If you are struggling to save money and make real financial changes, maybe the problem is that you are not really challenging yourself. Most people are competitive in nature and sometimes we need to kindle that competitiveness to make a difference.
For those that want to build a savings fund, what is the best challenge?
Personally I like the 52 week money challenge, basically start by saving $1 the first week, then $2 the second week and keep adding $1 every week which means you will end up saving $1,378 by the end of 52 weeks. Some people want to save more so they start with $2 and add $2 every week. This is really works for a lot of people because it is easy to start and once you build the momentum, most don’t want to stop.
What is the best way to get control of your spending?
One of the best challenges to change your spending behavior is to use the “no spend” challenge at least one time per month. The basics of this is pick a weekend or a work week and don’t spend anything the entire week – no eating out, not coffees stops, no grocery shopping, no spending on anything. The result is that eventually this will carry over to the rest of the month and you will start spending less.
If the “no spend” challenge is a little too much, is there another way to ease into saving?
The pantry challenge is a one way to accomplish much of the same results. This is when you decide that you won’t go to the grocery store or eat out until you have emptied your pantry and frig of all edible food. This one can be fun too because you might have to get creative with your recipes and meal plans to use all the food you have accumulated. It is important to check expiration dates in this challenge.
Is there a good way to reinforce making good financial decisions?
One the best motivators might be the mistake challenge. Basically whenever you pay a bill late, make an impulse buy or anything else that is foolish, you will make a deposit of $5 or $25 into a savings account. Basically it is fining yourself to remind yourself that you need to make smarter decisions. For some people, this stick approach gets them to make better choices.
What is the funniest challenge that people should consider?
It is the weather Wednesday challenge. This one is based on every Wednesday transferring to savings the amount of whatever the highest temperature recorded for your city for the day. So in the summer, that could be a very large weekly amount and in the winter it will be less. You can spice it up by predicting whether the high will be over or under your favorite weather person’s forecast and then adding or subtracting $5 from the high based on if you won or not. As a side note, when the temperature is negative, you could withdraw money but maybe it is just best to make no deposit on those Wednesdays.