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1 Week Challenge: How to Save More Money & Own Your Life

Woman writes on whiteboard calendar mounted to wall.

We all want to improve our finances, but it can feel like a big task. Like, really big. That’s why we put together a one-week money saving challenge to break it up into smaller, more manageable daily steps that honestly don’t take that much effort at all.

Take the #MoneySmartsChallenge and be on your way to a brighter, healthier and richer life in just one week. Let’s do this!

Monday’s Challenge: Track everything you spent last month.

And we mean, everything. Use our budget tracking spreadsheet to document exactly where your money is going each month. Bonus points if you do the last three months. Looking at a bigger chunk of time helps control for out-of-the-ordinary spending (which is bound to happen!).  

Tuesday’s Challenge: Choose one thing you could cut from your monthly budget.

It can be small! Review yesterday’s hard work (aka your budget spreadsheet) and identify one monthly expense that you could live without. If you can, choose an ongoing or habitual expense, so you can free up a little extra cash every month. Cha-ching! 

Wednesday’s Challenge: Set up an automatic savings deposit for that amount (or more).

Take the amount you saved on Tuesday (and then some, if you can swing it) and set up an automatic savings deposit. Automating your savings means you’ll be working toward a better financial future without so much as lifting a finger. It’s the ultimate life hack!

Thursday’s Challenge: List three things you spent money on in the last month that added value to your life.

Owning your money is about more than just cutting costs – it’s also deciding which expenses add value to your life and get you closer to your goals. If you love a good latte in the morning, then buy your latte in the morning. If you want a new outfit, so you can feel confident in that job interview, then buy that new outfit. Budgeting can help give you that freedom.  

Friday’s Challenge: Contribute to your retirement account. Or if you don’t have one, open an IRA.

When you retire someday, every day will feel like Friday – but only if you plan for it. You should contribute at least enough to get the full benefit of your employer’s match (if they offer it). If you’re already contributing to your IRA, challenge yourself to increase your contribution amount by 1 percent. If your job doesn’t have retirement benefits, open an IRA (aka individual retirement account).  

Saturday’s Challenge: Prepare a meal at home instead of going out to dinner.

You can easily chop your food budget by replacing one meal out with a home-cooked meal. Make an activity of preparing the meal (you can even listen to our Money Smarts podcast while you cook!), then set the table, add some candles and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Sunday’s Challenge: Schedule a “money date” with yourself this time next month.

Plan a monthly money date to review your statements, loan balances and retirement accounts. Jumpstart your new habit by scheduling an appointment with a Summit financial expert for your first money date. You can discuss your experience doing the #MoneySmartsChallenge and come up with a financial strategy specific to your needs and goals.

Ready to take the Money Smarts Challenge? Share pictures of your journey on Facebook or Instagram using #MoneySmartsChallenge and tag Summit Credit Union for a chance to be featured on our page. 

For more tips to help you own your money, follow us on Facebook and read more of our Money Smarts blogs.