7 Mini Savings Challenge Ideas to Try This Year

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Last Updated on May 29, 2023 by Erin

Do you have a short-term financial goal you want to save up for, but you need some inspiration? A mini savings challenge can be a great way to quickly save money and start establishing better financial habits.

7 mini savings challenges to try out this year

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with working on a financial challenge for an entire year. In fact, I’m currently enjoying my own “low buy” year. It’s a fantastic way to become more aware of your spending and help you reach your financial goals.

Sometimes, though, you need a short-term goal to save up for something big. Maybe you need to build up your emergency fund. Or maybe you’re wanting to take the family to Disney this summer.

These “mini savings challenges” are a great way to quickly achieve your financial goals. Who knows? Maybe it will snowball into an even bigger challenge!

If you’re new here, welcome to Mom Meets Midlife! My name is Erin and I’m, as you probably guessed, a mom entering midlife.

While experiencing an early midlife crisis I made the life-changing decision to change careers. As I prepared for the change, I had to become acutely aware of my finances, which was something I had honestly not spent a lot of time thinking about. Now I’m hyper-aware and sharing the tips and tricks that have helped me save and make money.

Free Mini Savings Challenge Printables

If you get to the end of this post and you’re serious about trying a mini savings challenge, I’ve created some free printables to help you keep stay on track. It’s a fun way to keep up the motivation and make sure you are meeting your goals!

Free download, mini savings challenge printables

**This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see my full disclosure policy for details.**

Now let’s get to the really good stuff. I’m rounding up some realistic and achievable ideas for a mini savings challenge.

Let’s start saving!!!

1. The Spare Change Challenge

If you’re anything like me, you’ve got random coins stashed in your car cup holders or in random trinket dishes around the house.

Whenever I thought about it, I would round it all up and put it in a random jar we had in our home office. I had no clue how much we had collected.

This past Christmas we were gifted a digital coin jar and after a few months of collecting dust on a closet shelf, I decided to test it out. Turns out, we had almost $100 in coins! I was absolutely blown away.

The moral of the story is- round up all that loose change and put it to good use!

The idea of this mini savings challenge is simple: every time you come across some spare change, put it aside in a designated spot, such as a jar or piggy bank.

Over time, those small amounts can really add up, and before you know it, you’ll have a nice little chunk of savings.

2. The Mini No-Spend Challenge

You might have come across frugal bloggers talking about no-spend months. Sometimes, a no-spend month can be too intimidating., which could prevent you from even starting the challenge.

Take it down a notch and create a miniature version. Make a no-spend weekend. If that goes well, try a no-spend week. It could turn into a no-spend month before you realize it.

Avoid spending any money on non-essentials and focus on finding free or low-cost alternatives.

Need some inspiration?

Only cook meals at home and eat leftovers for lunch. Get outside and go for a walk. Borrow books from the library. My post about free things to do with your kids this summer might give some more ideas.

Not only can this challenge help you save money, but it can also encourage you to get creative and find joy in simple, low-cost activities.

3. The 12-Week Challenge

You’ve probably heard of a 52-week challenge, and if not, just know that it involves setting aside an increasing amount of money each week.

For a mini savings version, try the 12-week challenge.

You could start by setting a savings goal, such as $500, and divide it by 12 to determine how much you need to save each week. In this case, you would aim to save around $42 per week for 12 weeks.

You could use a savings tracker to keep track of your progress and motivate yourself to reach your goal. And at the end of the 12 weeks, you could treat yourself to something special or put the money towards a larger financial goal.

My low-buy printable companion has both monthly spending trackers and a savings tracker for you to document your goals and savings.

4. The Mini Cash-Only Challenge

One of the people who popularized the cash-only spending challenge is Dave Ramsey, a well-known financial expert and radio host. Ramsey has been promoting the use of cash and debit cards instead of credit cards for many years and has often recommended a cash-only spending challenge as a way to help people get out of debt and take control of their finances.

It’s probably not super convenient to only use cash for long periods of time. Unless you are a die-hard Ramsey follower, in which case, carry on…

In all seriousness, this challenge can be a great way to get your spending under control and start building good financial habits.

Just think of all the times you’ve mindlessly swiped your credit card without even thinking about the cost. With cash, you must be intentional about your spending and make every dollar count.

Maybe you’ll discover a new appreciation for budgeting that will stick with you long after the challenge is over. So go ahead and give it the old college try!

Tip: If you end up getting serious about using cash to track your spending, consider a budget binder with cash envelopes and labels. I predict it would instantly make you feel like “adulting” and getting your $hizz together.

5. The Meal-Planning Challenge

This isn’t necessarily a short-term challenge, but I do like that it’s something you can tackle on a weekly basis.

And if you’re someone who finds yourself in the drive-thru lane more often than you’d care to admit, this challenge if perfect for you. No judgment here! We all get in those modes when we’re busy and hanging on for dear life. But when you’re ready to get serious about saving, give this challenge a try.

Plan out your meals for a week and only buy the groceries you need for those meals, avoiding impulse purchases. If I make a “grocery run” I am more prone to grab random items I didn’t intend on getting. That adds up.

I suggest making a meal plan, making a list of things you need to buy, checking the ibotta app for cash back rewards, and buying your items online for pick up or delivery.

If you’re simultaneously doing a cash-only challenge, you’ll need to demonstrate some willpower. Don’t be tempted by the half-price bakery cookies as you walk toward the produce section! I know they look so chewy and soft, but you’re just going to have to walk away…

Needing a printable meal planner? Download the free low-buy companion, which includes a sheet to plan your weekly meals.

6. The Closet Cleanout Challenge

Have you ever considered reselling your clothes and shoes? It can seem daunting but I promise it’s so much easier than it seems.

I resell very casually and have still made thousands of dollars by listing items we no longer use. I use Kidizen for kids’ clothes and maternity items. Mercari is great for collectibles and home decor. Poshmark works well for women’s clothing, shoes, and purses. I also post on eBay, but I’ve found it more challenging than the other platforms.

If the thought of managing all of those platforms seems overwhelming, you need to know about Vendoo. I make one listing and it gets shared to all platforms, with some minor edits to match their layouts. Vendoo keeps track of which items have sold and how much profit I made. It’s an absolute must-have if you start reselling.

You can quickly make cash if you take the plunge! I made a detailed guide to selling on Kidizen, but you could use the information as a guide for any platform, really. They all have a similar process.

Take photos > list > print a shipping label > pack up and drop off for shipping > get paid

You don’t need many supplies to get started.

Go through your closet and sell or donate any items you no longer need or wear and put the money you earn from selling the items into your savings.

If you can whittle your wardrobe down to an interchangeable capsule wardrobe, you can make even more money.

7. The Digital Savings Challenge

This is a new one that I’ve been trying.

Take a break from social media and other digital distractions for a certain period of time and use that time to actually make money on your phone.

There are so many legit ways to make easy money on your phone in your spare time. It’s much more productive to take a few surveys and earn cash, rather than spending 30 minutes looking at random people’s pictures. Just saying.

I’m using the money on make on my phone to curb my spending and earn gift cards. It’s helping us save so much more money each month. I challenge myself to only buy something non-essential if I can use a gift card.

Want to know more? I have several posts you’ll want to check out. You can rack up over $500 a month if you commit to trying multiple apps.

Make Money with Online Surveys in Your Spare Time
How to Make Easy Money on Your Phone (and Earn All Day Long)

How to Save $1000 in 30 Days

If you have a specific goal, such as saving $1K in a month, give several of these mini savings challenges a try at once. If you collect spare change while trying a no-spend month and attempting to save about $35/day, you can get there!

Add in a solid meal plan while using cash back apps and you’re golden.

Once you really examine your spending habits, I have a feeling you will find that saving $500-$1000/month isn’t impossible.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, here are the 7 mini savings challenge ideas for you to try out this year:

  1. The Spare Change Challenge
  2. The Mini No-Spend Challenge
  3. The 12-Week Challenge
  4. The Cash-Only Challenge
  5. The Meal Planning Challenge
  6. The Closet Cleanout Challenge
  7. The Digital Savings Challenge

All of these mini challenges can help you develop good saving habits, build your savings, and become more mindful of your spending.

If you’ve been too scared to commit to a big, audacious savings challenge, but you know you need to get a handle on things, dip your toes into these little bitty plans and see where it leads.

Or maybe you’re saving up for that super fun trip with the girls. I wish you all the best and also, I’M SO JEALOUS.

Don’t forget to check out the completely free printable companion to help you with your budget and savings. If you’re a pencil-paper person, you’ll find it very helpful. It includes a tracking sheet for all of the savings challenges mentioned in this post.

If you like to keep things digital, I highly recommend using Empower to connect your accounts for free and take a very detailed look at your spending and budget. It helped make me so much more confident when I finally turned in my letter of resignation and started to forge a new path.

(I promise I don’t recommend anything I don’t love! I wouldn’t do that to you.)

Alright, over to you now! Which mini savings challenge are you going to test out? What super awesome fun thing are you saving up for? Please tell me in the comments!


P.S. If a mini savings challenge inspires you to save even more, you will want to check out my post about trying a “low buy” year. It also includes another 20-page FREE printable companion to keep track of your budget and spending.

low buy year printable companion

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7 thoughts on “7 Mini Savings Challenge Ideas to Try This Year”

  1. Love these ideas! I have done a few “no spend” challenges and always found them fun! Had a calendar to tick off the days I stuck to it! Sometimes a small challenge can really help!

    1. Hi Katherine!

      Glad you like the ideas! Having a calendar is a great idea and helps you see the finish line. Small challenges are super motivating. Even just a few no-spend weekends help us save quite a bit, and then it motivates us to challenge ourselves even further.


  2. I really struggle with #2! Every year I had the same resolution and that is to STOP online shopping even if it’s for a couple of months, and every year I fail! I really like the 12 week challenge in this list. It makes the ultimate goal a lot more achievable and not so overwhelming 🙂

    1. It can be so tough! I started making a “wish list planner” so that I could write down the things I wanted and then after a few weeks, I’d go back and check the list. If I still really, really wanted it, I gave myself permission to purchase or at least wait until it was on sale.

      Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi, Sheenia! I’m so glad you liked these tips. Planning meals ahead of time saves me so much money. It’s amazing how distracted I can get in the grocery store.


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