8 savings challenges to get your money moving

07 February 2023


Jonathan Smith
Jonathan Smith
Coins fall into piggy bank

Searching for some motivation with your money? Then the saving challenges we’re going to discuss here might be right up your street.

Whether a friend told you or you’re following the latest TikTok trend, you’ve probably come across money saving challenges. If you struggle to stick to a routine, they’re a great way to kickstart your habit. And, the start of a new year is the ideal time to dive in.

To get you started, here are some of our favourite money challenges. We’ve tried to pick a variety, so there’s probably at least one that works for you. Take a look!

1p challenge

Difficulty: Easy

Let’s start with a classic. If you’ve heard anything about savings challenges before, there is a good chance it was the 1p saving challenge.

This strategy is pretty straightforward, as you just save an amount of money to match the day number of the challenge. That means on day 1, you save 1p, then add a penny for each subsequent day, until you’re saving £3.65 by the last (365th) day. Doing this over the course of a year means you can save up £667.95!

The 1p challenge is simple to calculate and easy to stick to. You won’t find it demanding on your finances. Another plus is that you can do it by transferring money or saving real cash. But, remember that if you start soon, it means the most intense months will be around Christmas.

Spare change challenge

Difficulty: Easy

Keeping things simple, let’s check out the spare change challenge. It is worth pointing out up front that this one isn’t suitable if you never pay with cash.

This challenge is similar to when you were putting your pocket money into a piggy bank as a child. The premise is simple: whenever you have spare change, put it in a jar. Then, take it to the bank once it’s full. Top tip: try keeping your jar near the front door so you can make a deposit every time you come home.

If you’re a habitual cash user, this challenge will work really well. And, if you have young children, you can get them involved by counting out the coins together — a great way to sneak in some extra numeracy practice!

Unsubscribe challenge

Difficulty: Easy

The unsubscribe savings challenge is a little bit different, and you need to do some homework before you start.

First, you’ll need to review the subscriptions that you’re signed up for and decide which ones to give up. Next, add up how much you’ll no longer be spending in total, then set up a standing order to pay that amount into your savings each month.

There is a double benefit to this monthly savings challenge. It makes you take a look at your inessential spending and then decide whether it’s necessary. It also helps you save an amount that you’re already comfortable with, and is within your existing budget.

No spend challenge

Difficulty: Medium

The no spend challenge is another strategy that involves redirecting expenses into your savings. It’s simple: pick something that you’re willing to give up for a month, then make sure you don’t spend any money on it. At the end of the month, you should have some extra funds you can move over to your savings.

This challenge is a great way to review how much you actually spend on some of your non-essentials. Whether it’s takeaways, shopping, nights out, or something else, some moderation can help to boost your savings.

52 week saving challenge

Difficulty: Medium

If you’re looking for a simple weekly saving challenge to put away money with more intensity, the 52 week challenge could be for you.

Here, you save an amount that matches the week number in the year. For example, in week one, you save £1, and by week 52, you save £52. As the year progresses, and your deposits go up, things get more challenging, so that’s something to keep in mind.

By the end of the 52 weeks, you will have built up a pot of £1,378, which is quite a nice amount to begin your long term saving goals.

Temperature savings challenge

Difficulty: Medium

Enjoy some variety in your life? You may be interested in taking up a savings challenge that changes like the weather — literally! Just pick a day each week. Then, on that day, check the weather to see what the highest temperature will be, and save that amount.

Yes, it sounds a little bit wacky, but it will keep you on your toes with a different amount each week (and each season!). You’ll make more intensive deposits during the summer and less so in the winter, when money can be a bit tighter. And no, if the temperature drops to negative degrees, you don’t get to spend or withdraw that amount!

Payday percentage challenge

Difficulty: Challenging

If you want a saving strategy that gets progressively more challenging, then the payday percentage challenge could be for you. It isn’t complex, but does require some maths to calculate each deposit. Essentially, you’ll save a percentage of your monthly income based on the month. So, in January this is 1%, but, by December, you hit 12%.

Obviously, your total savings depend on your income level. If, for example, you earn the median UK wage of £33,280, your total savings over the year will come to £2,163. This is based on a January deposit of £27.73 and ending on a December amount of £332.76.

£5 weekly challenge

Difficulty: Tough

Looking to save a large amount over a year? The £5 challenge is tough but rewarding, and it will see you deposit over £7,000.

You’ll be saving growing amounts multiples of 5. This means that you start off small with a deposit of just £5 in week 1, then £10 in week 2, and so forth. However, by the end of the challenge you’ll be saving much larger amounts, ending on a £260 deposit in week 52. Mighty oaks from little acorns grow!

This is a weekly savings challenge that you should only take on if you’re confident that you can afford the larger deposits at the end.