13 Awesome Money Saving Challenges to Try in 2023

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13 Money Saving Challenges

What would you do with some extra money? Pay off debt? Build an emergency fund? Save money for a vacation? Save for retirement? Or simply pad your savings account?

Regardless of your personal or family situation, spending less and saving more money are good financial habits to develop. A money saving challenge can be a fun and effective way to help develop those habits and provide the motivation and accountability to stick with them.

There are several different money challenges you can try, and we’ll look at some of the best options in this article (like the 52-week money challenge, 100 envelope challenge, and more). Consider the different options and see which one may be a good fit for you and your financial goals.

As you’ll see when you read the descriptions of the money saving challenges, the way you’re paid (weekly, bi-weekly, twice per month, monthly) may have some impact in determining which savings challenge is right for you.

You can either take the savings challenge yourself or find a friend who wants to take it along with you. Having a friend join you in the money challenge can make it more fun, and may also serve as extra motivation.

Money saving challenges are often associated with New Year’s Resolutions. They are mentioned a lot near the end of the year, but there’s no reason why your savings challenge needs to start in January and end in December. You can start any time and take the challenge for the next 12 months (or however long the savings challenge lasts).

Related reading: How to Save $10,000 in a Year

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The Best Money Saving Challenges to Try

Now, let’s look at some of the specific money saving challenges that can help you to save money and move closer to financial freedom.

Looking for ways to free up some extra cash to save? Check out this list of 40 Smart Ways to Reduce Your Monthly Bills for plenty of money-saving tips.

52-Week Money Saving Challenge

The 52-week savings challenge is very popular, partly (in my opinion) because of its simplicity. Throughout the 52 weeks, you’ll gradually increase the amount you save each week. The first week you’ll save $1. The second week you’ll save $2. The third week, $3. And it goes on like that until you save $52 in the final week. If you complete the money-saving challenge, you will have saved $1,378!

One of the nice things about this savings challenge is that it starts off easy and builds up slowly. Anybody can save a few dollars per week, so the first few weeks are simple. As you go, you’ll probably get better at saving money, and you’re likely to find a few new ways to save money each week or each month.

Of all the money-saving challenges, this one is probably the most popular.

If you want to follow the 52-week challenge, this table shows the amount you should save each week, as well as the total saved up to that point.

WeekDepositBalance
1$1$1
2$2$3
3$3$6
4$4$10
5$5$15
6$6$21
7$7$28
8$8$36
9$9$45
10$10$55
11$11$66
12$12$78
13$13$91
14$14$105
15$15$120
16$16$136
17$17$153
18$18$171
19$19$190
20$20$210
21$21$231
22$22$253
23$23$276
24$24$300
25$25$325
26$26$351
27$27$378
28$28$406
29$29$435
30$30$465
31$31$496
32$32$528
33$33$561
34$34$595
35$35$630
36$36$666
37$37$703
38$38$741
39$39$780
40$40$820
41$41$861
42$42$903
43$43$946
44$44$990
45$45$1,035
46$46$1,081
47$47$1,128
48$48$1,176
49$49$1,225
50$50$1,275
51$51$1,326
52$52$1,378
Money Saving Challenge

Double 52-Week Money Saving Challenge

If the 52-week challenge seems too easy for you, another option is to double it. If you’ve been saving money for a while or if you have more disposable income, this one may be realistic for you, and it will allow you to save a lot more money.

With this version, you simply double everything. The first week you’ll save $2. The second week you’ll save $4. The third week you’ll save $6, and so on. In the final week, you’ll save $104. By the end, you will have saved $2,756.

WeekDepositBalance
1$2$2
2$4$6
3$6$12
4$8$20
5$10$30
6$12$42
7$14$56
8$16$72
9$18$90
10$20$110
11$22$132
12$24$156
13$26$182
14$28$210
15$30$240
16$32$272
17$34$306
18$36$342
19$38$380
20$40$420
21$42$462
22$44$506
23$46$552
24$48$600
25$50$650
26$52$702
27$54$756
28$56$812
29$58$870
30$60$930
31$62$992
32$64$1,056
33$66$1,122
34$68$1,190
35$70$1,260
36$72$1,332
37$74$1,406
38$76$1,482
39$78$1,560
40$80$1,640
41$82$1,722
42$84$1,806
43$86$1,892
44$88$1,980
45$90$2,070
46$92$2,162
47$94$2,256
48$96$2,352
49$98$2,450
50$100$2,550
51$102$2,652
52$104$2,756

Mini 52-Week Money Saving Challenge

If the 52-week savings challenge seems too aggressive for you, consider the mini version. This one is ideal for people who’ve had trouble saving money in the past or have a small amount of disposable income.

Instead of starting with $1, you’ll save $0.50 the first week, increasing by $0.50 each week. In the second week, you’ll save $1. In the third week, it will be $1.50, and so on.

By the end, you will have saved $689, which is still a nice amount of money if you haven’t been saving money in the past.

WeekDepositBalance
1$0.50$0.50
2$1.00$1.50
3$1.50$3.00
4$2.00$5.00
5$2.50$7.50
6$3.00$10.50
7$3.50$14.00
8$4.00$18.00
9$4.50$22.50
10$5.00$27.50
11$5.50$33.00
12$6.00$39.00
13$6.50$45.50
14$7.00$52.50
15$7.50$60.00
16$8.00$68.00
17$8.50$76.50
18$9.00$85.50
19$9.50$95.00
20$10.00$105.00
21$10.50$115.50
22$11.00$126.50
23$11.50$138.00
24$12.00$150.00
25$12.50$162.50
26$13.00$175.50
27$13.50$189.00
28$14.00$203.00
29$14.50$217.50
30$15.00$232.50
31$15.50$248.00
32$16.00$264.00
33$16.50$280.50
34$17.00$297.50
35$17.50$315.00
36$18.00$333.00
37$18.50$351.50
38$19.00$370.50
39$19.50$390.00
40$20.00$410.00
41$20.50$430.50
42$21.00$451.50
43$21.50$473.00
44$22.00$495.00
45$22.50$517.50
46$23.00$540.50
47$23.50$564.00
48$24.00$588.00
49$24.50$612.50
50$25.00$637.50
51$25.50$663.00
52$26.00$689.00
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Reverse 52-Week Money Saving Challenge

Many people who start the 52-week challenge in January find that it gets difficult in December. At the end of the 52 weeks, you’ll save around $50 each week, and in December, many people have higher expenses due to Christmas and holiday shopping.

The reverse version of the savings challenge allows you to start by saving $52 the first week and then work your way down by $1 each week. By the end, you’ll save only a small amount each week, which is more realistic for some people. You’ll still wind up with the same $1,378 saved.

If you’re putting the money into a high-interest savings account, you’ll actually be better off with the reverse version because you’ll accrue more interest by building up the balance earlier.

Of course, you can also reverse the order with the double or mini versions if you prefer.

WeekDepositBalance
1$52$52
2$51$103
3$50$153
4$49$202
5$48$250
6$47$297
7$46$343
8$45$388
9$44$432
10$43$475
11$42$517
12$41$558
13$40$598
14$39$637
15$38$675
16$37$712
17$36$748
18$35$783
19$34$817
20$33$850
21$32$882
22$31$913
23$30$943
24$29$972
25$28$1,000
26$27$1,027
27$26$1,053
28$25$1,078
29$24$1,102
30$23$1,125
31$22$1,147
32$21$1,168
33$20$1,188
34$19$1,207
35$18$1,225
36$17$1,242
37$16$1,258
38$15$1,273
39$14$1,287
40$13$1,300
41$12$1,312
42$11$1,323
43$10$1,333
44$9$1,342
45$8$1,350
46$7$1,357
47$6$1,363
48$5$1,368
49$4$1,372
50$3$1,375
51$2$1,377
52$1$1,378

Flexible 52-Week Money Saving Challenge

The flexible money saving challenge can be fun and maybe more realistic depending on your income, bills, and expenses. This version involves 52 weeks, where you’ll save anywhere from $1 to $52, but the order doesn’t matter.

In the first week, you might save $7. If that’s the case, cross off $7 (you can use the chart from the 52-week money saving challenge) and save a different amount next week. Keep crossing the numbers off as you use them, and by the end, each number should be used once.

The end result is that you’ll save the same $1,378, but you have more flexibility with the amount you save for a given week.

Family Saving Money

365-Day Money Saving Challenge

This savings challenge is also called the penny challenge. You start by saving $0.01 on the first day, and you increase the amount saved by $0.01 each day. On the final day you’ll save $3.65.

Throughout the course of a year, you can save $667.95 by following this challenge.

Bi-Weekly Saving Challenge

If you get a paycheck every two weeks (26 paychecks per year), the bi-weekly money challenge may be a good option. You’ll save money for each week, but you’ll actually set the money aside every other week when you get your check.

You’ll save $3 with your first paycheck ($1 for week one + $2 for week two). You’ll save $7 with your second paycheck ($3 for week three + $4 for week four), and so on. It’s basically the same as the 52-week challenge, but you’ll set money aside every two weeks instead of every week.

The end result is the same, $1,378 saved.

Pay PeriodDepositBalance
1$3$3
2$7$10
3$11$21
4$15$36
5$19$55
6$23$78
7$27$105
8$31$136
9$35$171
10$39$210
11$43$253
12$47$300
13$51$351
14$55$406
15$59$465
16$63$528
17$67$595
18$71$666
19$75$741
20$79$820
21$83$903
22$87$990
23$91$1,081
24$95$1,176
25$99$1,275
26$103$1,378

Twice Per Month Saving Challenge

If you get paid twice per month (24 paychecks per year), this one is a good option for you. This one is close to the bi-weekly challenge, but the numbers are a little different because you’ll have two fewer paychecks.

With this savings challenge, you will save a specific amount for each paycheck. You can use the chart below to know how much to save. The end result is still $1,378 saved.

Pay PeriodDepositBalance
1$6$6
2$15$21
3$24$45
4$27$72
5$31$103
6$33$136
7$35$171
8$39$210
9$43$253
10$47$300
11$51$351
12$55$406
13$59$465
14$63$528
15$67$595
16$71$666
17$75$741
18$79$820
19$83$903
20$87$990
21$91$1,081
22$95$1,176
23$99$1,275
24$103$1,378

Monthly Saving Challenge

If you’re paid monthly, you may like this challenge the best. You’ll be saving a specific amount each month, and that amount will increase throughout the challenge. Of course, you can also create your own adaptation if you don’t want to save these amounts in that specific order.

The end result is still $1,378 saved. You can use the chart below to know how much to save each month.

MonthDepositBalance
1$21$21
2$45$66
3$70$136
4$74$210
5$90$300
6$106$406
7$122$528
8$138$666
9$154$820
10$170$990
11$186$1,176
12$202$1,378

100 Envelope Money Challenge

If you’re looking for a fun way to save money, try the 100 envelope money challenge (you may also see it referred to as the “100 envelope challenge” or the “100-day money challenge.”

You’ll start with 100 envelopes and every number 1 through 100 on one of the envelopes. Each day you’ll pull one of the envelopes at random. Based on the envelope number, you’ll insert that amount of cash and set it aside. For example, if you select envelope number 21, you’ll put $21 into the envelope.

Take a new envelope each day, and by the end of 100 days, you’ll have $5,050 saved! This is a fantastic way to save $5,000 quickly, although it may not be easy to save that much money in just 100 days.

This $5,000 savings challenge is an ideal option for anyone who wants to aggressively build up savings quickly.

Related: How to Save $5,000 in a Year

Savings

No Spend Challenge

A no-spend challenge gives you flexibility regarding the length and the “rules” related to spending money. Many people like to do a no-spend challenge for one month, but the length is up to you.

You could challenge yourself to not spend money on anything outside of necessities. As an alternative, you could pick a specific category or type of expenses you want to eliminate for that period of time.

For example, you could stop eating at restaurants or buying your lunch every day. You could decide to spend no money on clothes for the next month. The details are up to you. A more aggressive approach will allow you to set aside more money.

Of course, the amount you save through a no-spend challenge will vary depending on what you cut out and for how long.

Spare Change or Rounding Up Challenge

Another option is to save all of your spare change/coins. If you use cash to buy something and get two quarters back, you could put them in a piggy bank or jar and let the change add up.

This can add up quickly or slowly, depending on how many purchases you make with cash.

When I was a teenager, I bought a PlayStation by saving spare change.

A similar option is to round up your purchases. You could use the Acorns app to automatically invest your rounded-up money from credit card purchases. The app monitors your spending. If you buy a drink for $1.75, it will round up to $2, and invest the $0.25 for you.

Another way to round up is through your bank (if offered). I have a savings account that rounds up every purchase I make with a debit card (from my checking account). The difference to the next dollar amount is automatically transferred from the checking account to the savings account.

If you use a debit card a lot (I used to, but don’t anymore), you can wind up with a nice amount of money in the savings account.

12-Week Money Saving Challenge

Want to save money quickly? If so, this one is a nice choice.

You’ll save a different amount each week, somewhere between $65 – $100. By the end of 12 weeks, you’ll save $1,000. This is a great option if you’re trying to build up an emergency fund or saving for an upcoming trip.

You can get a printable from Mint Notion.

12-Week Money Saving Challenge

12-Month Challenge

This challenge involves saving money each month, but the amounts differ from the monthly savings challenge listed above. With this challenge, you’ll save a total of $1,050 by saving amounts ranging from $25 – $150 per month.

You can get a printable from The Extra Income Project.

12-Month Money Saving Challenge

Final Thoughts on a Money Saving Challenge

You don’t have to use money-saving challenges to improve your financial situation, but they can help to provide extra motivation to change spending habits and to make saving more fun. They’re also fantastic for turning saving into a group activity by inviting friends to take the money challenge along with you. Financial success is even more fun with friends.

In this article, we’ve shared several challenges you can use to boost your savings account. Choose one that works well for your situation (we love the 52-week money challenge and the 100-envelope challenge) and commit to completing it. It’s one of the most effective ways to reach your savings goals.

READ NEXT: 9 Steps to Financial Independence

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