After paying off $45,000 of debt and saving $50,000 for a down payment on a house, you would think I would have this whole finances thing figured out. And while on paper, that may look impressive, the reality is there were a lot of setbacks along the way. The journey was much longer and bumpier than a sentence can truly convey.
Every now and then, my husband and I have to reel in our finances because we’re trying to reach a specific financial goal. While we make a comfortable amount of income these days and save between 20-30% of our take-home pay every month, we are still always challenging ourselves to earn more, save more, and spend less.
During these moments of buckling down, I turn to my fellow frugal bloggers to see if I can acquire some frugal-spending inspiration.
Enter financial challenges. Financial challenges, where a blogger aims to do something for a designated period of time in an effort to save money, pay off debt, or change spending habits, are the latest craze to hit the interwebs.
Think of them as a diet for your finances.
If you’re finding that you need a swift kick to your finances to get you back on track, here are 5 financial challenges you should consider.
The No-Spend Challenge
By far one of the hardest financial challenges out there, the No-Spend Challenge will definitely feel like a hard jolt to your spending habits, but it may be the lifeline your finances need.
The No-Spend Challenge normally lasts for one month, and participants must abstain from purchasing anything non-essential. Electricity, rent, bills? Essential. Dining out, clothes, Starbucks? Non-essential. Participants are even encouraged to stick to their freezer and pantry to limit their grocery runs.
“It’s not just about ‘let’s save some money for a week;’ it’s about ‘let’s get money out of our lives,” says Jeff Yeager, known as “The Ultimate Cheapskate.”
The No-Dining-Out Challenge
When my husband and I were first married and broke, we only had a budget big enough to go out to dinner twice a month, and even then, we had to keep it to about a $30 maximum. These days, we don’t think twice about ordering take-out and it’s a huge money suck.
The No Dining-Out Challenge is good stepping stone for the person who wants to get their finances back on track, but isn’t ready to take on the severity of the No-Spend Challenge.
No Dining-Out means no eating anything that wasn’t made inside your home: no coffee, no frozen yogurt, no lunches that weren’t packed at home.
Many find they save a pretty penny simply by eliminating this one category from their budget.Looking to improve your financial situation? Try these 5 #money-saving challenges! Click To Tweet
If you’ve been trying to build up an emergency fund for a while and keep failing, the 52-week money challenge may be the thing you need.
Save $1 for the first week, $2 for the second week, so on and so forth, so by the 52nd week in the year, you’re saving $52 a week. You’ll end up with $1,378—enough for a small emergency fund, or that mini-vacation you’ve been eyeing.
The No New Clothes Challenge
Stop shopping for any new clothes for a year. See how much you’ll change your attitude toward shopping, and how much your wallet will thank you. Several bloggers have tried this challenge to great success—still, it seems really hard to do!
All these challenges are ways to give you the kickstart you need to get your finances back on track. Not finding one that suits your fancy? Create your own challenge! The trick is to set the rules, stick to a time frame, and then commit!
What are your favorite money-saving challenges? Which ones have you had the most success with?