For many of us, penny-pinching hasn’t exactly been a choice as of late. Most of our normal treats and vices have been off-limits while the UK has been in lockdown, and only recently have we been able to head out to pubs, restaurants, cinemas, and enjoy other forms of entertainment again. As we venture out of our homes and start spending once more, it can be easy to get a bit carried away! After all, there has never been a more tempting time to treat ourselves; we deserve a bit of fun after all of this, right? Of course, we should be able to embrace our new-found freedoms guilt-free, but what about our dwindling savings pots?
Despite the economic turmoil that lockdown has plunged the UK into, many people have still managed to squirrel away some cash while remaining indoors. According to figures published by ITV, three-quarters of British households have managed to save money during lockdown, and the average amount of those savings has come to £300 per household. Much of these savings have come from not engaging in many leisure activities, and a fifth of households have specifically saved money through no longer paying for gym memberships and TV sports packages.
So, what happens now? If you’ve been cultivating a small savings pot during lockdown, it’d be a shame to go back to worrying about money once more. Instead, why not try your hand at a post-lockdown saving challenge? Here are some of the most popular and fun challenges which will help you save money without even noticing how much you’re putting it away.
1. The Weather Saving Challenge
The weather saving challenge is a great way to randomise your saving routine. For many, saving a steady amount per day is appealing, but others can get bored with this process and easily slip out of the routine. Instead of this, have a bit of fun with your saving habits and let chance lead the way.
The weather challenge is all about aligning how much you save with the temperature. Sounds a bit weird, right? But, for many, this fun challenge becomes easier to stick to, as you aren’t stuck in the routine of saving the exact same amount each day.
It’s up to you how you approach this challenge. For example, you could monitor the highest temperature of the week (or perhaps taking the highest temperature from the same day each week) and that equates to how much you have to transfer to your savings account. Simply check the weather forecast in your local city, and let the temperature lead the way!
In addition to the weather challenge, you could try some different techniques to randomise your savings. You could base your savings on the scores of your favourite sports team or how long your commute takes on a particular day — the possibilities are endless!
2. 365-Day Money Challenge
The premise of the 365-day money challenge is about starting small and ending huge! The amount you save during this challenge will gradually increase day-by-day, but as you will have started with such a small amount, these savings will seem more manageable than you might think.
To try out this challenge, start by saving 5p on day one (told you we were going to start small!) and add 5p more to the amount you save every day, so 10p on day two 15p on day three, etc. These amounts may sound minuscule, but by the end of one year, you will have saved a whopping total of £3,339!
3. The Budget Treats Challenge
The budget treats challenge is all about saving money without cutting out the fun stuff. This challenge works on the logic that there is always a money-saving alternative or a cheaper way to do something if you do a little research.
Within this saving challenge, you’re allowed to go out and enjoy yourself, but only if you find a deal or a discount to do so. There are plenty of restaurant discounts, happy hours, and two for one cinema deals out there, so make yourself the promise that you will only go out if you manage to shave a little off the cost.
4. The Little Vices Challenge
Vices, we’ve all got them. Whether it be your daily flat white, an extra pint at the pub, or buying another pair of shoes that you probably don’t need. Everyone has their own bad spending habits, and you’d be surprised to find out how much these seemingly small expenditures set you back.
Before cutting out your vices, calculate how much you could save for some motivation. If you spend £2.50 on a takeaway coffee each day, for example, that comes to £912.50 in a year! A small sacrifice each day could leave to some massive savings.
5. The 52-Week Savings Challenge
The 52-week savings challenge works in a similar way to the 365-day challenge, but the amount you save with this one increases week-by-week rather than day-by-day. It’s pretty simple, which is probably why it’s one of the most popular savings challenges; on week one, you save £1, on week two, you save £2, and so on.
By the end of the year, you’ll have to save £52 in one week, so it certainly gets exponentially more difficult! Despite this, the end result is definitely worth it — you’ll have saved £1378 in a year!
6. The Spare Change Challenge
Finally, we have the spare change challenge and this one really is as simple as it sounds — each time you make a purchase, save the change! Of course, with many people switching to contactless payments and rarely carrying cash anymore, the spare change challenge might seem impossible. However, there are a number of apps such as Acorns, Monzo, and Qoins, which can automatically save your change for you and allow it to build up in a separate pot of money.
Saving sounds like such a chore, but it doesn’t have to be! These challenges all add a bit of interest and drive to your saving routine, and they all give you clear goals to work towards. Of course, everyone is different, and what might work well for you may seem impossible to someone else. So, whether you opt for randomising your savings or sticking to a regular routine, start saving your pennies for a rainy day today!