For most people, saving money is a bit of a drag. Delaying gratification isn’t exactly the most exciting proposition. To help you get motivated, consider a savings challenge! Here are seven ideas for you to consider.

No Eating Out Challenge

With restaurant costs on the rise, this challenge is especially relevant. From November of 2020 to November of 2021 restaurant prices increased 5.8% according to Technomic. For this challenge, commit to not eating out at all, or eliminating one restaurant bill per month. While the numbers are hard to estimate, let’s say that your family of four spends $45 once every two weeks going to restaurants, this would work out to $11.25 per person. If you were to take that $90 and save it every month for an entire year, you’ll have stashed away $1,080.

The 100 Envelope Challenge

The envelope challenge has risen in popularity over the last couple of years. Here’s how it works. You take 100 envelopes and write numbers 1 to 100 on them. You select an envelope at random every day and place into the envelope the cash equivalent to the number on the front. To track your progress and maintain motivation, we recommend placing all of the filled envelopes in a small box. On the top, draw a little thermometer. Every time you put money into an envelope, color in the thermometer. At the end of 100 days, you’ll have saved $5,050.

You could tweak this challenge to instead fill an envelope each week. At that rate it will take just under two years to complete. This would mean you would save around $210 per month on average.

No Spend Challenge

For those ready to get really serious, consider the no spend challenge. In this challenge, you commit to not spending any extra money outside of your gas, groceries, housing costs, or other bills. This would mean you’re not spending money on new clothes, eating out (or getting coffee), buying things on Amazon, or purchasing any home décor. You can start with just a week or even an entire month.

52- Week Challenge

In this challenge that takes an entire year, you save $1 the first week, $2 the second week, and continue increasing the amount for every week of the year. At the end of 52 weeks, you’ll have saved $1,378 in total.

6 Month Vacation Savings Challenge

A 2019 Harris Poll found that the average American charges $1,467 on their credit card to pay for their summer vacation. The vacation savings challenge is focused on the idea of saving money, rather than using a credit card, to pay for your family’s time of rest and relaxation this summer. Here’s how it works, in online banking set up a transfer of $50 every week to go into a sub-savings account titled “Vacation.” More on sub-savings accounts below. At the end of 26 weeks, you will have $1,300 in your savings account and you’ll be ready to hit the beach!

Coffee Replacement Savings Challenge

If you’re one of those people who likes to visit the local coffee stand for your morning cup of joe, this challenge is for you. Home-brewed coffee costs can range from between $.25- $.45 per cup. The average cost of a coffee from a shop is between $3- $4.50. Every day that you forego hitting up the coffee shop, go into online banking, click “transfer”, and move $4 from your checking account into a sub-savings account with the name of your choosing. Going in and transferring the money over slowly like this is a way for you to feel good, rather than deprived, for not spending it. If you do this five days a week for an entire year, you’ll have saved $1,040.

Cancellation Savings Challenge

Americans have on average four streaming subscriptions costing on average $47 per month according to Vanity Fair. With most costing less than $10 a pop, adding a new subscription is easy to do. With this challenge, you commit to cancelling one, two, or all your streaming subscriptions and, instead, putting that money into a savings account. Let’s say you cancel two subscriptions for a total of $16 per month. At the end of the year, you will have saved $192.

Final Tips for WECU Members

There are three easy things you can do to move towards your savings goals.

Our Biggest Tip for Success

One of our biggest tips for success is to consider setting up sub-savings accounts for your savings goals. By having savings accounts with names like “vacation”, “new car”, or “home improvements”, you’ll feel good by visually seeing the growth in the account towards your longer-term goal.

In WECU mobile banking, go to “More” in the bottom right of the screen, scroll down to the “other” category and click on “Open an Account”, select “Savings Account”, and fill out the form. In a couple of days, a representative from WECU’s Contact Center will reach out to confirm the details and you’ll soon see the account show up in your mobile app and online banking.

Save the Difference

The way to save is by signing up for Save the Difference. Visit this page to sign up

Using this free feature, every time you swipe your debit card, we’ll round up your transaction to the nearest dollar amount. For example, let’s say you spend $6.25, $.75 would be deposited into the savings account you’ve identified. Your savings account will grow automatically and without much pain, as transaction amounts are very small.

Automatic Transfers

In the WECU mobile app it’s very easy to set up automatic transfers that occur weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually.

In the app, click on “Move Money” at the bottom, select “Transfer Money”, choose which account the money is coming from and which it’s going to, at the bottom right select “Recurring” and click continue. Then, select the start date and how frequently you want the transfer to be made. After you submit, the money will be transferred as you instructed. You won’t even have to think about it but you’ll feel good seeing your saving (or sub-savings) account slowly grow over time!

Bottom Line

No matter where you find yourself in life, you can save money! Even if it’s pennies at a time, slow and steady progress will get you closer to your long-term financial goals. We wish you the best of luck and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help.