It’s 2023—Happy New Year! Each new year, we are presented with the opportunity to start fresh, set goals, and explore all of life’s greatest possibilities.

Got some resolutions in mind? If you’re anything like the average American, you’ve probably got quite a few goals that you’d like to tackle this year. Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to save more and spend less? It should come as no surprise, that that’s usually a front-runner for many people, and understandably so. We’d all love a little extra money lining our pockets, especially with inflation and increased prices everywhere we go. But these days, saving any amount of money feels more challenging and more defeating than ever. Thanks to what seems like consistent price hikes on things like groceries and rent, the current cost of living makes saving any additional money seem nearly impossible.

So, why not make a game out of saving money instead? We’ve got a creative way for you to challenge yourself to save money and welcome 2023 with open arms.

What’s a Money-Saving Challenge?

First, though, let’s define what a money-saving challenge is. Its definition is in its name—money-saving challenges are intended to challenge you to save money. Money-saving challenges can be creative, interactive, and entertaining. They are super fun and motivational ways to build good saving and spending habits that’ll improve your overall financial picture and lead a healthier financial lifestyle. Money-saving challenges are intended to motivate and encourage you to save money to help you reach your goals. Whether you’d like to save up for a new home or vehicle, spend less money each month, or break/improve some not-so-great financial habits, money-saving challenges can help you stay on top of your finances, budget, and spending, while helping you achieve your financial goals and dreams.

Ready to get started? Check out some of my favorite money-saving challenges and watch your savings climb to new heights.

52-Week Savings Challenge

I’ll give you an easy challenge first. One year has 52 weeks, so kick off the fun with a 52-week money-saving challenge. This money-saving activity requires you to set an increasing amount of money aside that corresponds to the week of the challenge. For example, for week one, put aside one dollar, week two, put aside two dollars, week three, put aside three dollars, and continue this pattern until you have $1,378 saved by the end of week 52. Since we’re already on week two of the year, be sure to add an extra dollar from last week to this week to get on track.

Or, to put a twist on this classic, you can start backwards and stash your money away in larger amounts by saving $52 week one, $51 week two, $50 week three and so on, so you’ll decrease the amount you put away each week. 

26-Week Savings Challenge

Get paid biweekly? If you prefer to save money the same week you get paid, put your money-saving skills to work with the 26-week money challenge. Save in increments of $3 and continue adding $3 to each week you get a paycheck. So, you’ll start with $3 on your first biweekly paycheck, $6 on the next, $9 on the next, and keep the trend going from there. When you get to week 26, the final week, you should save the last amount in the challenge of $78 to have a total of $1,053.

3-Month Savings Challenge

Not into the idea of committing to something for an entire year? That’s okay, I’ve got something else up my sleeve that could work better for you—a 3-month savings challenge. All you’ve got to do is save $84 every week for three months, and you’ll have a grand total of $1,008 saved at the end.

Match the Weather Saving Challenge

Whether it’s chilly and 35 degrees in the winter or sunny and 98 degrees in the summer, deposit money into your savings that matches the high weather temperature that day. If you’re feeling ambitious, try this challenge every day for a full week or a month (or more). Or save an amount based on the highest temperature of the week for a whole year. You can decide the frequency for how often you’d like to do this weather savings challenge.

100 Envelopes Saving Challenge

For this savings challenge, you’ll need 100 envelopes. Got your envelopes? Good. Now number each of them from 1 to 100. Every day or week, whatever works best for you, pick out an envelope and put the amount of cash inside that corresponds with the number written on the envelope. So, if you grab envelope with the number 44 on it, you’ll need to add $44 to it. When you’ve finished adding money to every single envelope, you’ll have saved $5,050 at the end of the savings challenge. Cha-ching!

No Eating Out Challenge

It’s nice to go out and treat yourself to a delicious meal; you get to avoid the effort of cooking and the hassle of the cleanup, but after a while, eating out can add up pretty quickly. So, challenge yourself to not eat out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner for an entire month and put your cooking skills and meal prepping to the test to see how much you save by eating your meals at home.

No Coffee Challenge

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “Really?! No coffee runs?” And, yes, for a month, or longer if you so choose, I challenge you to bid farewell to your beloved Dunkin’ or Starbucks coffees to save some extra money. That doesn’t mean you have to cut coffee out completely, though. Instead, just brew up your own cup o’ joe at home to save a few extra bucks. Any time you succeed with this challenge, add however much you would have spent on your specially made coffee and reward yourself by putting it into your savings.

Cash Only Challenge

Most people don’t carry cash these days, but I challenge you to carry it for one full month. Yep, you read that right, put the debit and credit cards away, and just keep cash on hand for this challenge. Come up with your budget for the month and account for all your expenses, which will include things like groceries, rent/mortgage, household goods, gas, entertainment, etc. Then head to the credit union to withdraw the cash you’ll need so you won’t be tempted to spend more than what you’ve got on hand.

Loose Change Savings Challenge

Whenever you find spare coins lying around—in purses, clothing pockets, couch cushions, or you get some extra after checking out at the cash register—keep it in a jar or piggy bank. When it gets full, make a trip to the credit union to deposit the money into your savings account. Every penny counts, plus, you may actually be surprised at how quickly change begins to add up.

Penny Savings Challenge

Speaking of pennies, give the beloved penny savings challenge a try. This is similar to the spare change challenge, but for this one, you’ll only be adding pennies to a jar or piggy bank. The penny savings challenge is 365 days long, and you’ll increase the amount you save by 1 penny each day. On day one, you’ll save one penny and add it to the jar or piggy bank, on day two, you’ll increase it to two pennies, three pennies on the third, four pennies on the fourth, five pennies on the fifth, and so on. By day 365, you’ll have saved a whopping $667.95 thanks to pennies!

Put Your Savings Challenges to the Test

Surely, there’s a savings challenge out there for each and every one of us. Maybe it’s one of these on this list, or maybe you’ve got another savings challenge up your sleeve. Either way, saving money is much easier to do when you’re having fun. So, be sure to put your newfound money-saving challenges to the test and keep yourself entertained and motivated to save. Before you know it, you will begin to notice a positive growth in your savings, and that's definitely something you should celebrate and be proud of! 

Chelsea Welk

Chelsea Welk

Chelsea is the Communications Manager at GOLD. She provides Members and future Members with detailed financial information that's aimed to better serve their personal financial goals. Chelsea enjoys working to fulfill GOLD's mission and vision to help make a positive difference in our Members' everyday lives.

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