If you want to reach the end of the year a little richer (or, more specifically, £1500 richer), then it’s time to say hello to the 365-day money challenge.
We all know the usual ‘tricks’ to saving pennies: making our own sandwiches and taking them to work puts an end to all those expensive takeaway lunches, while cutting out booze for an entire year could save us a whopping £787. Pret offers t a 50p discount for using your own cup, but making our own hot drinks in the office kitchen (rather than, y’know, nipping to Starbucks or Costa) could save us £500. And making your own porridge in the office kitchen can prove a money-saver, too: one woman saved £165 in a single month by ditching the on-the-go breakfast in favour of stashing oats under her desk.
That being said, though, life is all about the little pleasures – and restricting ourselves to limp homemade cheese-and-marmite sandwiches every single lunchbreak doesn’t sound all that fun.
Thank goodness, then, that there’s a pain-free alternative.
The clever folks at Apartment Therapy have come up with the 365-day money challenge, which guarantees that you’ll have saved an extra £1500 come the end of the year.
So what do we need to do?
Well, it’s all pretty simple: set aside £1 a day, working your way up throughout the week – so on Sunday, you save £1, £2 on Monday, £3 on Tuesday, and continue on until Saturday, when you put aside £7.
Then, every Sunday, you restart at the £1 mark.
By doing this religiously, you’ll save £28 a week, or £112 a month. Come the end of the year, you’ll have stashed away £1,456 – which should help out a little with that post-Christmas fugue.
It makes sense that we should be more mindful with money as opposed to simply make a point of transferring some leftover cash to your savings account. As Michelle Pearce-Burke, co-founder of Wealthify famously told us, we should always make a point of doing things the other way round.
“Spend what you don’t save; don’t save what you don’t spend: if you approach savings as an afterthought, you’ll never get far,” she said.
“Treat savings as importantly as any other outgoing and you’ll soon find you’re building up a good quality pot of money.”
You can attempt the 365-day money challenge by depositing coins into a jar (some people feel more productive if they use cash). However, if you really want to go down the minimal effort route, Apartment Therapy suggest that you set up a recurring automatic weekly transfer of £28.
If you’re still trying to figure out how to monitor your money habits, Kath Kelly, author of How I Lived a Year on Just a Pound a Day, has some counter-intuitive advice: don’t monitor your spending.
“I don’t think keeping track of your spending is worth while, and it can be quite bleak,” she previously told Stylist.
“If you go out with a small amount of money – make it more fun. See how much you can come back with and get the family involved – see how well they can do in a day. Make it positive rather than negative, think “how well can I do with a little bit” not, “how much can I do without”.”
You can find Kelly’s 10 tips for cutting costs and spending money here.