance, and even your gym membership. You may also be able to find promotional codes or coupons for new services.
So, don’t be afraid to ask for a deal or the lowest price. You never know when a merchant might say yes or offer you a deal you would never have known about.
Have a No Spend Month
Attempt a “no spend” month, where you only purchase the necessities. This could include everything from paid parking to grabbing a coffee on your way to work because you are running late.
At the beginning of the month, look at your budget and determine exactly what you will be spending your money on. Prepare and plan as much as possible. The more prepared you are, the easier your month will be.
During this month, seek out free events or try family nights in. There are countless ways to avoid spending extra money during your “no spend” month. Sometimes, you just need to be creative.
You could also create a “do not buy list”. There may be an item or two that you purchase when you are out and about or bored and shopping online. By creating a “do not buy list” you are bringing attention to items you may not need and can avoid. Then, this money could go to better use somewhere else.
Save Your Change
You’re in contact with spare change all of the time. If you see a penny on the ground, pick it up. If you use a dollar to purchase a pack of gum, put your excess change in a jar. Whether you keep it in a small jar in your kitchen or a box in your bedroom, save every penny you find. You may notice more spare change than you ever have before.
If you want to go a step further, try an app to help you save your digital change. Apps like Tip Yourself, or Qapital can help you automate the process. Acorns is another app that invests your spare change. After a while, it will become a habit.
Do An Extreme Coupon Challenge
Lastly, you could also try an extreme coupon challenge and see how many items you can purchase without spending a penny. You can access coupons here at Coupon Chief for just about anything you can imagine. We have coupons from over 60,000 stores so I’m sure you’ll be able to find one for your favorite places to shop. When it comes to couponing, organization is key, so you might benefit from organizing printed coupons in a folder or storing imagines of digital coupons in an app or elsewhere on on your phone.
In order to be successful with any of the money challenges listed above, it’s important to have a support system if you want to be successful. Having a support system may be the motivation you need in order to ramp up your savings or debt repayment plan.
Ask some of your friends to participate in a monthly spending challenge. You can even make up your own, determine the rules, and how you will keep track of your savings amounts. Get creative and work together so that everyone will be motivated to achieve their financial goals.
Have you ever tried a spending challenge before? Do you know of a spending challenge not listed above?