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How to save money: 8 saving challenges to help you get started

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Lauren Geall
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Looking to save some money? Try one of these easy saving challenges to get started. 

With the government’s plan to ease England out of lockdown now well underway, there’s hope that a ‘normal’ summer may be in reach after all. Things are always subject to change, but after over a year of pandemic-related anxiety and government press conferences, it’s nice to get excited and make plans once again. 

The only problem? While it’s fun to joke about never turning down plans again and booking every festival, event and staycation under the sun, there’s also the issue of money to deal with.

Of course, there are ways to have fun without spending loads of money, and it’s OK if you don’t fancy getting back out there just yet. But if you do fancy getting involved with as much as possible this summer, you’re probably going to want to put some money aside to ensure you’re ready – and that’s where the concept of a saving challenge could help.

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Designed to help you build up a ‘pot’ of money, saving challenges are a great way to start saving money if you’re not used to doing so, and can help to keep you on track with your saving over a set period of time. 

It’s worth noting that there are plenty of other ways to save money, and if you want to get serious about saving, it’s probably worth talking to an expert or doing some further research before you get started. 

But if you do want to save a little extra cash – whether that’s for this summer, to treat yourself when the pandemic is over or simply to put away some money for the future – then these challenges could be a great place to start.  

The £5 Challenge

The premise behind this savings challenge from Barclays is really simple – every time you buy something that costs more than £20, you put away another £5 into your savings pot.

It may sound daunting to try and put £5 away every time you spend, but if you can make it work, it’s a great way to give your savings pot a boost in a relatively short amount of time.

Plus, knowing everything you buy is going to ‘cost’ you £5 more will motivate you to try and make savings wherever possible, like buying a slightly cheaper version or waiting until something is on sale to purchase.  

A five pound note
The £5 challenge is a great place to start.

The Monday To Friday Challenge

If you want to start getting into the habit of saving but don’t have lots of money to put aside, then this challenge could be a great place to start.

Again, the premise is pretty simple – start by putting £1 away on Monday, and then, with every day that passes, increase the amount you save by a pound (e.g., £2 on Tuesday, £3 on Wednesday). By the end of the week, you’ll have saved £11.

It may not sound like much, but if you were to keep up this challenge for the whole year, you’d save an extra £572. And if you wanted to really push yourself, you could always keep it going on Saturday and Sunday and save £24 a week instead (which adds up to £1248 a year). 

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The 1p Challenge

To take part in the 1p savings challenge, all you need to do is increase the amount you save everyday by 1p. That means that you’d start by putting away 1p, then 2p and so on.

Although the 1p challenge was originally designed as a year-long challenge starting on 1 January, there’s nothing to stop you joining halfway through (you’d start by saving £1.05 today and then increasing from there if so) or starting from scratch and building up until you hit £3.65 this time next year.

If you bank with Monzo, you can even set up your account to do this challenge automatically. 

The Weekly ‘No Spend Day’ Challenge

Although you won’t necessarily see the amount of money you save via this challenge by Chloé (@chloesdealclub on Instagram), it definitely works.

To take part, all you need to do is pick one day of the week where you won’t spend any money. You can change the day you do this on every week if you fancy, but make sure you have at least one 24-hour period where no money leaves your account.  

The Rainy-Day Challenge

Barclays originally came up with this challenge to get people saving in April (the month of April showers and all), but you could get started in any month if you fancy it.

Inspired by the concept of a ‘rainy day fund’ – savings you have kept back in case of an emergency – the challenge requires you to put away money every time it rains for a month. All you need to do is choose the amount of money you want to save each time (a good starting point is £5) and get started.

It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s a great way to stay on top of saving throughout the month, rather than waiting until the very end to put some money away. 

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The Pence Transfer Challenge

There are a number of different ways to go about introducing this challenge by the Mind Over Money Matters blog into your life, but the concept of it is simple: when your bank account has a pence balance (e.g., £148.68 rather than £148.00) you transfer that number of pence to your savings account.

You could choose to do this either every time you spend, at the end of every day or just whenever you check your account, depending on how frequently you want to save.

While the amount saved each time may not feel like much (in the example above, you’d ‘only’ put away £0.68), it will quickly add up. 

A pile of money
Saving challenges are a great way to help you get more familiar with putting money aside.

The Round-Up Challenge

In a similar vein to the pence transfer challenge, the round-up challenge requires you to ‘round up’ the amount you pay each time you spend. This would mean that, if you were to spend £4.49, you’d transfer £0.51 into your savings to round your total up to £5.

If you don’t fancy doing the mental math yourself, lots of banks now have this feature built into their mobile apps, so you can switch it on and get saving straight away. 

The Weather Wednesdays Challenge

This challenge, originally started by the personal finance blogger Trendy Money, is kind of ingenious – and with nine weeks left until 21 June, you could save up a decent amount of money just in time for summer.

To get started, all you need to do is open your weather app every Wednesday, record the average temperature (if you want to save more money, do it in Fahrenheit) and then transfer that amount of money to your savings pot.

As the weather warms up over the next couple of months, this is an easy way to put away a reasonable sum and make saving part of your weekly routine.  

Speak to a financial adviser registered with the Financial Conduct Authority before taking any financial advice, and think carefully before making any decision. 

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Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s junior digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and work. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time.