Skip To Content

    11 Money-Saving Challenges That Just Might Actually Work

    Challenge accepted.

    It's always nice to have a little cash tucked away for everything from emergencies to vacations to holiday shopping. But saving money is HARD.

    Warner Bros. / Via giphy.com

    Luckily, the internet has gifted us with some money-saving challenges that might not only help you save some cash, but also seem kind of fun? So go forth, get that bread, and grow that savings account.

    1. The 52-Week Savings Challenge

    Paramount Pictures / Via giphy.com

    This challenge, as you might have guessed, helps you save money over the course of one year. The best part is you start off small β€” in the first week you only have to save $1. Then, each week you increase your savings amount by an additional $1 until you're putting away $52 on the last week of the year. At the end, you'll have saved $1,378! If you're looking for more bang for your buck, try upping the increments to $5, $10, or even $20.

    2. Weather Wednesdays

    A screenshot of a weather app with a high of 91 circled in black and text "living in los angeles problems"
    Kirby Beaton/BuzzFeed

    On Wednesdays, we save money. Every Wednesday for an entire year, you're going to put away the amount of money equal to the high temperature in your city. So if it's a high of 101 degrees during the summer, you better bet you're saving $101, baby. Even if you don't live somewhere very hot, you'll still save a good chunk of money, and β€” if you ask me β€” it's kind of fun being surprised with the amount you have to save every week.

    3. No Spend Challenge

    Kirby Beaton/BuzzFeed

    Obviously, spending NO money at all is pretty unrealistic, but trying not to buy anything beyond essentials might help you save up a lot of cash very fast. Whether it's for a week, a month, or even a year, try to avoid spending money on anything that isn't absolutely necessary, whether that's takeout, new shoes, or drinks with friends. Keep track of what you would have spent, and put that amount into your savings!

    4. 365 Day Penny Challenge

    A close up of a palm with a penny in it and an arrow points to text "saving the first of many pennies"
    Kirby Beaton/BuzzFeed

    This challenge is the definition of "pinching every penny." On day one, you only have to save one penny. That's it! But every day after that, you'll add one more penny to that amount, until the last day when you're putting $3.65 in the bank. And while that might not sound like a lot, by the end you'll still have saved $667, which isn't a bad trade for your spare change

    5. Coffee Break Challenge

    A hand holds up a mason jar of coffee encircled in a drawn heart and text "this coffee saved me $4"
    Kirby Beaton/BuzzFeed

    Look, you're not going to save enough money to buy a house just by cutting back on your Starbucks lattes, but that doesn't mean you can't save some money. Try making coffee at home whenever possible, and, as a reward, put whatever you would have spent on a drink into a jar or savings account. You could try this for a month, or make it a permanent lifestyle change β€” whatever works for you!

    6. Envelope System Challenge

    An open envelope full of bills and coins with text "your grocery money" along the envelope flap
    Francesco Carta Fotografo / Getty Images

    If you struggle with impulse spending, this cash-only challenge is for you. First, decide how much money you need to budget for your expenses, such as groceries, takeout, shopping, etc. Then, every month, withdraw only that amount in cash and put it in envelopes labeled with each category (i.e. a budget of $200 in your "groceries" envelope). The goal is to only use that cash for each category, so, for example, once your grocery cash is gone, you can't spend any more for the rest of the month.

    7. The $5 Savings Challenge

    A hand holds up a $5 bill with a drawn speech bubble coming from Lincoln's mouth that reads "save me, pls"
    Kirby Beaton/BuzzFeed

    Five dollars: the cost of a latte, the delivery charge on takeout, or the price of a pint of ice cream at the store. All necessary evils at times (especially in 2020!), but also a simple way to save a whole lot of money. For an entire year, stash away every $5 bill you come across in a piggy bank, box, or jar. At the end of the year, crack it open and count the results!

    8. Money-Saving Bingo

    A hand crosses off a number on a Bingo sheet over a floral tablecloth
    Lucas Ninno / Getty Images

    Why not make saving money fun? Download a pre-made bingo template of 30 squares containing random dollar amounts that all add up to $500. Every day for a month, choose a square, save that amount, and then cross it off. When you've marked every number, you'll have saved $500. If you want to save more or less, you can create your own bingo board with different amounts.

    9. 100 Envelope Challenge

    A TikTok screenshot showing "$1" written on an envelope and text explaining how to complete the challenge
    @kristazahron / Via tiktok.com

    This challenge, which has gone viral on TikTok, is supposed to help you save $5,000 in just one year. Label 100 envelopes with the numbers 1 to 100. Then, every week pick two random envelopes and put the amount of money written on the envelopes inside. If you don't carry cash, transfer the amount into your savings account. For something less challenging, cut it down to six months and only use 50 envelopes.

    10. Receipt Savings Challenge

    A hand holds a receipt with "total savings $16" circled in red with overlaid text reading "putting $16 in the bank!"
    Kirby Beaton/BuzzFeed

    You know how at the very end of your loooooooong CVS receipt it will say something like, "You saved $10.61 today?" Well this challenge ~challenges~ you to actually save that money. Every time you shop, check your receipt for your "savings," and then put that amount of money aside. It might not seem like a lot, but it definitely adds up.

    11. Bad Habit Money Jar Challenge

    A clear jar full of $1 bills next to a cactus with text "all my missed workouts" with an arrow to the jar
    Kirby Beaton/BuzzFeed

    We've all got a bad habit or two. This challenge not only encourages you to save money, it'll help you kick some of those vices. It's pretty simple: Get a jar (or savings account) and put a set amount of money inside every time you give in to your bad habit, whether it's having a cigarette, waking up past noon, or skipping your workout.

    Have you tried any of these challenges? Know another one we missed? Tell us in the comments below!

    Want awesome DIY tips in your inbox three times a week? Sign up for the BuzzFeed DIY newsletter!

    Newsletter signup form