11 money challenges to put more money in your pocket all year round

Yuhman 10 min read
money challenges illustration money challenges illustration
There comes a point in the year when your wallet is stretched to the limit. To prevent this, we’ve come up with 11 fun money challenges to help you keep your accounts in the black all year round. Our ideas range from giving up your morning coffee to saving for (and on) a rainy day, and they’re all designed to help you plan your budget and take long-term control of your money. The key is to set realistic goals and adapt the challenges to suit your lifestyle – and don’t forget to reward yourself when you’ve finished. If you want an extra bonus in your account soon, read on…
Think of your wallet as something with a mind and a soul. With the daily challenges and festive peaks it faces, it’s no surprise that its spirits (and contents) can sometimes be pretty low. But you can do something about the blues and boost your financial well-being. The key is called balance: Effortlessly putting money aside throughout the year so that it’s there when you really need it.
We’ve put together 11 playful money challenges. They’re designed not only to bolster your bank account, but also to bring a sense of fun and achievement to managing your finances. Try them out if you’re getting ready for the festive season, sticking to your New Year’s resolutions or just looking for innovative ways to save for a rainy day – these challenges are perfect for any time of year.

Our top 11 money challenges

Right, it’s time to get down to business. Here are 11 of our most exciting challenges to get you started on your journey to financial well-being. Ready to put some extra cash in your wallet? Then let’s get to work!

1. Coffee-NO-go

Be honest with us, now … Are you a regular at your local coffee shop or bakery? Are you one of those people who can’t resist the combination of a fresh croissant and the aroma of a steaming hot take-away coffee? We thought you might be! Now, imagine what you could save if you could give up this daily ritual for just one month. If we assume that your delicious take-away breakfast sets you back something like 5 CHF a time, you could save 105 CHF in December alone – and that’s not including weekends. Quite a saving, isn’t it? Of course, you can do the same with other sundry expenses like cigarettes and sweets. And after all, it’s only for a month; you’ve got the rest of your life ahead of you!

2. The inflation challenge

What does inflation have to do with saving money, we hear you ask? Quite a lot, actually – at least, it does for this challenge. The idea is really simple. First, find out what the current rate of inflation is in Switzerland (at the time of writing, it’s 1.7%). Now add exactly the same percentage to every purchase you make, round it up to the nearest whole franc, and put it aside. At current rates, for every 250 CHF you spend, you’ll save 5 CHF.

3. Cash stuffing with Yuh

Cash stuffing, also known as the «envelope method», is all the rage on social media at the moment, which was more than reason enough to put it on this list. The first thing you need to do is to get a full picture of your financial situation. Then, at the start of each month, you put your monthly budget into envelopes, with each envelope representing a different category of spending (for example, food shopping, car, house, presents, etc.). You can only spend what you put in the envelope, which means you can’t exceed your set budget. Then, when you «un-stuff» the envelopes at the end of the month, you can carry over what’s left into the next month, or use it for another of our money challenges. There is only one catch: you have to do it all in cash! However, if you have the Yuh app, you can stuff cash electronically by setting up your own saving projects from the «Save» page. You can use the automatic saving function in the app as an easy way to allocate the right amounts to the right projects every month.

4. The 52-week challenge

This one works on the principle of doing a little bit more each week. Every week, you save one franc more than you did the week before; 1 CHF in the first week, 2 CHF in the second week, 3 CHF in the third week, and so on. Do it for a year, and you’ll have no less than (drum roll please …) 1378 CHF extra in your account.

5. Eating out

From a financial point of view, meals out (or take-away lunches, for that matter) are just the same as your morning coffee (not to mention that tempting croissant): the more you can do without them, the more money you save. Let’s imagine you decide to take a packed lunch to work every day in December. There are 21 working days in December, and the average price of a lunch ranges from 13 CHF (for a sandwich and a soft drink) to perhaps 25 CHF for a set lunch with a drink at a local restaurant. That means that your packed lunch could put something between 273 CHF and 525 CHF into your savings account. Who’d have thought it?

6. Look after the pennies

We call this one the «1 cent» or «1 penny» challenge. The idea is that, on each of the 365 days of the year, you put one cent more aside than you did the day before. On the first day you start with just 1 cent, on the next day you save 2 cents, and so on. It may not sound like much to begin with, but it all adds up. By the end of the challenge, you’ll be looking at 660 CHF in cash. And here’s another little tip: the minimum amount you can allocate to a saving project on the Yuh app is just 0.01 CHF!

7. The throw of a dice

Grab a standard die out of one of your old board games, and throw it. Then try to save the amount shown on the die every day. If you’re lucky enough to keep throwing sixes, you could end up with as much as 186 CHF in your pocket by the end of the month.

8. The old-fashioned piggy bank

What’s that? Cash is king, you say? In that case, this challenge could be right on the money. Try using a jar (or even a proper piggy bank) for all your loose change up to a certain amount, say 5 CHF. At the end of the year, crack open the piggy bank and let us know how much you saved. And by the way, you can use any Swiss ATM to withdraw money from your Yuh account once a week, absolutely free of charge!

9. No more impulse buys

We weren’t born yesterday; we know how marketing works. We know that it’s not just in the run-up to Christmas that your wallet is exposed to the risks posed by (alleged) bargains and the temptation to impulse buy. Danger lurks around literally every corner (not to mention in e-mails and online advertising). We know you work hard and you don’t treat yourself to much, but next time you’re tempted, dig deep and resist, a least for a month. If, after 30 days, you still really want whatever it was that you fancied, then treat yourself. And if you don’t, the cash will be sitting pretty in your account.

10. Baby, it’s cold (or hot) outside

It’s well known that the weather can affect our biological rhythms. What’s not so well known is that it can also affect our bank accounts. That’s why we came up with this challenge especially for weather-watchers. The idea is to put money aside according to the outside temperature, so that the mercury (or one of those newfangled weather apps, if you prefer) shows you how much to put away in your savings pot. If the temperature is 10 degrees, you save 10 CHF; if it’s 20 degrees, you put 20 CHF aside – you get the picture. Before you take on this challenge, think carefully about whether you want to do it every day or just once a week. Saving every day in a heatwave can become a bit of challenge, and if you happen to live in Lapland or Siberia (where temperatures can plummet to as low as –40), it could become an expensive business. Still, if it does, at least you can use all that money to buy yourself a proper winter coat …

11. Round ‘em up like a boss

Round all your everyday expenses up to the nearest franc, and save the extra change (for example, by putting it in a saving project on the Yuh app). That might not seem like the most exciting idea in the world, but first impressions can be deceptive: if you can save yourself 50 centimes a day, by the end of the year you’ll have accumulated 182.50 CHF. Not so boring now, is it?

The bottom line

These money challenges are supposed to be like your favourite sport or hobby. They’re not meant to be a burden; they’re positive challenges that you can get something out of. Be careful not to overstretch yourself. Before you start, think carefully about your financial situation and what makes sense for your budget. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you changing your savings goals from month to month, or indeed from combining multiple challenges at the same time. The challenges are not about turning you into a gnarled, miserly money nerd; they’re supposed to help you work out how to plan your budget and put your finances on a more sustainable footing. Seeing your money grow should make you feel good and motivate you to keep going.
Before we go, here are a few tips/strategies that might help you stick with your chosen challenges:
  • We’re not looking to limit your creativity, and you can take on your challenge any way you like, but it is usually a good idea to set fixed rules for your challenge, and to follow them for a limited period.
  • Be realistic – don’t set your sights too high.
  • If you have a wobble along the way, take a moment to stop and ask yourself whether you really want to give into temptation and spend what you’ve managed to save so far.
  • Adapt your challenge to fit your lifestyle. If, for example, you know you don’t usually carry cash, you can rule out the challenges that involve bank notes, small change or piggy banks.
  • Use your savings challenge to save up for something specific, so you have something tangible waiting at the end of it.
  • Think about using one of the challenges to save up some spare cash you can then invest in shares or another investment product.
  • Harness the power of the community, and take a look at posts and articles about money challenges on social media. Come to think of it, why not post about your own experience?