Sometimes, paying off debt becomes boring – tedious even. You just want it to stop, but you can’t seem to see the end of it. In order to help you achieve debt freedom faster, let’s talk about a few challenges you could try for yourself in order to save money.
Have a no spend weekend
This one is pretty self-explanatory: spend nothing from Friday night until Monday morning. However, the idea is not to go get the Thai take out for Friday night at noon on Friday so “it doesn’t count”. No. Instead, try to look for some forgotten food inside your pantry or freezer and make a fun meal out of it.
On Saturday, go to the library to get a good book and some movies. At night, have your friends over and host a potluck dinner. They can bring courses, beverages or a dip to share.
On Sunday, have a nice day out with the family. Go hiking, explore the old town centre of a nearby city, and bring a picnic and water bottles.
Estimate how much a normal weekend would have cost you and put that amount towards your debt. Try to have a no spend weekend once a month, then every other weekend, then maybe more often than not? There are tons of fun and cheap or even free activities. Leave expensive attractions as occasional treats. and you’ll save money, but won’t deprive yourself.
The £1 challenge
The £1 challenge consists of saving £1 this week, and putting it towards your debt. Simple and easy. Then next week, put £2 towards your debt. Keep on increasing the amount by £1 every week. £1, £2, £3… until you reach £52 for the last week of the year.
By starting small, you are building a strong habit without it hurting your budget too much. £1 shouldn’t hurt too much. And yet, by the end of the year, you will have thrown a whopping £1,378 extra at your debt! Just like a diet, or a running schedule, don’t be tempted to do too much, too fast, and save £10 the first week. That is the best way to get burned out after a month. Slow and steady wins the race.
The change challenge
This is another way to save money without thinking too much about it. When you come back home at night, have a box, a piggybank, or a jar near where you leave your wallet, and just pour any change from that day into it. Just the coins. After a while, take your box to the bank and deposit the amount to pay off part of your debt. As you will notice with your first deposit, every little helps and adds up over time. A couple of pounds every day is £360 by the six months mark.
The cash challenge
For this challenge, you will allow yourself only a small weekly allowance, 100% in cash. Say £20. That must cover your coffees, magazines, every little treat for which you swipe your card several times a week, without noticing they amount for a big percentage of your take home pay.
By physically having to part with the cash, it will hurt more psychologically than if you swiped your card, and having a limited amount means that when it is all spent, there is no more until next week. That may leave more money on your account at the end of the month to make an extra debt payment.