Do you have any New Years resolutions?
New diet? More exercise? More money?
I can’t help you with diets or exercise. But more money? I have a few suggestions.
Our new blogger, Sarah Li Cain, wrote about the 365 Money Challenge. It’s a good way to save some cash by the end of the year. But you may be wondering what 365 Money Challenge would work best for you.
Ideally, everyone engaging in any type of challenge — money or not — repeats a behavior in order to establish a new habit and reach a new goal. The 365 Money Challenges are no different. You save money once a day or once a week in order to establish a habit.
I also like to have a visual reminder of progress towards a goal. Seeing the pennies or dollars stack up will help keep you motivated to finish the challenge — with a pile of money! You can open a dedicated savings account and make your deposits electronically or use a mason jar or flower vase, so you can literally watch your savings grow.
Here are some versions of a year-long savings challenge. See what works best for you:
- Incremental Savings: PT Money suggests making a weekly contribution that increases by $1 each week. Start with $1 and end with $1,378 saved.
- Slow and Steady Savings: Kristina, with Cents + Order suggests making the same contribution each week, although she starts with $10 a week for a month, then ups it to $20 per week for the rest of the year. $1,000 Saved.
- Daily Savings: Jeffrey Strain, with SavingAdvice.com suggests saving what you can every single day. Each day you try to tick off a box on the chart (below), and when you get “bingo,” you’ve saved $668.
The key to being successful with any of these savings plans is to make your contribution as soon as possible. For the weekly challenges, make your contribution on Friday. For the daily challenge, reach for your wallet when you wake up. It will start your day — or your weekend — off on the right foot, and prevent you from running out of money to save by the end of the day or week.
I alluded to another important factor to keep in mind: Feedback. Whether it is seeing the money grow over the months in your piggy bank or seeing all of those tiny boxes being checked off of your chart, your chances of success are greater if you can see your progress.
So, grab your favorite piggy bank, preferably one that’s see-through, and get started!