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5 Money Challenges To Help You Reach Your Financial Goals

This post is sponsored by Lexington Law

Have you ever tried one of these money challenges? They really help you better understand your relationship with money. One of my favorite motivational quotes is along the lines of: “To get places we have never been we oftentimes have to do things we’ve never done.”

While I find this quote inspiring for personal goals, I also find it extremely motivating for financial goals as well. When I consider my financial goals every year, I like to also brainstorm new ways of reaching the goals I set for myself. In my opinion, trying financial challenges can help us not only reach our goals but change our perspective on money along the way.

Challenging ourselves this way can help show us what we can really live without and what we actually feel is necessary. These challenges can help us save money quickly, pay off debt, avoid dipping into emergency lines of credit, and avoid purchasing things for emotional reasons (which is an entire post in itself!).

These five money challenges I outline below focus on saving money. Saving money has so many positive implications — especially for your credit! You can use the money you save to put towards paying down debt will help improve your credit utilization ratio which, in turn, will help improve your credit score.

Related: 4 Habits To Practice Regularly To Improve Your Credit Score

As our friends at Lexington Law say, credit is guiding force of our financial lives. Unless you have massive sums of money banked up, you’ll have to rely on credit at some point in your life. And even if you do have massive sums of money saved or available to you, that might not always be the case. To that point, why set yourself up to not have your credit well-established just in case you need in the future?

If you have questions about your credit, the credit repair consultants at Lexington Law can help you understand your credit profile. They can see if you have inaccurate and unverified negative items on your credit report and work to establish a plan for what comes next. Click here to schedule your free consultation.

Related: Credit Repair: Why It Matters With Lexington Law

5 Money Challenges To Help You Reach Your Financial Goals

1. The 52 Week Savings Challenge

This is a pretty popular challenge that has several different variations. The idea is that you will save a specific amount every single week. You’ll move this money to a savings account that you don’t easily have access to. This help prevent you from dipping into these funds when you might be tempted to get something you don’t really need to buy.

Some variations of this challenge involve saving an increasing amount of dollars every week. So in week one, you’ll save dollar. During week two, two dollars, and so on. 

Here is a 52 week savings challenge we created:

2020 savings challenge

The best thing about a 52-week challenge is that you can set it up however you like! If you want to save $5 or $10 a week, then do it! If you want to increase the amount of money each week, do that. Just pick a method and get to saving! 

2. No-Spend Challenge

I’m a big fan of no-spend challenges and do aim to do one at least once a year. I usually find the best time is January or February because it’s right after the holidays and I’ve been inundated with so many new things from holiday gift-giving and sales.

Essentially with an no-spend challenge you want to avoid spending on excess wants. So anything that falls outside of a “need” category is something you would avoid buying. 

For example, say you typically allow yourself $50 worth of home purchases every month and $100 for fun money. This month, you’ll avoid spending those extra budget dollars and save them instead.

We often buy a lot of things that we don’t need out of convenience, boredom, sadness, or even happiness. We allow ourselves to purchase things to cheer us up or because we “deserve” them. And while it’s nice to allow ourselves nice things, many times all if does is let us spend money and accumulate things we don’t actually want.

Use a no-spend month as a tool to get in touch with your emotions. Every time you *want* to buy something, write it down! Give it a week or two and come back to the list — you most likely would have forgot about the item in the first place. 

3. Pantry Challenge

This is a fun challenge that not only helps you save money on groceries but it helps you reduce food waste as well! 

Go through your pantry and compost or appropriately dispose of anything that has expired. Set aside anything that is close to expiring (a good bet is with an expiration date within the next month). After you’ve done that, pull a couple of recipes that use those items as the main ingredient. The less you need to buy to build meals the better! Get creative with items in your pantry. 

A lot of us usually have enough stuff in our pantries that we can stretch things for at least a couple of weeks. Even with flour and simple baking ingredients we can make things like pizza crust or bread that give us additional opportunities to use up things we have.

Bolster your pantry challenge by also shopping with what is on sale. For example, was there are great deal on bacon and red peppers? Turn that into a unique pizza or add some aioli and arugula for sandwiches. There are many opportunities to save money with a pantry challenge if you have some time to spare and are open to new combinations of food pairings. 

Related: 10 Home Goals To Set In Your 20s

4. Cash Envelope Challenge

Using cash envelopes is a budgeting system that encourages you to set a budget amount for all of your expenses and use envelopes to track your spending and spend physical cash instead of using credit cards. 

You can DIY your own envelopes or buy a pre-made system like this one. My friend Kayla has a great video on how she implements the system in her family here if you want to see the system in action.

Budgeting online and a spreadsheet can leave us feeling very detached from our money. There is something to be said about having to part with physical cash in order to obtain an item. Trying out the cash envelope system can not only help you spend less money on your wants but also help you spend less on the things you need as well. You’ll start to be more aware of how you’re spending your money and how you’re parting with it.

How To Stay Out of Debt This Holiday Season

I share another way to implement the envelope system in my post on how to avoid debt during the holidays! 

5. The Coupon-Only Challenge

Could you shop only buying things with coupons? Over the years I’ve learned that most things go on sale at one point or another. If you’re willing to wait it out and keep an eye on the item, you’ll most likely find that it goes on sale or the brand/company puts out a coupon for the item. 

If it’s not a time-sensitive item, challenge yourself to wait for coupons! They come about and you can take advantage of them and reap the benefits of saving money. I’ve attempted this challenge in the past and was about 80 percent successful and purchased the majority of things I bought during a year on sale. I shared a little bit about how I do this in my post on using up $4,000 worth of beauty products in a year.

I will say that I think it’s worth attempting this challenge. Even if you don’t succeed 100 percent, chances are that you will still save hundreds if not thousands of dollars over the course of a year.

I’d love to know which of these money challenges you are most interested in trying! I believe each of them helps to teach us a valuable financial lesson and improve our overall relationship with money. 

About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.