Saving money never seems like much fun, and it’s hard—which makes it easy to put off. But a short-term, focused effort can make saving more manageable and even kind of enjoyable. Like our 1-Month Savings Challenge. It’s an easy, practical way to kickstart your savings habits. Here’s how to get started and make the most of this 30-day financial tune-up.

What is the 1-month savings challenge?

The 1-Month Savings Challenge is a dedicated effort to save a specific amount of money over 30 days. It can help you build good savings habits, understand your spending patterns, and find new ways to cut costs. Whether you’re saving for an emergency fund, a special purchase, or just want to improve your financial health in general, this challenge will help.

Setting your savings goal

First, decide how much you want to save by the end of the challenge. The amount you choose should be challenging but realistic. For example, if you usually struggle to save, you might aim for $100. If you feel like it’s easy for you, you might set a goal of $500 or more. The key is to choose an amount that pushes you but is reachable given your current financial situation. After that, start the challenge:

1. Track your spending

Start by tracking all your expenses for the first week. Use a notebook, spreadsheet, or finance app like Brigit to record every penny you spend. This will give you a clear picture of where your money is going and highlight areas where you can spend less.

2. Create a budget

Based on your spending tracking, create a simple budget. List your essential expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation. Then, identify the non-essential expenses where you can make cuts. Dedicate a part of your income toward savings each week.

3. Put your savings on autopilot

Set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account at the beginning of each week. Automating your savings will make sure you don’t forget and also help you stick to your goal. Even if it’s just a small amount, consistency is key.

4. Find ways to cut costs

Look for easy ways to reduce your spending. Here are some ideas:

  • Meal prep: Plan your meals and cook at home instead of eating out.
  • Cancel subscriptions: Pause or cancel any subscriptions you don’t use regularly. You can always start them back up again anytime you need them.
  • Use cash: Withdraw a set amount of cash for discretionary spending each week. Once it’s gone, don’t spend more.
  • Shop smart: Look for sales, use coupons, and buy generic brands to save on groceries and other necessities.

5. Avoid impulse purchases

Impulse buys can quickly derail your savings efforts. Before you buy anything you don’t absolutely need, apply the 24-hour rule: wait a day to decide if you really need it. Often, you’ll find the impulse fades, and you can save that money instead. (You can also use a 30-day rule, which is even more effective!)

6. Stay motivated

Keep your goal in sight and stay motivated by:

  • Tracking progress: Regularly check your savings account to see how close you are to your goal.
  • Involving friends or Family: Share your challenge with friends or family members who can offer support and encouragement.
  • Celebrating success: Plan a small reward for reaching your savings goal, like a special treat or a fun activity that doesn’t cost too much.