Are you hoping to save more money in 2018? If so, participating in a New Year’s money challenge may provide the motivation you need to reach your financial goals!
The key is to find one that’s achievable — and get family or friends involved to hold yourself accountable.
RELATED: My 7 best money-saving tips for 2018
5 New Year’s money-saving challenges to try
Team Clark has rounded up a handful of money challenges — including some that we came up with ourselves — so that you can choose the one that’s right for you.
1. Save $2,018 in 2018
How would an extra $2,018 in your bank account change your life?
Maybe you would use it to pay off an outstanding debt, take a vacation, contribute to a Roth IRA, spruce up your home, pay down the mortgage or add it to your new car fund.
Team Clark is challenging you to save $2,018 in 2018! It all starts with an $18 deposit in week one.
With this challenge, you’ll transfer a specific amount to your savings account every week for 52 weeks, which adds up to $2,018 before interest.
Just follow these two steps to get started:
- Print out the Save $2,018 in 52 weeks challenge and hang it up where you’ll see it often.
- Open a new savings account or designate an existing savings account to make the weekly deposits from your checking account.
Follow Team Clark on social media and sign up for our newsletter to keep up with the challenge!
2. Save an extra $1,000 this year!
This next money-saving chart comes to us from Jamie Jeffers of the blog Medium Sized Family. Just cross off one box per week until you’re done — and you’ll be $1,000 richer!
This challenge is a great option if you have inconsistent income. It’s both flexible and fun!
“I’ve pulled together a variety of amounts of money that add up to $1,000. This chart allows you to pick and choose the best amount of money to line up with the kind of week you’re having,” Jeffers wrote on her blog.
MORE DETAILS: This simple chart will help you save $1,000 in a year
3. 12-week money challenge
If you don’t like the idea of having to transfer a specific amount to your savings account every week, try my 12-week challenge that’s focused on action items — not dollar amounts.
Your challenge is to do one thing each week to improve your financial situation — increasing earnings, reducing spending or both — and save $1,000 or more over 12 weeks.
The best part is that you can customize this challenge with specific action items that apply to your life!
For example, if you’ve recently switched cell phone providers, plug in another challenge in that spot. Click here to print out a blank 12-week challenge to fill in yourself!
MORE DETAILS: Save $1,000 in 2018 with the 12-week money challenge
4. $5 savings challenge
If you tried to save every $5 bill you came across, how much money would you have at the end of the year? You can find out with the $5 savings challenge.
Whenever you end up with a $5 bill, put it in your piggy bank along with your spare change — just don’t spend it!
Blogger Marie Franklin made a game out of saving every $5 bill about 13 years ago and says she has socked away nearly $38,000 since then.
This method is a great way to save if you budget primarily with cash.
MORE DETAILS: Save thousands in 2018 starting with just one $5 bill
5. Save your savings challenge
If you take a look at the bottom of your receipts, most of them will tell you how much you “saved” by purchasing items at a discount.
But does buying things on sale get you any closer to retirement? After all, you’re still spending money.
For the last two months of 2017, I set a goal to “save my savings.” I added up the “you saved” amounts listed on the bottom of my receipts and transferred the total to my bank account —$162.36 for November.
The more I “save” at retailers, the more my savings account balance grows. It’s that simple!
5 ways to save money without making sacrifices
Now that you’ve decided to try a New Year’s money challenge, what’s next? Make a plan to come up with the money!
For the past year, I’ve been writing a column for Clark.com called Michael Saves to provide quick and easy ways to save by putting various money-saving strategies to the test.
I’ve managed to reduce my spending by thousands of dollars without sacrificing quality of life.
For example, eliminating the daily trip to Starbucks saves about $500 a year, but many people just don’t want to make their coffee at home — and that’s okay if they can reduce spending elsewhere.
Here are five ways to save money that don’t involve taking something away:
1. Lower your monthly cell phone bill: If you haven’t looked for a cheaper cell phone plan in the last six weeks, you may be paying too much. I lowered mine to just $12 a month!
2. Negotiate a lower pay TV/internet rate: You don’t even need to pick up the phone. Trim is a digital assistant that negotiates with your cable and internet provider for a better rate.
3. Switch insurance providers: Shop around to get the same auto and home insurance coverage for a lower price! Start with this list of the best providers and call up a few of them to compare quotes.
4. Get the best price on prescription drugs: Download free apps GoodRx and LowestMed to search pharmacies for discounts and coupons. You may find prices even lower than your insurance co-pay.
5. Change up your shopping routine: If your food spending is out of control, try a different grocery store! That’s one of the ways I cut my food spending by $1,200 in one year.