In Summary
  • A money challenge is also an opportunity to turn this saving thing into a group activity.
  • And you know how our culture loves such?
  • Do you have feedback on this article? E-mail: lifeandstyle@ke.nationmedia.com

Saving money has to be fun, engaging and different at the very least.

Standing orders and direct debits are practical and effective, but they feel like something my dad talked about with his bank teller in 1993.

It’s 2019. Practical and effective don’t have to translate to boring, hands-off and clinical. A saving challenge will help you reach your goal of saving money, but – and this is where I want you to pay attention – it also changes how you perceive with money.

Money starts to take on a new colour of camaraderie and play.

MONEY CHALLENGE

A money challenge is also an opportunity to turn this saving thing into a group activity. And you know how our culture loves such?

I check in on you, you check in on me, you send me screenshots of your growing savings account, I send you smug selfies when I’m done drafting my budget, you meet with me over a drink at happy hour to take stock... it’s all good.

That sense of community and accountability does more for anyone than a bank teller would.

There are several money challenges floating about the vast galaxy of the Internet. I’ve selected three of the more popular ones and broken them down for you:

THE 52-WEEK SAVING CHALLENGE

It’s a weekly savings challenge. You save from your daily/weekly spending. You increase the amount saved every week by a consistent amount. It has a compounding effect on your savings.

So January, week one, you start by saving Sh100.

January, week two, you increase the savings by Sh100, so you save Sh200.

Week three, you increase the savings by another Sh100, so you save Sh300.

Week four, the same thing, so you save Sh400.

So in the four weeks of January, you should have in your savings Sh1,000.

Repeat this until you complete the 52 weeks of the year.

You can also save as much – or as little – as you are able to. From Sh20 to as much as Sh1,000.

With saving 100 every week of the year, you will have saved in 52 weeks, Sh137,800.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT
It feels achievable because the big goal of saving that much has been broken down into smaller more manageable bite-size chunks. Sh100 isn’t difficult to come by. Anyone can look into their wallet and find a note of 100 bob.

I also like that with time you, you’ll commit to save first then spend what has remained after your savings – you’ll learn to pay yourself first. 

A goal of saving Sh137,800 in a year is about Sh11,000 every month. It’s different when I put it that way, right? Sh11,000 a month versus Sh100 a week changes how perceive your savings. That perception is what contributes to its popularity.

Is it too late into January for me to jump on the bandwagon?

HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU
Save with a goal in mind. Don’t save for the sake of saying you completed the challenge. That’s like going to the gym so you can say you went to the gym. So save for something that’ll make the pinch of the challenge worth your while. I’d save for travel. What would you save for?

Another way is to keep the cash where you can’t access it. Lock it away.

Also, don’t skimp on your weekly savings and dump a lump sum to your savings account at the end of the month. That’s not how the challenge works to build discipline. You’re cheating. An increment of Sh100 every week – nothing less, nothing more.

THEALL-CASH SPENDING CHALLENGE

This challenge says that for, say, two weeks every month – or a frequency you determine – only use cash to make your purchases: no Visa or credit cards, no M-Pesa, no using a loyalty card to redeem points for shopping.

Hard cash, my friend, in notes and coins. Cash that you go into your wallet for, remove, count to make sure it covers your expense then hand it over to the open hand that’s waiting for it.

This challenge here is purely psychological. Research says that you spend less if you are using cash to pay for things.

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