We’re all so busy every day that it’s easy to overlook the small, everyday expenses that can add up fast. The minor purchases can have a big impact on our budget over time. That’s why (drumroll, please)… you need a budget challenge! A budget challenge is a fun and motivating way to save money on everyday things. Here’s how to get one started.

What is a budget challenge?

A budget challenge is a personal commitment to reducing or eliminating specific expenses for a particular period. (It’s like a reality show, except with less drama and you probably won’t have cameras following you around.) The goal is to save money without making your life feel sad. It’s an effective way to cut back on daily or weekly spending while challenging yourself to be creative and resourceful.

Steps to start your budget challenge

1. Set clear goals

Figure out what you want to achieve with your budget challenge. Whether it’s saving for a vacation, paying off debt, or building an emergency fund, having a clear goal will keep you motivated.

2. Identify your targets

Look at your daily and weekly spending habits. Identify areas where you tend to spend money thoughtlessly or excessively. Common targets for budget challenges include dining out, coffee shop visits, impulse purchases, and subscription services. (And yes, there’s an app for that—a great tool to help you see where you’re spending money is Brigit’s Finance Helper.)

3. Determine the challenge duration

Decide how long your budget challenge will last. It could be a week, a month, or even longer, depending on your goals and your level of commitment.

4. Set spending limits

Establish strict spending limits for the areas you’ve identified. For example, if you’re targeting dining out, limit yourself to a specific number of restaurant visits or a maximum amount you’re allowed to spend.

5. Track your progress

Keep a record of your daily expenses during the challenge. This could be done using a notebook, spreadsheet, or a budgeting app. Tracking your progress will help you stay accountable.

6. Get creative

Find alternative ways to meet your needs without spending money. Instead of dining out, try cooking at home or organizing a potluck with friends. To replace coffee shop visits, brew your own coffee or explore local cafés with lower prices.

7. Stay accountable

Share your challenge with friends or family who can help keep you accountable and motivated. Joining forces with someone else can make the challenge even more enjoyable.

Benefits of a budget challenge

1. Increased financial awareness

A budget challenge forces you to become more conscious of your spending habits. You’ll become aware of where your money is going and identify areas where you can save.

2. Substantial savings

By sticking to the challenge, you can achieve substantial savings. Over time, these savings can be redirected toward your financial goals, helping you achieve them faster.

3. Improved budgeting skills

The budget challenge is a great way to hone your budgeting skills. You’ll learn to prioritize and allocate your money more efficiently.

4. Reduced unnecessary spending

You’ll be surprised by how much money you can save by cutting back on small, seemingly insignificant expenses. The challenge helps you eliminate unnecessary spending.

5. Fun and creative solutions

This challenge encourages creativity. You’ll find alternative ways to enjoy your favorite activities or achieve your goals without overspending.

The bottom line: try a budget challenge

A budget challenge is a great way to save money on everyday things while having a little fun in the process. It can help you become more financially aware, refine your budgeting skills, and reduce unnecessary spending. With clear targets and a structured approach, a budget challenge can help you achieve your financial goals more quickly and efficiently.