As we approach 2021, many of us are probably pleased to leave last year behind. Although there may still be tough times ahead, it’s a good idea to start planning for the future. And that may involve making a New Year’s resolution.
Saving money is one of the most popular resolutions. But less than a quarter (24%) of us keep all our self-promises for 12 months, according to research by YouGov.
We know sticking to resolutions can be hard. That’s why we’ve put together the top new year money saving challenges we could find.
Completing a challenge can be a resolution in itself, or it can support a larger goal, such as reaching a house deposit. So whether you’re planning to save a small amount of money, looking to boost your emergency fund, or preparing for a big life milestone, these great ideas could be the perfect tasks to take on.
For more useful guides and resources on making the most of your money visit our MoneySure page.
Possibly one of the most famous money challenges, the 365 day challenge involves saving a certain amount each day. You’ll typically start on the 1st of January and complete the challenge at the end of December. But don’t use starting late as an excuse — you can begin any time you like.
The easiest way to do this is to transfer a set amount of money each day into an online savings account — as long as your bank won’t charge you any fees for doing so.
You can also carry out this challenge with physical money. But given that we’re currently living in a largely cashless society, it may be harder to get hold of coins or notes to keep putting in your piggy bank.
How much you’ll save depends on the type of 365 day saving money challenge you choose. These popular options can help you save between £365 to £1,456.
For other helpful ideas, visit our tips on how to stick to a budget.
With this challenge, you save weekly rather than daily. And this amount goes up incrementally.
Essentially, you save £1 for each week you are on in the year. So for week one = £1 and week 52 = £52.
Like the larger daily challenges, this will require other savings efforts as you’ll be putting some large sums of money into your savings pot by the end. But this method remains popular as it eases you into it by starting with a small amount of money. Getting started can be difficult — particularly in January — so these small amounts make it more achievable. But, once again, December will be expensive.
This adaption of the 52 week challenge is ideal for people who get paid fortnightly.
As you can see, the end saving outcome is the same but how it works is a little more complicated.
The idea is that you start on week two and save £3 (so that’s the £1 from week one, and the £2 from week two), and then in week four, you’ll save £7 (week three and four). This may make it harder to follow, but it can help spread out your savings.
If you do choose this method, keep a log so that you don’t waste time constantly working out how much you’ll need to transfer and when. You need to be able to understand and follow your savings challenge with confidence; otherwise, it can be too easy to give up out of confusion.
The fiver challenge is by far the most ambitious we’ve included.
Given the circumstances, it may be a little tricky. But if you’re saving for a milestone, you may need this method to boost your bank account’s funds. To make this challenge easier, you can take it on with a partner — a particularly good idea if you’re saving together for a mortgage deposit, wedding, car, or another big purchase.
This challenge works the same as the 52 week challenge, but you go up in multiples of £5 rather than £1. So week one = £5, week two = £10, all the way up to week 52 at £260.
Alternatively, if you’re not in the position to save these bigger amounts, you could save £5 every week instead. With that, you’d save £260.
There are no rules for saving challenges. You can alter any challenge to suit you. Anything that will increase the chance of you sticking it out is a good thing.
One alternative method is the reverse 52 week challenge. This involves starting by saving the larger amount and then work your way down. This can be motivating as the challenge gets more comfortable as you go.
Another unique idea is a weather challenge. With this, you save the amount of the highest temperature in that week. So if the hottest day reached 15°C, you’d save £15 that week.
You can create challenges based on anything that motivates you — your lucky number, how many goals a football team scores, a randomly generated amount. Anything at all.
Remember you don’t have to start your savings challenge in January. With Christmas spending and the start of a new year, sometimes it can be difficult to put aside money into your savings.
Whether you want to save a bit more as your circumstances have changed or you want to make the most of the money you’re no longer spending – why not get creative? You can adjust the challenges to best suit you and your finances.
If you’re unsure, it’s a good idea to create a budget plan. This will help you to assess your finances so you can choose a savings challenge based on how much you can afford each month. Visit our guide on tips for sticking to a budget to help you get started in 2021.
If you’re looking for other savings ideas, we’ve put together some useful guides and resources to help you manage your money. Find out more here.