I know, “challenges” are a frustrating cultural phenomenon. But hear me out. Take these as personal tests – something to keep quiet about and brag about to yourself. Think of this as a financial exercise.

Again, nothing revolutionary here – but if you're struggling to save money, find yourself lacking discipline, or just need a goal for the next year, then try these two challenges.

$5 Challenge

Even though we're becoming an increasingly cashless society, we wind up with change jars and dollar bills floating around our sock drawers. This challenge is simple:

**Every time you get a $5 bill – put it in an envelope. Don't touch it.**

So what makes this challenging?

  • You have real, urgent financial needs that require every penny
  • You don't use cash
  • You don't have a safe place to stash away all the Lincolns
  • You work in an industry where $5 flow freely (tips-based economies)
    • In this case, try socking away one $5 per shift/day

**Double down**

For every $5 bill you save, put $10 into your investment account.

**Make it digital**

If you never receive cash, or want to tie your savings goal to a specific activity (like spending money at Starbucks), sign up for a free Qapital account and set rules for when money should be added to the account.

Zero DaysPinterest - 2 Savings Challenges for Financial Discipline

If you find yourself spending money too frequently or needlessly, then schedule $0 days. This means you do not spend any money at all. Not on your morning coffee, not on your lunch, not on the late-night Amazon book binge that you're sure is necessary.

So what makes this challenging?  

  • You are a daily social spender
  • You use Uber or public transport (unplanned or budgeted)
  • You can't bear to leave your credit rewards un-tapped

Like a budget, scheduling zero days helps you to take inventory of typical patterns. This isn't a challenge to send you into a defensive financial mindset, but it's a good challenge for any of you who need a bit of extra financial discipline (and who doesn't need that, right?)