Living frugally and saving money for the things that will make a difference to your financial life is a habit. Getting into good habits can be a tricky business – especially if you decide to tackle a whole lot of money-saving strategies at once. Trying to cut out all your little luxuries at once is a recipe for failure unless you have iron willpower!
Try this 12-month saving challenge, track your savings, and put the money where it will make the biggest difference to your financial wellbeing. Depending on your circumstances, this could be:
- Paying down interest-bearing debts.
- Building an emergency fund.
- Boosting your kid’s college fund.
- Pay your mortgage faster.
- Save for your retirement.
Decide where the money’s going to go, and then tackle your new savings strategy one month at a time. Some of these tips may only work for you for one month. Others may become part of your money-saving lifestyle. We challenge you to try each of these strategies for one month only. Afterward, you can decide whether you want to keep them up or not. Ready, set, go!
This month, you’ll only eat home-made food. Skip the restaurants and say “no” to fast food. You may be surprised at how much you can save in just one month.
This is your month to cut out soda, bottled water, and booze. Figure out how much you’ll save, and stash the money.
Commit to buying only necessities like food and gas this month. There will be no retail therapy, and you will make do with what you already have.
Spend less money on entertainment. This is your month to save on games and sports. You won’t buy any tickets, and you won’t buy any new computer or cell phone games. If you have cable to watch sports, think seriously about cable-cutting!
Eat less meat and opt for seasonal food. You don’t have to eat meat at every meal. You don’t even have to eat it every day. Unless you’re already a vegetarian, limit meat meals to 4 days a week, and only eat one portion of meat per day on your meat-eating days.
Although the weather is warming, you’ll leave your air con off and cool off the old-fashioned way. Yes, most people didn’t have aircon back in the day. Give it a try!
Have one month without paying a dime extra for movies. Cancel paid subscriptions like Netflix, even if it’s only for one month.
Make some extra money this month, but remember it’s not for spending. Sell things you don’t use anymore, and consider taking on extra work. Ask for a raise, especially if you haven’t had one for a while.
Now is the best time to book cheap vacations. If your family is planning a December vacation, start booking early. If you aren’t offered discounted rates, ask for a discount.
What habits or hobbies cost you a lot of money? Yes, you need to relax and enjoy yourself sometimes, but this month, you’re cutting back. If you smoke, quit!
Keep your heating off if you can! You don’t have to freeze. Wear sweaters and warm clothes indoors, and add extra blankets to your bed.
You don’t have to break the bank this month. Agree to have a Christmas without expensive gifts. Why not create your own Christmas gifts? The festive season doesn’t have to be all about the money you spend.
Remember what your savings are for!
Apart from committing to the challenge, you’re also committing to saving the money for a special purpose. Track your progress every month, and put your savings where they will benefit you and your family most. Who’s up for the challenge?