Saving money, like any task, comes easier when you set goals for yourself. You want clearly defined milestones for success, a solid way to track your progress, something to push you to the next level and let you feel good about each small accomplishment. So try these money saving challenges in the year to come; not too hard, not too easy. Just right.
1) Buy nothing new
This one sounds pretty difficult, but it really just nudges you to think a bit more about how you shop and what you buy. Instead of buying a brand new off-the-rack shirt, grab one at a thrift store. The same applies for appliances, toys, vehicles, entertainment, and anything else you can imagine. Almost everything you might want in life is probably available used, in near-new condition, at a serious price reduction. Make yourself find those deals, and save yourself some money.
2) Save every week
There are a number of weekly money saving challenges out there you can consider, but they all come down to a single goal: save something every week. Some people like to ramp up; $1 the first week of the year, ending on $52 at the end of the year, for example. Or, if that’s not enough for you, you can make it a percent of your earnings each paycheck. The point is to make the deprivation feel like almost nothing, and reap the benefits of an easy success.
3) Clear your pantry
Do you have walls lined with canned goods, boxes of stuffing, bags of flour etc. in your pantry? Then spend a few weeks clearing it out. If you can avoid buying new groceries completely for a while, that’s excellent, but even if you can’t, it’s a good idea to occasionally dig deep and get creative with the goods you’ve already bought—if only to clear out a stockpile of ‘bought because it was cheap’ odds and ends.
4) Clear your debts from smallest to biggest
This may not be the smartest way to tackle your debts, but if you’ve been struggling to make any headway, it’s one of the more satisfying money saving challenges to take on. With each debt cleared out, you’ll feel more and more equipped and ready to take on the next one on the list. Don’t be afraid to dig deep in your pockets to get an early win; sell unused items on Craigslist or eBay, skip vices for a month, whatever it takes. That first cleared debt is a big deal!