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Are you ready to take your financial life to the next level? Consider challenging yourself by setting unique savings goals. These 5 unique savings challenges are creative ways to save money and shake up your financial status quo in the year ahead.

1. The Pantry Challenge

The pantry challenge encourages you to use up as many things in your pantry cupboards, fridge, and freezer as possible. To complete it, you commit to not buying food until you have used up as much food as you can from what you already have. 

This challenge is fairly flexible. You can tweak it by buying some food as needed to supplement your pantry-based meals. 


  • Don’t buy food until you have used up your pantry items
  • Use at least one pantry item in every meal

This challenge is a great way to save money and try new recipes by using what you have on hand. Just make sure to check the expiration dates!

2. The “Pay Yourself When _______” Challenge

The “pay yourself when” challenge helps you hold yourself accountable when you are trying to break a bad habit or build a good one.

For example, you promise yourself that whenever you are on social media for more than 2 hours a day, you’ll put $5 – or another amount – in a piggy bank or savings account. 

To break a bad habit or commit to a new one, you could “pay yourself when…”: 

  • You stay up past a certain time
  • You forget to bring reusable grocery bags to the grocery store
  • You swear
  • You spend too much time on social media
  • You don’t go to the gym 

This is a fun, win-win challenge. On one hand, you can save a lot of money, on the other, you get to break a bad habit or work toward a good habit or routine. We recommend committing to the challenge for a certain amount of time and having a plan for the money you save, like donating it to a charity or investing it. 

3. The Dollar Store Swap Challenge

In this challenge, your goal is to take a receipt from a recent purchase at the grocery store or superstores like Walmart and Target and find equivalent swaps at a dollar store.

Find as many replacements as possible and add up how much you would save buying those items at a dollar store. 

When you buy them at the dollar store, you can save 3-5x more money on things like: 

  • hand soap
  • dryer sheets
  • lip balm
  • aluminum foil
  • to-go containers
  • cleaning supplies, and more…

The next time you need those products, buy the dollar store option and see if you can make the swap for good.  

4. The 33.3 Challenge

The 33.3 challenge is a way to jump-start an emergency fund or save for a big purchase in one month. 

To complete the challenge, divert $33.33 into a savings account every day. After 30 days, you’ll have $999.99 cents. If you don’t already have an emergency fund, the challenge is a great way to get one off the ground. 


  • Jumpstart saving for an emergency fund
  • Save for a vacation or big purchase

The challenge can work well if you have disposable income but have trouble controlling daily spending. Setting aside a certain amount each day ensures that you don’t spend the funds on other things throughout the month. 

5. Weather Wednesday Money Challenge

The Weather Wednesday challenge is a fun way to save money based on the temperature where you live! You can do the challenge for one month or as long as you like! Depending on where you live, you’ll save more in the summer months than in the winter months. 

Here’s how it works: Every Wednesday, you put money in your bank account, and you tie it to whatever the highest temperature is in your area. So if in August the mercury is pushing 110 degrees on a Wednesday, you put $110 into your savings account. If it’s the dead of winter and only 15 degrees, you only have to save $15.

Other Money Challenges

If these unique challenges aren’t for you and you’d rather do something tried and true, consider these popular challenges instead. 

Updated January 2024

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