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So some of you are going to read this list of 3 financial challenges and say, “How on earth could she consider these challenges fun?”
My answer to that is it depends on your attitude. If you really want to pay down debt,or save up for a family vacation despite a tight budget, then these budget stretching challenges can be fun as they will help you reach your financial goals faster.
I will be honest, I have only participated in one of them, but I have been tempted by the other two. I just couldn’t get the family on board to try them and without their involvement these financial challenges are next to impossible to succeed at. These truly are all hands on deck type challenges.
3 Fun Challenges That Will Help You Reach Your Financial Goals
The Pantry Challenge
This is the one challenge in the list of three that I have done. It is relatively simple to do (even if the whole family isn’t on board) if you are the main cook in the family. You simply eat from your cupboard all month long, buying only staples like milk, fresh fruit and vegetables, and eggs.
You will spend some money at the end of the month restocking cupboards, but when I did it I saved roughly $200 in groceries for the month–which is pretty good for a family of five with several special dietary needs.
For all the details, head over to Good Cheap Eats.
The Restaurant Challenge
This one is simple: don’t step inside the doors of a restaurant for an entire month. This means no coffee shops, no ice cream shops, no doughnut shops, basically anywhere you buy made for you food and/or beverages.
The restaurant challenge is good for the pocket book and the waistline.
For all the details head over to Queen Of Free
The No-Spend Challenge
Take the two challenges above and roll them together, plus don’t spend money on clothing, entertainment, hobbies, decor items, cosmetics, or any other item that you and your family decides to add to the “it isn’t necessary for life” list.
This challenge was made pretty popular by blogger Ruth Soukup over at Living Well Spending Less. So popular, in fact, that she took all the blog posts from the series and made a book out of it called 31 Days Of Living Well & Spending Zero: Freeze Your Spending. Change Your Life.
I noticed that the challenge is no longer available in blog format, but I have read the book version and found it to be super informative and I believe that if you and your family were to invest in the book and follow the challenge within its pages, you would recoup the cost of the book and much, much, more.
Reviewers who took part in the challenge report savings of up to as much as $2,000. The reviewer who reached $2,00 in saving sold a few items to reach this large total as encouraged in the book in week 4 of the challenge–Ruth even gives you tips as to how to sell your items for top dollar.
This brings me to why I think the book is worth purchasing if you and your family want to do a spending freeze challenge: Ruth’s book acts like your own personal zero-spending coach. The book guides you through the entire month showing you how to maximize your no spending experience.
- Week 1: You will focus on planning your meals for the whole month based on what you have on hand.
- Week 2: Ruth will keep you busy cleaning and organizing your home. This will help you take inventory of all the items in your home that you are not using to their full potential.
- Week 3: Take all those free hours you used to spend waiting for your food in restaurants or going out to movies with friends and spend it flexing your creative side with items you found in your home during week 2.
- Week 4: Learn how to earn money from home through reselling and find great freebies.
- Week 5: Set yourself up for re-entry into the world of spending with a budget, a plan, and a new mindset.
Bonus: Take the Swagbucks Challenge
I have readers who report earnings of up to $100 a month in gift cards from Swagbucks.
Swagbucks has over 20 different ways to earn SB points that you can then trade in for almost 100 different gift card options. Many of the ways to earn are for things you are already doing online for free so why not get paid, like cashback in SB points for shopping online through special links and random SB points for entering your online searches through their search engine.
Here is what I suggest. Make it a challenge to earn 500 more SB points each month this year (that equals a $5 gift card).
Not a Swagbucks member yet? Sign up here.
So if you earned $25 this month (which is pretty simple to do with the 2,200 special on your first $25 gift card of the month). Next month make it a challenge to earn $30, and the following month $35 , and continue going up by $5 month each and every month this year.
Here are some articles I have written to help you earn more Swagbucks:
- If A Thrifty Person Had To Choose Just One Point Rewards Program
- How Earning $25 A Month From Swagbucks Each Month Just Got Easier
- Christmas Swagbucks Earning Plans
(please note: Swagbucks is constantly changing up how to earn points and what each point earning action is worth so my plans do get outdated. However, they still contain valuable tips on how to get started with Swagbucks)
Know of any other fun financial challenges?
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.