11 Ways A Biweekly Money Saving Challenge Can Make Saving Fun Again (2024)

Around this time last year, my wife said we should try a biweekly money saving challenge. At first, I thought it was ridiculous – I already save half of my income, what’s a challenge going to do for me? But then I realized that not everyone gets as much joy out of saving money as I do, so we set out for a way to make saving fun again.

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Why Would I Even Need a Money Saving Challenge?

How much are you putting into your savings right now? If the answer is “not much,” you probably need a jolt to your money habits. Enter money saving challenges.

Money saving challenges are meant for people to break bad money habits and start new ones.

It’s a way to start building your money-saving muscle.

They’re also great if you have a specific money goal you want to save up for (say a vacation or a downpayment) and need a fresh way to motivate yourself.

Plus, who doesn’t like a challenge?

What Is a Biweekly Money Saving Challenge?

While money saving challenges are fun, the best thing to do is save money on payday. Since most people get paid biweekly, trying a biweekly money saving challenge only seems logical.

If you move your money into your savings account on payday, you’ll pay yourself first. In other words, you won’t be tempted to spend it if it’s out of your checking account.

While many financial gurus recommend setting aside 10-20% of your paycheck for savings, This may be a big jolt to your system if you’re not used to saving at all. That’s why a biweekly money saving challenge is a great way to start a new habit.

Which Biweekly Money Saving Challenge Should I Try?

1. The Gradual Biweekly Money Saving Challenge

This is the most common biweekly money saving challenge. Transfer just $1 into your savings on payday. Next payday transfer $2, then $3, and so on biweekly. Your last transfer of the year will be only $26, and you will have saved $351.

If this doesn’t seem that impressive, just remember that this challenge is about building your saving muscle. Plus, you can always up the amount.

  • If you start by saving $2 and increase by $2 each paycheck, you will have saved $702.
  • If you start by saving $5 and increase by $5 each paycheck, you will have saved $1755
  • If you start by saving $10 and increase by $10 each paycheck, you will have saved $3510

Here’s what that looks like:

Start with $1

Paycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in SavingsPaycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in Savings
1111414105
2231515120
3361616136
44101717153
55151818171
66211919190
77282020210
88362121231
99452222253
1010552323276
1111662424300
1212782525325
1313912626351

Start with $2

Paycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in SavingsPaycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in Savings
1221428210
2461530240
36121632272
48201734306
510301836342
612421938380
714562040420
816722142462
918902244506
10201102346552
11221322448600
12241562550650
13261822652702

Start with $5

Paycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in SavingsPaycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in Savings
1551470525
210151575600
315301680680
420501785765
525751890855
6301051995950
735140201001050
840180211051155
945225221101265
1050275231151380
1155330241201500
1260390251251625
1365455261301755

Start with $10

Paycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in SavingsPaycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in Savings
11010141401050
22030151501200
33060161601360
440100171701530
550150181801710
660210191901900
770280202002100
880360212102310
990450222202530
10100550232302760
11110660242403000
12120780252503250
13130910262603510

The trick is to set up all of your transfers in advance on payday. Go ahead and do it right now, otherwise, you won’t get around to it or will tell yourself that you have other needs for that money.

2. The Gradual Percent Increase Challenge

This biweekly money saving challenge is much like the first one, but you start with 0.5% of your paycheck, then 1%, 1.5%, etc. You’ll work up to setting aside 13% of your paycheck by the end of the year.

If your biweekly pay is $1000, your first transfer will be just $5, then $10, all the way up to $130. In the end, you will have saved $1755.

This method is great for higher-income earners who don’t have their savings habit set yet.

  • If you earn a yearly salary of $120K (after taxes,) your biweekly paycheck is $4,615.
  • That means you can transfer just $23 on the first week into savings, working your way up to $600.
  • At the end of the year, you will have over $8K in savings!

Again, do all of your transfers in advance, otherwise, you’ll drop the habit!

3. The Reverse Biweekly Money Saving Challenge

The reverse biweekly money saving challenge is just like the gradual challenge, except you start with the highest amount first, and work your way down.

So instead of saving $1 on week 1, you save $26, then $25, etc. And again, you can do it in any denomination.

The plus side of this money saving challenge is that it feels like you’re rewarding yourself by transferring less and less each time.

The downside is that you’re not really building the habit to save more. The last transfer will be the grand finale with nowhere to go next.

In any case, here’s what it looks like:

Paycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in SavingsPaycheck NumberHow Much To SaveTotal Amount in Savings
126261413273
225511512285
324751611296
423981710306
522120189315
621141198323
720161207330
819180216336
918198225341
1017215234345
1116231243348
1215246252350
1314260261351

4. The 20 bucks Biweekly Money Saving Challenge

This one is self-explanatory and requires no additional planning. Just transfer $20 on each payday into your savings account. By the end of the year, you’ll have $520.

This one is pretty easy because you can set up an automatic transfer without giving it any extra thought. It’s also nice because $20 is a very easy amount to set aside – you won’t notice it gone.

You can start with just $20 this year, and keep upping the amount every year until you’re saving 20% of your paycheck. Just keep it constant, and watch your savings grow!

5. The “Goal” Biweekly Money Saving Challenge

This money saving challenge is kind of like the one above but you have a specific goal in mind.

Let’s say you want to save $5000 for a vacation next year. Divide your goal by 26 periods (5000/26 = $192) and that’s how much you have to save biweekly to get there.

You can do that with any amount of money and any amount of time, but make sure it feels realistic to you. If you’ve never saved a penny, setting aside $200 biweekly may be enough of a shock that you’ll drop the whole ordeal.

6. The Random Biweekly Money Saving Challenge

If you’re an adrenaline junkie with a love for the unexpected, you can combine any of the methods above but make it random.

Take out 26 post-its, write down how much money you’re going to transfer, and pick one at random on each payday.

But you have to actually stick with it!

You can write out the denominations from the gradual money saving challenge, amounts that add up to your goal, or do anything that feels reasonable to you.

This is a great way to “gamify” saving money – especially if you want to get your kids involved!

More Money Saving Challenges

You don’t have to wait until payday to challenge yourself to save! Here are a few more money-saving challenges for you to try, guaranteed to boost your savings account!

7. No takeout Challenge

If you know you’re guilty of wasting your money on takeout (even coffee) challenge yourself to quit.

Choose a timeframe – be it a week, two weeks, or a month – and commit to NO TAKEOUT PERIOD!

Here’s the cincher though – transfer the money you would have normally spent into your savings account, or use this method to save up for something you’ve been wanting to buy.

Even if you’re a regular coffee drinker, spending only $2 a day, that’s $10 per week, or $520 per year. That money would look better in your savings account (even if you end up using it to buy a fancy espresso maker.)

If you get lunch just three times a week, you’re probably spending $30 per week or $1500 per year. That’s a vacation!

Challenge yourself to break that habit, and your savings account will thank you.

Read more: Save Money on Food: Plus Save Time Deliciously

8. The No-spend Challenge

This one will be tricky, but challenge yourself to spend nada for just one day. Not even a pack of gum. Even if you’re in a pinch, like you need to buy just one ingredient for a recipe, challenge yourself to find an alternative.

After you complete one day, try two, then work up to a full workweek.

Of course, you’ll reach a point when you’ll need groceries and other necessities, but try to make sure you’re set up for all those essentials before you start the challenge.

If you have a habit of mindlessly spending money, the no-spend challenge will surely break it. (Or at least bring your attention to how much money you waste on who knows what.)

Again, be sure to actually save that money. Look at your spending the previous week, and transfer the difference to your savings account on payday.

Read more: How To Stop Buying Stuff. 20 Unique Ways to Change Your Spending Habits

9. New Grocery Store Challenge

If you’ve been on my blog before, you’ll already know that I’m a mega cheapo, and shop at the cheapest grocery store I can find.

But there’s more to switching stores than prices.

Shopping at a new grocery store will help you be more mindful of what you actually buy and the prices you pay so that you don’t pick things up on autopilot.

Try it for one month.

If you spent less on groceries this month than your average – transfer the difference to your savings account on payday.

10. The Cash Diet Challenge

Pretend you’re back in middle school and give yourself a cash allowance and leave the plastic at home. Some people call it the cash diet.

Seeing your stash dwindle with every purchase will make you think twice about what you spend your money on. You’ll definitely be more mindful with cash than with plastic.

If the thought of leaving your cards at home fills you with too much anxiety, you can give yourself a rule – credit cards for essentials like groceries and transport, a preset amount of cash for everything else. This will still help you be more mindful about how much you spend on non-essentials.

If you’re finding that you actually have extra money in your account after trying this challenge, transfer the difference into savings on payday.

11. Dump Your Change Challenge

If you’re reliving your middle school days with an allowance, go all the way back to your childhood and use a piggy bank. Dump all the small change in one spot at the end of the day, and see how much you end up with by the end of the year.

I have no idea how much you’ll end up saving that way, but we all have an uncle with an impressive giant bottle of coins. That can be you.

I Started My Biweekly Money Saving Challenge. Now What?

With all the options above, I’m sure that there’s a biweekly money saving challenge that suits your needs.

But it’s not enough to just start. You have to make sure that all the money you save actually goes into your savings account.

That means making regular transfers on payday.

Make It Automatic

Go into your banking app RIGHT NOW and set up automatic biweekly transfers from your checking into savings.

This may take a little extra time if you’re not transferring a constant amount, but it will be worth it. Trust me, you’ll probably forget.

Track Your Savings

Make it a habit to check in with your money. I LOVE doing this. Make a spreadsheet, keep a diary, whatever makes you happy.

I actually like using Personal Capital (now known as Empower) because of the pretty charts and graphs it gives me when I check in. Plus it combines all of my accounts.

The more you check in with your money, the more motivated you’ll be to save.

Do It With Your Kids

Find a way to get your kids involved, or have them start a challenge of their own.

Read more: Kids NEED Financial Literacy: Use these Top 4 methods

Celebrate

Once you reach your money-saving goal, a milestone, or the end of the year, CELEBRATE!

If you’re saving up for something specific, like a vacation or a downpayment, savor it fully.

If you’re saving up for something less tangible, like a rainy-day fund, or to start investing, find another (non-spendy) way to celebrate your big achievement.

Read more: Best Trading Platform USA – Start Investing in Stocks

Make a Plan To Keep It Up

Your biweekly money-saving challenge shouldn’t end with the end of the year. Decide how you’ll keep up your money-saving habit moving forward!

Final Word on Money-Saving Challenges

I hope that this post on trying a biweekly money-saving challenge left you inspired. Remember the key points though:

  • It’s about building the saving muscle.
  • Remember to actually transfer the money into savings.
  • Do something smart with those savings. (Like invest.)

Read more:
Want Better Money Habits? Here are 10 that you’re probably NOT doing.

11 Ways A Biweekly Money Saving Challenge Can Make Saving Fun Again (1)

Biweekly Money Saving Challenge FAQ

How to save $5,000 biweekly?

If you want to save $5,000 biweekly over a year, you’ll need to set aside $192 each on each payday. Since there are 26 biweekly periods in a year, that’s the amount you’ll need to save $50,00 biweekly.
You can also try a “biweekly money saving challenge” and set aside just $15 on your first paycheck, then $30, then $45, and keep going up by $15 biweekly. By the end of the year, you will have $5,265 in savings.

How to save $10,000 biweekly?

If you want to save $10,000 biweekly over a year, you’ll need to set aside $385 each on each payday. Since there are 26 biweekly periods in a year, that’s the amount you’ll need to save $10,000 biweekly.
You can also try a “biweekly money saving challenge” and set aside just $30 on your first paycheck, then $60, then $90, and keep going up by $30 biweekly. By the end of the year, you will have $10,530 in savings.

How Can I save $5,000 in 3 months?

In 3 months you will have 13 paydays if you are paid biweekly. That means you have to set aside $385 on each payday to save $5,000 in 3 months.

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Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

Around this time last year, my wife said we should try a biweekly money saving challenge. At first, I thought it was ridiculous – I already save half of my income, what’s a challenge going to do for me? But then I realized that not everyone gets as much joy out of saving money as I do, so we set out for a way to make saving fun again.

Why Would I Even Need a Money Saving Challenge?

Money saving challenges are meant for people to break bad money habits and start new ones. They're a way to start building your money-saving muscle and can be great if you have a specific money goal you want to save up for, such as a vacation or a downpayment. Money saving challenges can also be a fun way to motivate yourself and break the monotony of regular saving [[1]].

What Is a Biweekly Money Saving Challenge?

A biweekly money saving challenge is a specific type of money saving challenge that is designed to align with the biweekly pay schedule that many people have. The idea is to move money into your savings account on payday, paying yourself first and reducing the temptation to spend it if it remains in your checking account. Biweekly money saving challenges are a great way to start a new saving habit, especially if you're not used to saving at all [[2]].

Which Biweekly Money Saving Challenge Should I Try?

There are several different biweekly money saving challenges that you can try, depending on your preferences and financial goals. Here are a few examples:

  1. The Gradual Biweekly Money Saving Challenge: This is the most common biweekly money saving challenge. You start by transferring just $1 into your savings on payday, and then increase the amount by $1 with each paycheck. By the end of the year, you will have saved $351. You can also start with a higher amount and increase it accordingly [[3]].

  2. The Gradual Percent Increase Challenge: Similar to the gradual challenge, but instead of increasing the dollar amount, you increase the percentage of your paycheck that you save. For example, you can start by saving 0.5% of your paycheck, then increase it to 1%, 1.5%, and so on. By the end of the year, you will have saved 13% of your paycheck [[4]].

  3. The Reverse Biweekly Money Saving Challenge: In this challenge, you start with the highest amount first and work your way down. For example, instead of saving $1 on week 1, you save $26, then $25, and so on. This challenge can feel like a reward as you transfer less and less each time, but it may not help you build the habit of saving more [[5]].

  4. The 20 bucks Biweekly Money Saving Challenge: This challenge is simple and requires no additional planning. Just transfer $20 on each payday into your savings account. By the end of the year, you'll have saved $520 [[6]].

  5. The "Goal" Biweekly Money Saving Challenge: This challenge is similar to the gradual challenge, but with a specific goal in mind. For example, if you want to save $5000 for a vacation next year, you can divide your goal by 26 periods and save that amount biweekly to reach your target [[7]].

  6. The Random Biweekly Money Saving Challenge: If you enjoy unpredictability, you can combine any of the methods above and make it random. Write down different amounts on post-its and pick one at random on each payday. This can add an element of excitement to your saving journey [[8]].

More Money Saving Challenges

In addition to biweekly money saving challenges, there are other money-saving challenges you can try:

  • No takeout Challenge: Challenge yourself to quit buying takeout for a certain period of time and transfer the money you would have spent into your savings account [[9]].
  • The No-spend Challenge: Challenge yourself to spend nothing for a day and gradually increase the duration. This challenge can help you become more mindful of your spending habits [[10]].
  • New Grocery Store Challenge: Switch to a cheaper grocery store and save the difference in cost. This challenge can make you more mindful of what you buy and the prices you pay [[11]].
  • The Cash Diet Challenge: Give yourself a cash allowance and leave your cards at home. This challenge can make you more mindful of your spending and help you save more [[12]].
  • Dump Your Change Challenge: Collect all your small change in a piggy bank and see how much you save by the end of the year [[13]].

I Started My Biweekly Money Saving Challenge. Now What?

Once you've chosen a biweekly money saving challenge, it's important to follow through and ensure that the money you save actually goes into your savings account. Here are a few tips:

  • Make It Automatic: Set up automatic biweekly transfers from your checking account to your savings account. This will ensure that the transfers happen consistently and you won't forget to save [[14]].
  • Track Your Savings: Keep track of your savings progress by using a spreadsheet, diary, or a financial management app. Regularly checking in with your savings can help keep you motivated [[15]].
  • Do It With Your Kids: Involve your kids in the money-saving challenge or encourage them to start their own challenge. This can help teach them about financial responsibility and the importance of saving [[16]].
  • Celebrate: Celebrate your milestones and achievements along the way. Whether it's reaching a specific savings goal or completing a challenge, take the time to acknowledge your progress and reward yourself in a non-spendy way [[17]].
  • Make a Plan To Keep It Up: Your biweekly money-saving challenge shouldn't end with the year. Decide how you'll continue your money-saving habit moving forward and set new goals for yourself [[18]].

In conclusion, money-saving challenges can be a fun and effective way to build your saving muscle, break bad money habits, and reach your financial goals. Whether you choose a biweekly challenge or another type of challenge, the key is to stay consistent, track your progress, and make saving a regular habit.

11 Ways A Biweekly Money Saving Challenge Can Make Saving Fun Again (2024)

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