Saving money is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. But less than a third (31%) of us keep all our self-promises for 12 months, according to research by YouGov.
Sticking to resolutions can be hard, so we’ve has compiled a list of popular new year money saving challenges, to help inspire and support your saving goals.
Completing a challenge could be your 2024 resolution in itself, or it could support a larger savings goal, such as reaching a house deposit. So whether you’re planning to save a small amount of extra 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 by putting coins or notes 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 over the course of a year.
This easy money saving challenge involves saving £1 each day. So, in your average year, you’ll save £365.
Ideal if you’re not on a full wage or want to try a consistent savings challenge alongside your regular savings habits.
Possibly the most popular variant, this starts with saving just 1p on the first day but results in you saving over £300 more than the £1 challenge.
The idea is that you save 1p on your first day, and then add a penny to the amount you save each day. On the first day of the challenge, you save one penny. This rises to two pennies on the second day, three pennies on the third and so on. On the last day of the year, which is the 365th day, you’ll save £3.65. Once you put all the savings together, you’ll have saved £667.95.
Typically, savers start the challenge on the 1st of January. The small amount at the beginning will ease you into the habit of saving. But it can get tougher near the end, especially with other December expenses.
As the 1p challenge is so popular, there are several variations. To find the right one for you, visit our guide on the different 1p saving challenges you can try.
Saving £28 a week is a more significant commitment than the other 365 day challenges, but it’s possible. To make this more achievable, try combining it with different resolutions such as swapping your takeaway coffee for one made at home.
For other helpful ideas, explore 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 week one = £1 and week 52 = £52.
Like the larger daily challenges, this will require other savings efforts as you’ll be putting some significant sums of money into your savings pot by the end. But the 52 week money saving challenge remains popular as you ease into it by saving a small amount of money. Getting started can be difficult — particularly in January — so these small amounts make your savings goals 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, plan ahead and keep a log so that you don’t lose track of how much you’ll need to save and when. You need to be able to understand and follow your saving challenge with confidence; otherwise, it can be too easy to give up out of confusion.
This 12-month savings challenge encourages you to save money every month.
Savers begin with £10 and gradually increase each month. Multiply the month by 10 to calculate the savings you need to set aside. For example, you’ll save £10 in the first month (January) and £20 in the second month (February). If you stick to the challenge, your monthly savings will look like this:
At the end of the year, you’ll have saved £780.
The fiver challenge is by far the most ambitious we’ve included.
It may be harder but if you’re saving for a milestone, you may need this method to boost your bank account’s funds. To make this challenge more achievable, 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 larger amounts, you could save £5 every week instead. With that, you’d save £260.
One of the simpler saving methods is the no-spend challenge.
You commit to not spending money on unnecessary things for a set period, such as 30 days. During this time, you only spend money on necessities, like bills, groceries and toiletries, while avoiding all non-essential expenses, like streaming services and eating out.
This saving challenge differs from the others because you won’t set aside a specific amount of money. Instead, you choose not to spend any money (aside from on the essentials).
With the no-spend challenge, you can get back on track after overspending, bringing you closer to your savings goals. It can also offer you an opportunity to review your spending habits.
After the no-spend period, you'll have money saved to pay off debts or put into your savings account.
There are no rules for saving challenges. You can alter any challenge to suit you. Anything that increases your chance of sticking it out is a good thing.
One alternative method is the reverse 52 week challenge. You start 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 that week. So if the hottest day reached 15°C, you’d save £15.
You can create challenges based on anything that motivates you — your lucky number, how many goals a football team scores, or a randomly generated amount. Anything at all. Why not get creative? You can adjust the challenges to best suit you and your finances.
Remember, you don’t have to start your saving challenge in January. With Christmas spending and the beginning of a new year, it can be difficult to put aside money into your savings.
Whenever you start saving, it’s a good idea to create a savings plan. This will help you to assess your finances so you can choose a saving 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 2024.
If you’re looking for other savings ideas, we’ve put together some useful guides and resources to help you manage your money. Explore how you can make the most of your money.