It’s easy to set goals but it requires a lot of dedication and patience to achieve them. That’s one of the reasons why most New Year’s Resolutions go unfulfilled. People are quick to make all sorts of claims about trying to better themselves, but following through on their promises requires persistence.
Challenging ourselves is a great way to bring some accountability and discipline in our lives. Whether that’s for achieving any goal or for meeting the expectations that others may place upon us. Challenging ourselves to push our limits, to step out of the comfort zone is a method that’s proven to work.
A lot of people have trouble managing their money. Whether that’s the inability to prevent themselves from making impulse purchases or simply the reluctance to set a budget and stick to it for the rest of the month.
These struggles can have a massive impact on their financial future. If they’re unable to balance their budgets, an unexpected significant expense could put their entire life in disarray. They will also be unable to plan for future purchases or expenses just because they don’t manage their money with that kind of foresight.
That’s why the power of challenging yourself is so immense particularly when it comes to adopting financial discipline. By creating a challenge to meet spending targets and savings goals, we can more effectively shore up our finances and be better prepared for the future.
Here are a few money-saving challenges that you can participate in to enhance your finances in 2021.
No Spend Challenge
The no-spend challenge might seem daunting at first but it’s one of the most effective. It’s great for those who have the willpower to sustain such a drastic change to their lifestyle. It’s also a great option for those who want to dive headfirst into money-saving challenges as it pushes their limits.
The approach is quite simple. Identify days or even entire weeks in a month during which you must not spend anything. All of the essentials that you require for your survival or the bills that need to be paid have to be taken care of first. What this challenge forces you to do is reconsider the unnecessary expenses that you might be making throughout the week.
By taking a closer look at those expenses, you can get a better sense of the things that can be cut, enabling you to shore up your finances and save more money in the long run.
No Eating Out Challenge
Who doesn’t like to eat out? It’s a great way to socialize, experience new things, and expand your horizons. However, it can also put your entire budget into disarray if you don’t exercise caution.
The no eating out challenge is going to be tough for most people. It’s an activity that many of us like doing and preventing ourselves from it is going to be challenging. That’s the entire point of this exercise.
Nobody’s saying that you must never eat out ever again in your life. Just make some adjustments. Maybe have one week in the entire month during which you don’t spend a single dollar on dining out. The savings will build up over time.
Try A Different Grocery Store Challenge
Humans are creatures of habit. We get set in our ways and often find it difficult to make changes. Many of us have a preferred grocery store or corner store that we go to for all of our purchases.
This often leaves us impervious to the fact that there may be better deals available elsewhere. Since grocery tends to be our biggest bill other than utilities in a month, there’s potential to make significant savings on our grocery bills.
This challenge would require some due diligence. Whether that’s searching online for better prices or finding discount grocery stores that carry the same items that you’re buying for a higher price at the place you always go to.
52 Weeks Savings Challenge
This is a well-known and highly regarded money-saving challenge. It has been around for quite some time, even long before posting about money-saving challenges became a thing on the internet. You only need to decide how much you’re going to save a week. For example, if you save $5 per week, you’ll end the year with $260 in savings.
This gives you an idea of the potential that this challenge has. If you push yourself to save $100 per week come what may, you’ll have a quite decent-sized fund of $5,200 by the end of the year.
A lot of people take a more incremental approach to this challenge. They start by saving $1 in the first week, $2 in the second, $3 in the third, and so on until they save $52 in the final week of the year. This leaves them with $1,378 when the year is up.
Expense Tracking Challenge
This challenge takes the opposite approach. Instead of actively trying to end up with more money to save, first take a look at how much you’re spending and whether any adjustments can be made.
Use an expense tracking chart or app to diligently track every single expense made throughout the month. This will give you a clear picture of what you’re spending your money on. You might find that spending $500 per month on coffee isn’t a necessity or that you have subscriptions to online services you don’t use but continue to be billed for.
Kick A Bad Habit Challenge
We end up forming habits that cost us a lot of money but then we’re unable to kick them. For example, smokers spend a considerable amount of money every year on cigarettes, not to mention the healthcare expenses they could have as a result of this habit down the line.
Other bad habits can include an addiction to sodas, for example, or going out for coffee multiple times a day. It would require a lifestyle change and that’s the biggest adjustment that most people fear.
However, we have a bigger incentive when challenging ourselves to kick a bad habit. Not only do we end up saving more money but we also stand to benefit from a health and wellness standpoint.
Spare Change Challenge
This is a ridiculously simple challenge that only requires you to be proactive. We collect a lot of change during the month but don’t give it another thought. So the spare change could either end up being forgotten in a drawer, in the car or our pockets.
Challenge yourself to be proactive by keeping the spare change secure. Little by little it’s going to add up. There’s no reason to let that money go to waste.
Find A Better Bank Challenge
Is your bank eating up a lot of your funds every month on account of charges? Does it not provide a high enough interest rate for you to earn a decent return on your deposits? Sounds like you need to challenge yourself to find a better bank!
People tend to be apprehensive about switching banks. They feel that there’s no point in trying to fix something that’s not broken, that it would be too much of a hassle to switch banks, and that they should just be fine with whatever the bank is charging them.
Aspiration is here to change that narrative. It’s an online bank that provides a powerful cash management account. It offers customers the best of both a savings and checkings account in one product with interest rates as high as 1.00% APY.
Aspiration also doesn’t charge any unnecessary fees.
Once you open an account with Aspiration, you can understand the potential benefits of switching to an online bank, and how it can help you shore up your finances in 2021.