7 ways to turn saving money into a game

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7 ways to turn saving money into a game
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Are you working to save money to get out of debt, to retire early or to take your dream vacation? Saving money for big goals can be tedious, but there are ways to make it more fun. If you’re having trouble staying motivated to save money, why not turn saving money into a game? Take the boredom out of saving like those who’ve mastered it!

Here are seven ideas for turning saving money from something tedious into a fun activity.

Read more: 10 cities where you can live large on a $60,000 salary or less

Create motivating and fun goals for the saved money

Having goals always makes work more fun.  If you’re having trouble saving money, find something to save it for. Maybe your goal is to pay cash for a new car or to pay your mortgage off in 10 years instead of 30 years. Or maybe you just haven’t had a decent vacation in a decade. Pick a savings goal or two and keep the goals in mind when you’re deciding to save instead of spend. Having a goal like this can make all the difference and give you some real willpower to save.

Choosing a bank like Capital One 360 can help in that regard too. They have options like “My Savings Goals” and an “Automatic Savings Plan” to help you achieve those goals! Plus, they won’t fee you to death which is another attack against those goals.

Use a money-saving app

Money-saving apps can be a great way to turn saving money into a game. Here are two of my favorite money-saving apps.

Digit

Digit is a free app that helps you save money by analyzing your spending habits when you safely hook it up to your checking account. Digit then pulls out small amounts of cash when it sees you’ve got extra money and puts the money into your Digit savings account. Their “no overdraft guarantee” helps ensure they’ll never pull too much money out of your checking account.

Qapital

Also a free app, Qapital lets you set specific savings goals and specific rules for reaching those goals. The Qapital app has pre-set rules you can use, or you can make up your own.

For instance, their Round Up rule states that for every purchase you make, they’ll round up the difference to the next dollar and put that difference in your Qapital savings account.

The Spend Less rule allows you to set a specific spending limit (say, $100 a month on gas), and then if you are under your limit at the end of the month, Qapital transfers the difference to your savings account.

Have a friendly savings competition

Many people find weight loss success by participating in a weight-loss challenge where the winner gets a cash prize. How about instituting a savings challenge among family and friends?

Each person pays an entry fee of a specified amount, then the person who saves the most money at the end of the challenge wins the pot of cash at the end of the challenge! You could even take money out of the equation and give the winner something else – like a meal made in their honor. Turning savings into a competition among friends can really spur you to spurn those small purchases and boost your savings.

Make a colorful chart or vision board

Colorful charts and boards always go a long way in motivating people to reach goals. In order to help you save more money, you can make a colorful chart that represents each savings goal you meet or a vision board (such as a poster board with pictures of your vacation destination) that will remind you of the reward you’ll get when you meet your savings goal.

Post the chart or board in a prominent place where you’ll see it often. Sticking notes on the mirror you use to get ready in the morning with goal reminders can be another inspiration for you.

Save your small bills/change

Another great way to make saving money into a game is to put a big container, such as a glass milk jug, in a special place in the house. Then commit to putting all change, or change and $1 or $5 bills, into the jug for a specified period of time. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the change and small bills add up to big savings.

Have a “how low can we go?” competition

This is a great competition to have with a spouse or a friend. Pick certain flexible spending categories, such as groceries, gasoline, entertainment or eating out, and see how little you can spend in those areas during a given month.

Find creative ways to cut costs and come in under your budgeted amount in those areas and put the difference into your savings account!

Give mini-rewards for reaching savings goals

It’s always fun to get rewards for doing well. When working to reach a big savings goal, set up a rewards program that rewards you at specified savings intervals for reaching your goals. For instance, if your goal is to save $5,000 in one year, set up rewards that you can give yourself every time you reach a $500 savings increment, such as at the $500 mark, the $1,000 mark and so on.

Pick rewards that don’t cost a lot but bring you joy. Some rewards ideas?

  • A cone at your favorite specialty ice cream shop
  • Go out to see a new movie release at the theater
  • A $10 or less lunch, dinner or happy hour out
  • A cooked-at-home favorite dinner, such as a copycat of your favorite restaurant meal

Those small rewards will help keep your savings goals on track even if those long-term goals are still far from completion.

By turning saving money into a game, you can be sure to reach your savings goals – no matter how lofty they might be – and have fun at the same time.

RELATED: 4 ways to budget with inconsistent income

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Deacon Hayes About the author:
Deacon Hayes is the founder of WellKeptWallet.com which helps people get out of debt in a short period of time. Follow him on Twitter.
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