7 Money-Saving Challenges to Try in 2023 (2024)

Saving just got a lot less boring.

Saving money is a great way to improve your financial security and increase your standard of living. But it can be really hard to lock all that money away when there are so many things you want to buy with it right now. Making a list of your goals and tracking your progress can be helpful, but it doesn't work for everyone.

That's why some people are turning to gamification to help them save, and it seems to be working. One Commonwealth study found that gamification helped customers save 25% more often than people who didn't use this strategy. If you're up for trying it, here are a few money-saving challenges you can try to complete in 2023.

1. No-Spend Challenge

The name pretty much sums up this challenge. You choose a time period you're comfortable with -- it could be a week or a month -- and during that time, you only spend money on essentials. So you'll still pay for your groceries and your mortgage, but you might skip desserts or trips to the movie theater.

Put all the extra cash from your No-Spend Challenge into a high-yield savings account. This will help you earn a higher rate of interest on your funds, which can grow your net worth even faster.

2. 52-Week Saving Challenge

This challenge encourages you to build a savings habit by gradually saving a little more each week. During the first week of the year, you save $1. In the second week, you save $2. And the week after that, you save $3, and so on, until you reach $52 saved for the last week of the year. If you stick with this, you'll have saved $1,378 by the time we ring in 2024.

And you can feel free to tweak this challenge if you feel it's too easy or too difficult. You could increase the amount you save by $5 intervals each week, for example, or aim to increase the amount you save every other week instead of every week.

3. "Who Can Save the Most?" Challenge

This is a great option for those who have a competitive streak or do best when they're working with someone else toward the same goal. Essentially, you compete to see which member of your household can reduce their average monthly spending the most.

Start by looking at a few of your previous month's expenses to get a baseline for what you normally spend. Then, cut discretionary purchases, use coupons, and employ whatever other tactics are necessary to cut your spending as much as possible. At the end of the month, compare your results with the rest of your household. You may even want to set up a prize for the winner.

4. Round-Up Challenge

The Round-Up Challenge involves rounding up every purchase to the nearest dollar and putting the excess change in savings. It might not seem like much, but it could still be possible to save several hundred dollars each year this way, depending on how much you normally buy.

If doing this math sounds too complicated for you, look for a budgeting app or bank account, like Chime, that will do this for you. There are even some investing apps, like Acorns, that have this round-up feature.

5. 2023 Challenge

In honor of the year 2023, make it your goal to save $2,023. This challenge doesn't have a ton of rules, so you can decide how you'll get there. Setting mini-targets along the way (i.e. saving half the total by July 1) is a great strategy for keeping yourself motivated and on track.

6. Pantry Challenge

We're all guilty of buying food that we don't get around to eating or ingredients that go bad before we can use them. This challenge encourages you to cut down on that food waste and slash your grocery bill in the process.

Do your best to use up some of the older items in your pantry before you buy new ones. There are apps out there that can help you find recipes based on the ingredients you already have if you're struggling to come up with ideas on your own. This could even help you find some new favorite dishes.

7. No Dining Out Challenge

If the Pantry Challenge sounds a little too daunting for you, opt for the No Dining Out Challenge instead. This is where you skip restaurants and takeout for a set amount of time. A month is a good starting point for a lot of people. Alternately, you could decide to limit yourself to only going out to eat a certain number of times per month during the year.

Or you could make your own

The above challenges are just suggestions of things you could try. But you know yourself best. If you want to tweak some of the rules above or create your own challenge to help yourself save, go for it. Keep refining it as the year goes on and track your progress to see how much your savings account balance has grown.

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7 Money-Saving Challenges to Try in 2023 (2024)
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