Could your savings account use a boost? For most people the answer yes.
Today’s post is all about giving it that much-needed TLC to your personal finances. We’re issuing this 30-day money-saving challenge to help not only put a little extra into your account, but will show you how to save more for the future.
- What is This 30-Day Money Saving Challenge?
- How It’s Done | Can You Commit?
- Day 1: Cut Out a Your Regular Splurge
- Day 2: Put Away the Credit Card and Use Cash
- Day 3: Shape Up Your Online Purchases
- Day 4: Write Out a Grocery List
- Day 5: Cut Unnecessary Subscriptions
- Day 6: Make a Plan For Your Credit Card Usage
- Day 7: Start Investing Your Change and Let it Passively Grow
- Day 8: Pack Your Lunch
- Day 9: Set Up Auto Pay For Bills
- Day 10: Make a ‘Turn out the Lights’ Routine
- Day 11: Use Reusable Items
- Day 12: Make the Gifts You Give
- Day 13: Clean the Closet
- Day 14: Make Your Own Soap & Detergent
- Day 15: Eat Those Leftovers
- Day 16: Don’t go for Name Brands
- Day 17: Swap Services
- Day 18: Homemade Recipes
- Day 19: Photography Tips
- Day 20: Discount Stores
- Day 21: Avoid Rent to Own
- Day 22: Get Crafty
- Day 23: Evaluate Insurance Plans
- Day 24: Avoid Sales parties
- Day 25: Pack your own food
- Day 26: Do your Own Taxes
- Day 27: Trade for items
- Day 28: Eat Less Meat
- Day 29: Offer Services as Gifts
- Day 30: Shop on Sales Times of Year
- Bonus Challenge: Skip the pedicure
- How Did You Do?
What is This 30-Day Money Saving Challenge?
It’s simple: for 30 days, you do small things that will help you save more money. Most of these steps take no time at all, but even the ones that require a little effort on your part take less than an hour. If you can commit to this challenge, you will surprise yourself at just how much money you can save…
If you can commit following this through all 30 days, you’ll be considered a BudgetDiet Supersaver!
How It’s Done | Can You Commit?
Here’s the fun part. It’s really not that hard to achieve, but if you stick with it the results are fantastic.
Each day you will either cut out an added expense or make additional money to put into your account. Instead of stopping once you’ve achieved one item, continue on so that your savings snowballs!
If one of the days challenges doesn’t apply to you, feel free to skip it or take a break for that one day then pick it up the next day.
Ok.. Let’s take it day by day:
Day 1: Cut Out a Your Regular Splurge
For this 30 days, cut out a single splurge that you spend money on. It could be the iced coffee you get on the way to work (have a cup from home instead) or it could be the movie you rent through a video-on-demand service (read a book or enjoy one of your hobbies). This will save an average of $4 in the first day. Don’t forget to put that money to the side!
Day 2: Put Away the Credit Card and Use Cash
In this 30 days we’ll be going back to old fashioned cash instead of using credit cards. When you’re forced to actually see the money leave your hand when paying for things, it’s shown people are naturally more spend thrifty.
for this challenge, visit the bank to take money from your account rather than the ATM. Most ATMs charge upwards of $2.50 per withdrawal fees which can be avoided!
Tip: there are bank accounts that allow you to use any ATM free of charge. Charles Schwab is one (and the one I use.) if you use the ATM often you can save massive amounts of money over time in avoided fees.
Day 3: Shape Up Your Online Purchases
The heart of this day’s challenge is about cutting unnecessary online shopping and saving on what shopping you do do online.
For any online shopping you do, ask yourself ‘Do I really need it?’ if the answer is no, don’t buy it.
If you do any shopping online (amazon, target, kohl’s, clothes shopping etc..) the action today is to sign up to a rebate shopping account. Saving a little on each purchase really adds up over time.
The way these companies work is if you use their link to buy at a store you’re already shopping at, you will receive cash back on your purchase. There are a number of rebate shopping companies out and but my favorite is Ebates because of the wide selection of stores they work with. (I do a lot of shopping on Amazon for my daily needs and get %5 back on each purchase.)
You can read my full review of Ebates here or use our special link to receive a $10 Bonus if you make $25 worth of purchases within 2 weeks of signing up
Day 4: Write Out a Grocery List
For your next shopping trip vow to write a list before you go grocery shopping. When you’re at the market, stick to your list. You’d be surprised at the psychology used at nearly every grocery store to trick you into spending more… The shelves of items at the checkout tempt customers into making purchases while waiting in line, larger carts encourage shoppers to add more items, etc.
Sticking to your list (and even having a list) can save you from impulse buying and save you significant amounts of money!
Tip: For more on saving on groceries in particular check out our article on The best Grocery Rebate Apps
Day 5: Cut Unnecessary Subscriptions
Today, evaluate the memberships or subscriptions you pay for. Many individuals and families have subscriptions to magazines, television, apps, and movie streaming services.. not to mention gyms, clubs, online gaming services.
Chances are good, you’re paying for a membership that you’re probably not using each month. Cancel it now!
If you cancel just 3 memberships that cost $10 per month, you’re saving $360 a year.
Tip: I’ve heard good things about the app Hiatus which helps you manage your recurring subscriptions *but haven’t personally used it myself yet.
Day 6: Make a Plan For Your Credit Card Usage
Today’s action is about shaping up your credit card relationship.
The nitty gritty of this is that if you pay off your balance each month you can avoid all fees and earn the rewards from using your credit card.
If you’re in a position to do this, use today to set up a recurring payment in your bank account to pay off the balance each month (most banks have this feature).
If the reality is that you’re already behind and owe the credit card companies, use today to make a call and speak to a customer service representative. Ask for a rate reduction; tell them you’re having financial difficulties and you’re looking to save money in every aspect of your life. Speak to a few different people if necessary – someone will drop your rate even a little. If your credit card balance is $5,000 and your rate gets dropped just 3%, you can save $150 a year!
Day 7: Start Investing Your Change and Let it Passively Grow
If you’re a convert to cash and finding it working for you (from day 2) then stick with it!
If you’ve tried going back to using cash for everyday purchases and found it just isn’t working like the ease of a credit card, then today’s task is to set yourself up with change investing. I use and love the Acorns App because it will round my purchases up when I use my credit or debit card and invest the spare change. Over time those investments have grown without me thinking about them and I get a little new found wealth each month.
Day 8: Pack Your Lunch
Pack your lunch for the rest of the challenge rather than going out to eat. There are plenty of ideas online for delicious, filling lunches that are healthy and don’t cost much. A large salad with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, bell pepper, red onion, grilled chicken strips, crumbled boiled egg and dressing makes a fantastic (and very healthy lunch), but costs about $4 to make. Compare that to eating out and spending an average of $20 on a meal, drink and a tip and you’re saving $80 a week!
Day 9: Set Up Auto Pay For Bills
Set your bills up on auto-pay. Most utility companies and other services offer auto-pay as an option. It helps save money in late fees for forgotten bills. It can also save on stamps and envelopes rather than using the physical mail and it’s eco-friendly, so call it a win-win!
Day 10: Make a ‘Turn out the Lights’ Routine
Create a walk through routine to turn off electronics and the lights that you perform every time you leave the house and before you go to sleep at night.
Just leaving the TV on overnight can cost an extra $55 a year. A stereo that is plugged in and on standby mode all the time can cost an extra $67 a year. Getting into the habit of turning things off and unplugging them can really save a lot of money. Turning your AC down several degrees before you leave can also help or turn it off when you’re away.
Day 11: Use Reusable Items
Today is about evaluating and investing in reusable items wherever you can.
Purchase a reusable coffee pot filter, reusable plastic containers rather than ziploc bags, hand towels in the kitchen rather than paper towels, etc. Not only are you saving money when you don’t have to purchase disposable items over and over, but you’re doing a good thing for the environment.
Take a walk around your house and identify items that can eliminated in favor of a single reusable item.
Day 12: Make the Gifts You Give
Resolve to make any gifts that you need to give this month (provided it’s not your child’s birthday or your anniversary ;). For instance, if your cousin is having a birthday and loves to be pampered, make some wonderful homemade sugar scrub by mixing 1/2 cup of sugar with 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup coconut oil and about 20 drops of essential oil. Check out our homemade beauty recipes post for some great ideas.
Day 13: Clean the Closet
Spend some time in your closet today – even an hour will help. Create three piles of clothing: items you wear on a day to day basis, special occasion items and items you never wear (if you haven’t worn it in a year, it goes in this pile for sure).
List the items you never wear on Facebook sale sites or eBay for reasonable prices. Analyze special occasion items to determine whether you can use them to update your current wardrobe. A little black dress saved for special occasions can be paired with a blazer and heels for a perfect work outfit. A pair of glittery heels and a fancy blouse can be paired with your everyday jeans for a perfect date night outfit.
Day 14: Make Your Own Soap & Detergent
Today, spend a few hours making your own cleaning supplies. Not only can you save a great deal of money, but you will have supplies that are much less dangerous for your health. For instance, mix 1 part distilled vinegar with 3 parts water and place it in a spray bottle. You have a general cleaner that can be used to clean counters, sinks, floors, bathroom surfaces, etc. Vinegar is a fantastic and natural cleaner and costs about $1 for 20 ounces. Mixing 2 parts baking soda with 1 part lemon juice makes a fantastic scrubbing paste that costs pennies and works like a charm.
Day 15: Eat Those Leftovers
Vow to start eating leftovers. Unfortunately, not eating leftovers is a serious waste and just like tossing money down the drain. A meal consisting of fettuccine alfredo and garlic bread costs about $15 to make. If your family only eats half and you throw the rest away, you’re wasting $7.50. Assuming you cook at home 5 times a week, you’re wasting about $1,950 per year!
Find unique ways to “flip” your leftovers into something new and delicious. For instance, leftover roast, potatoes and carrots can make a fantastic stew. Add some thick bread with butter and you have a whole new delicious meal.
Day 16: Don’t go for Name Brands
Purchase generic brands of items you use often. You could save as much as $5 per item! While there are some generic brands that are lower quality than the name brand item, most are quite comparable.
Day 17: Swap Services
Stop paying for babysitters. Instead, swap babysitting services with your friends, family or neighbors. This could save a significant amount of money and is a great way to help other families save as well. You can save $500 per year (or more if you pay sitters while you work or go out often) by using this tip.
Day 18: Homemade Recipes
Today, look up some homemade recipes for your favorite snacks and learn how to make them yourself. Not only will you save money because you’re not purchasing pre-packaged items, but you will be eating healthier snacks with fewer preservatives. With a little time spent online, you can learn to make everything from Cheez-Itz or potato chips to Thin Mints and Hot Pockets.
Day 19: Photography Tips
Look up some photography tips rather than having professional pictures taken of your children. Not only will you be paying for the pictures you want when you go to a studio, but often times studios will pressure you into purchasing additional prints of poses that weren’t part of the original package. Instead, create some of your own props and backgrounds and take your own pictures. You can have them printed for pennies, and get more candid, beautiful shots. If you typically pay about $100 for a package of photos, you can save as much as $85 when you do them yourself!
Day 20: Discount Stores
Shop at discount stores. Stores like Burke’s Outlet, Big Lots, Ross, and Tuesday Morning carry close-out items from big-name department stores for a fraction of the price. You can get the items you want but pay a lot less!
Day 21: Avoid Rent to Own
Take a vow to avoid “rent to own” companies like the plague. Yes, it’s convenient because you get the item right away without paying all of the money up-front, and typically it’s a low weekly or monthly price. However, in the long run, you’re going to pay as much as double what the item is actually worth! If you must visit these outfits, look for ones that offer “90 days same as cash” deals and pay the item off within that first 90 days.
Day 22: Get Crafty
Get crafty and look for knockoff tutorials to create items you would typically pay big money for. Pinterest is loaded with Anthropologie and Pottery Barn knockoffs that are not only gorgeous, but made with items that cost very little. Check out our latest Anthropologie knockoff project – made for less than $2!
Day 23: Evaluate Insurance Plans
Evaluate your insurance plans. Do you really need all of the coverage you’re paying for? Each family is different and has different needs, but if you go over your insurance plans with a fine-tooth comb, you’re likely to find something you’re probably paying too much for. For instance, my husband has unbelievably healthy teeth and never visits the dentist for more than a routine cleaning. My children, on the other hand, are always at the dentist getting braces checked, having spacers put in or removed, having extractions, etc. It makes sense for us to have the full dental coverage on the children, but a basic coverage plan for my husband.
Day 24: Avoid Sales parties
Decline invitations to home sales parties. If your friend is having a Scentsy party or your cousin is having a Mary Kay party or someone you know is having some kind of jewelry party – just say no. People always feel pressured to make purchases at parties like these, and it’s usually for items you don’t want or need.
Day 25: Pack your own food
Pack snacks and meals for family outings. For instance, my family and I just went on an all-day outing to New Orleans, where we watched street performers, went on a ghost tour, and walked about 11 miles through small streets, the French Market and in various shops. For this trip, rather than getting lunch and dinner out (at an average of about $60 per meal for the four of us), we packed snacks, drinks and meals. Sandwiches, fresh fruit, juice pouches, bottled water, crackers and cheese…we had plenty of food and the total cost of packing it was about $20. We saved $100 easily by packing our own food.
Day 26: Do your Own Taxes
Do your own taxes. While it seems like a complicated thing, most people have fairly simple tax preparation procedures. This is especially true if no one in the home is self-employed. Free services like Tax Act can walk you through the entire process (which mainly involves copying the information from your W-2’s into similar forms) whereas preparation services can charge hundreds of dollars.
Day 27: Trade for items
Trade items rather than purchasing brand new ones. For instance, if you’re ready for some new books, swap your old ones through online services like PaperBackSwap.com. When it’s time for a great new video game, take your old ones to the nearest Game Stop (or similar store) and receive credits so you’ll get a discount. Ask your friends to loan you their Kindle books (and you loan them yours) rather than purchasing new ones.
Day 28: Eat Less Meat
Create a plan to enjoy meat-less meal days. Meat is typically the most expensive addition to any meal, and for a family of four, the cost of meat is about $10 per meal. Save $40 or more every month by making a meat-less meal every week. Don’t worry, just because your meal doesn’t have meat doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice. Below are a few examples of delicious meat-less meals:
- 3 Bean Chili topped with Shredded Cheddar
- Eggplant Parmesan
- Breakfast Dinner with Waffles, Eggs and Fresh Fruit
- Grilled Cheese Sandwiches and Tomato Soup
- Black Bean and Cheese Enchiladas
Day 29: Offer Services as Gifts
Offer services rather than giving gifts to friends and family members. Save money by giving out handmade coupons that entitle the recipient to a day of free babysitting, an hour-long massage, a free manicure or pedicure, a house-cleaning, a free lawn service, etc. If you can do any type of service, offer it as a gift. It will be well appreciated and original, and it will save you a ton of money!
Day 30: Shop on Sales Times of Year
Shop for holidays the day after the holiday has ended. For instance, if you want a new Christmas tree, shop the day after Christmas so you’ll have a brand new tree for the next year. Purchase gift sets for the next year’s gifts. Buy Halloween costumes in a larger size for the next year. Doing this, you can save up to 80% on your holiday items!
Bonus Challenge: Skip the pedicure
Skip one mani/pedi or trip to the salon every month. Chances are, you can make it without that extra visit, and you can save $60, $80 or more a month just by skipping this one visit.
How Did You Do?
If you take a month and either perform every one of these tips or make a vow to do so the next time the opportunity comes up, you can save THOUSANDS of dollars per year. This is significant money that can be directed into your savings accounts. You can go beyond 30 days by following more money-saving tips. It is also wise to set up a household budget so that you know exactly where your hard-earned money is going. Let us know what you think about our 30-day challenge – is this something you can pull off? Do you plan to try it? We’d love to hear about your success!