Skip to main content
Fulton Bank
Fulton Bank

Need to kickstart your savings? Try one of these 5 viral challenges

As prices for everything from food and gas to utilities increases, saving money has become more difficult. And it’s tempting to dip into your savings for a much-needed vacation, a newer model car, or a Black Friday sale on electronics. Money-saving challenges can help curb your spending and can make saving fun.

A savings challenge turns your personal savings goal into bite-sized accomplishments. By following a few simple techniques, you can create steady saving habits and watch your money grow over time. The “game” aspect of this approach adds structure, achievable goals, and a tracking system into your savings habits.

See which of these (or combination) of these habits might work for you:

1. Cancellation Challenge

Like many of us, you probably have signed up for an app or subscription and lost track of it. In fact, according to a recent report, 66% of consumers underestimated their monthly subscription costs by more than $200 and 42% say they have forgotten about a subscription and continue to be charged for it.

The cancellation challenge means taking the time to evaluate all your subscription services, cancel any you haven’t been using or forgot about and transfer the money you would have spent on them to your savings. You could potentially save up to between $133 and $200 (or more) a month.

Tip: Review your bank and credit card statements and mark any automatic withdrawals that you don’t recognize or have forgotten about.

2. 26-week Savings Challenge

The 26-Week Money Saving Challenge is a proven approach for those looking to embark on a biweekly savings journey.

In the 26-week biweekly money-saving challenge, you can save $1,404 in a year by depositing an increasing amount every other week into a savings account. Start with $4 on the first week and $8 on the second. Add an extra $4 every two weeks until you deposit $106 on week 26. If your goal is to save even more, you can increase your starting amount.

Tip: The key to success includes having an end goal—like a down payment for a car, a vacation, or an emergency fund. Keep motivated by keeping track of your progress.

3. Envelope Challenge

The classic 100-envelope challenge can make it fun to dedicate more cash to savings. In fact, you can save $5,000 in just 100 days. Here’s how it works.

  • Label 100 envelopes from 1 to 100 and put them into a container (binder, box, whatever works for you). You can either keep them in numeric order or mix them up.
  • Then, each day for 100 days, choose an envelope. The number of the envelope you choose is the amount of cash you should put inside it. For instance, you'd put $3 inside envelope #3 and $98 inside envelope #98. Many people choose envelopes randomly to make it a surprise and balance the amounts, it’s easier to save $80 one day and $10 the next.
  • After you put the proper amount of money in the envelope, seal it up and store it somewhere safe.

Tip: Customize it! If saving $5,000 in 100 days isn’t possible, make adjustments that will still challenge you, but fit into your budget. You can halve the amount you put to each envelope. So envelope #3 would get $1.50 stashed inside instead of $3 while envelope #98 would get $49 instead of $98. You can still save approximately $2,500 in 100 days. Or extend the time period to 150 or 200 days. The important part is that you’re saving.

4. The “No-Spend Day” Challenge

The impulse buy at the checkout counter, a latte at the drive-thru coffee shop, or a 20% off online coupon. Over the course of a day, your random purchases can add up. The “no-spend day” challenge is simple. Select a day (or a week or longer) where you don’t spend any money except for necessities. Rent or utility bills would be a necessity, but takeout burger and fries, would not. The key is to make the challenge a game, so it’s about savings, not sacrifice. If you choose one “no spend day” a week, you could save hundreds of dollars or more a month.

Tip: You know your habits best. Do you already have days where you don’t spend? Extend to a week and try a week every month. Examples of unnecessary spending include eating out, new clothes, store-bought snacks, game apps, and movie rentals.

5. Pantry and Refrigerator Challenge

According to a report by Recycle Track Systems, Americans waste an average of approximately one pound of food, per
person, each day. Even over the course of a week, that’s money you’re tossing away. The pantry and refrigerator challenge encourages you to eat as much of the food in your house before buying more groceries. By doing little to no shopping for extra ingredients, you might also be able to increase your meal-planning skills and reduce waste.

Tip: An easy way to get started is to toss any food that is past its expiration date and check the freezer for food that can be defrosted and used during the week.

Whether you want to start simple with a “No Spend” Day or take on the “Envelope Challenge,” not only will you save money, you can transform your overall savings habit. They key is to stay motivated and celebrate the small moves that can lead to big results.

Did you find this article helpful?