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6-Month Money Saving Challenges

6-Month Money Saving Challenges
Caroline Banton
Caroline BantonUpdated March 6, 2023
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Saving money can be a struggle. No matter how good your intentions, you may find that something always seems to come up that takes priority over saving. The good news, however, is that there are ways to make saving simpler. Whether you’re looking to save for a specific goal or just want to jumpstart a savings habit, consider doing a six-month savings challenge. The benefit of a savings challenge is that it makes savings feel more like fun — and less like sacrifice. And, though the “rules” are temporary, these challenges can actually have a lasting effect on your spending behavior.Here’s a look at seven savings challenges that can help boost your savings account balance.

Seven 6-Month Savings Challenges to Try

If saving has been a struggle, here are some simple saving challenges to try. Some are designed to last exactly six months, while others require an even shorter commitment.

1. Save $6 a Week More

The idea here is to save just $6 in the first week of your saving plan, then to bump that amount up by $6 each week. So on week two, you’ll save $12; on week three, you’ll save $18; and on week four, you’ll save $24; and so on…. If you continue to save $6 more each week for 26 weeks, you’ll have a total of $2,106. Not bad! What’s nice about this challenge is that it starts small and gradually builds. And each week’s success can motivate you to meet the next week’s goal. Recommended: How Much Does the Average American Have in Savings?

2. Cut Out Coffee Runs

If you’re in the habit of buying coffee drinks out of the house every day (or several times a week), consider skipping the coffee shop entirely for the next month. Once you get into the habit of brewing at home, you may find that you don’t miss your coffee runs as much as you thought you would, and will keep the challenge up for another month, and perhaps another month. After you complete the challenge you set for yourself, you may decide to make going out for coffee an occasional treat rather than a regular habit.

3. 1% Savings Challenge

If you have a 401(k) through your job, consider increasing the amount you're contributing from each paycheck by 1%. In two months, increase it again by another 1%. Then do the same thing two months after that. Within six months, you’ll be contributing 3% more than you are now. And, thanks to the power compound interest (when the interest your money earns also earns interest), this can have a big payoff many years from now when you tap your retirement fund.Recommenced: Saving vs Investing: Which is Right for You?

4. Use the Library

Challenge yourself to only get printed, digital, or audio books from your local library for the next six months. Public libraries typically rent digital books and audiobooks online through an app, which means you may not have to even go to the library to get your next great read. Once you see how easy it is to get your favorite books for free, you may not go back to buying quite as many even after the challenge.

5. The 30-Day Spending Rule 

The way the 30-day spending rule works is simple: Any time you find yourself considering a large, nonessential purchase, put it on pause for 30 days. If, after 30 days, you still want to make the purchase (and can afford it), then go for it. You may, however, find that you no longer care that much about buying the item and move on. Sticking to this rule for six months could save you significant money and also help you become a less impulsive spender in general.

6. The Five-Dollar Challenge

If you still carry and use cash, try saving any five-dollar bill that lands in your wallet. Stash the bills somewhere safe and when you have a stack, deposit the cash into your savings account. You won’t likely miss five dollars here and there, but the bills can mount up over time. The advantage of this system is that you don’t need to think much about saving — see a five, stash a five. However, it works only if you resist the temptation to dig out the five-dollar bills you’ve socked away.

7. Round-Up Money Saving Challenge

Some banks will round up all of your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and then deposit the “change” into a connected savings account. If your bank doesn’t offer this, you can get a round-up savings app. These typically work by connecting to your bank and credit card accounts to monitor new transactions. Each time you make a purchase, the app calculates what the change would be if you paid in cash then adds that amount to your checking or savings account. Some offer the option of stepping up your savings by doubling the round. Just keep an eye out for any fees.Recommended: How to Exchange Coins for Cash

The Pros and Cons of Money-Saving Challenges

The big advantage of money-saving challenges is that they can provide some structure and motivation. Hopefully, once you’ve tried a challenge for three to six months, you’ll have developed a habit. On the downside, money saving challenges are only temporary. If you simply go back to your previous spending habits, they won’t lead to any long-term change.Recommended: 20 Savings Challenges to Help You Save

More Tips for Saving Money

Consider these other easy and effective ways to start saving more.


It can be difficult to meet any savings goal without setting up a budget. And it’s not as hard as it sounds. To start, simply figure out how much money (after taxes) is coming in each month and how much is going out, on average, each month. You’ll then want to list all your monthly and daily expenses to get a sense of exactly where your money is going. The next step is to decide if this is actually where you want your money to be going.One common budgeting framework is the 50/30/20 budget. With this method, 50% of your take-home income goes to needs, 30% goes to wants, and 20% goes to debt repayment (beyond the minimum) and savings. This is one of many budgeting options and can be a good starting place. However, you may need to tinker with the percentages if the cost of living is high in your area or you have a lot of high-interest debt.

Switch to a Better Savings Account

If you're keeping your extra cash in a checking account or a traditional savings account, you are likely not earning much interest on your deposits. You may want to find an account that pays a more competitive annual percentage yield (APY), such as a high-yield savings account, money market account, or a certificate of deposit (CD). It’s generally easy to transfer money from a checking account to a savings account (and vice versa), even if the accounts are at two different financial institutions. (If you go with CDs, keep in mind that you can’t withdraw your money for a set term.)Recommended: Guide to Transferring Money Between Banks 

The Takeaway

One of the best ways to take charge of your finances is to build a healthy savings account. When you have a cushion of savings in the bank, you won't have to run up debt to cover an unexpected expense. A six-month savings challenge can help you build your emergency fund or, if you already have one, work towards other short- and long-term savings goals.If you’re looking to get the best rate on your savings, Lantern by SoF can help. With our online banking marketplace, it’s fast and easy to compare high-yield savings accounts based on APY, fees, and balance minimums. Lantern can help you compare online savings accounts and find today’s best rate.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I save $10,000 in six months?
How much do I need to save a month to get $5,000 in six months?
Is saving $500 a month a lot?
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About the Author

Caroline Banton

Caroline Banton

Caroline Banton is a finance and business writer whose work has appeared on sites such as The Huffington Post, Investopedia, The Motley Fool, LendingTree, MSN, and Time. With an MBA from Johns Hopkins University, Caroline has written for fintech companies, acted as a career coach, and ghost-written for prominent thought leaders in the financial industry.
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