I learned from a young age that if you found a way to turn daunting tasks into a game, it made it easier to tackle them. Although I applied the gamification theory to unpleasant chores, it can also be used to encourage you to build positive habits. For example, doing a savings competition with your friends could make it easier to save money. In fact, it could turn it into something you actually enjoy doing! Rather than seeing it as a nagging responsibility, make it something that you and your friends look forward to.
Finding the Right Friends for a Savings Competition
The key to a successful savings competition is finding like-minded people. Not only do you want to be among friends who understand your financial situation, but who will also motivate you to continue saving. Find people who are on the same page and will get amped up for the challenge. Because when everyone commits, it makes it more fun.
However, you want to be sure that everyone has the same understanding of what ‘fun’ is. Having someone who gets too competitive or takes things too seriously ruins it. Furthermore, you also want people who will show up. Reach out to friends who enjoy game nights, could use some extra cash, or enjoy a little friendly competition.
Once you have your group, you will need to determine your savings metrics. Discuss the goals, time limits, and what happens at the outcome. When a group has different income levels, it is better to set goals according to percentage of income rather than dollar amounts to make things fair. You may decide on a grand prize or even put stakes on it. My friends and I have always preferred making the losers perform tasks like washing cars or making dinner. For some, bragging rights are enough to commemorate winning a savings competition with your friends.
Finding the Right Savings Challenge
Another important factor is to find the right savings challenge for your group. A good way to choose your competition is to determine what motivates you. If you are goal oriented, you want to ensure the prize is worth the effort. Saving a few bucks a week won’t make a noticeable difference in your finances and can quickly turn the game boring.
If you know some members get overly competitive, consider challenges that require a cooperative effort. Working towards a shared goal keeps things light and ensures everyone is on the same side.
7 Savings Competitions You Can Do with Your Friends
Most people enjoy a little healthy competition since it pushes us to strive for more. If you are competitive by nature, use it to your advantage! It could ramp up your savings to help you reach your financial goals faster.
1. The Classic 52-Week Savings Challenge
Although this one seems a little lackluster, there is a reason why it is one of the most popular savings challenges out there. This tried-and-true method gradually increases in intensity to establish savings habits. Furthermore, it makes it more manageable and less overwhelming. There are tons of twists on traditional games and free printables to track your progress.
2. An Ol’ Fashioned Save-Off
My personal favorite is hosting a save-off. In this challenge, it’s everyone for themselves to be the first to reach the goal. It’s simple and helps motivate me by showing daily progress. Once you decide the goal, your group needs to set the deadline to reach it (a week, a month, 3 months, a year…)
Since I’m the artistic type, I usually will draw or create some kind of visual aid or game board. Each person gets their own playing piece. The concept is simple, just the presentation changes whether you are climbing a mountain, drag racing, or shooting the moon. The first one to cross the finish line wins.
3. Joint Effort
Co-op games and joint efforts are another excellent savings challenge. Choose a shared savings goal such as funding a group trip, investing in a joint effort, or treating your friends to a night out. My friends and I have used our shared funds for expensive concert tickets, casino nights, and reservations at exclusive restaurants in town. After you decide how to spend your money, post your weekly gains online or by drawing a thermometer to track progress.
4. Double Down
If you have participated in savings challenges before, this one takes it to the next level. Up the ante and attempt to save twice as much in half the time. If you gave yourself a month in previous challenges, shorten the next to two weeks. The sooner the deadline, the more urgency you create to reach your goal. Continuing to push yourself can be tough, especially when goals are long-term. However, having targeting time to push harder helps you to achieve more.
5. Jerry Seinfeld’s Challenge
The comedian Jerry Seinfeld once discussed how difficult it was to regularly sit down to write. So, he found an easy way to motivate himself to complete daily tasks. Each day he wrote, he put an X on the calendar. Not only did it create consistent habits, but also motivated him to see how many consecutive days he could keep it going. Just like Jerry or Snapchat, you can motivate yourself and your friends to see who can maintain the longest streak.
6. No Spending Challenges
Instead of focusing on building savings, you and your friends can try a no spending challenge. Of course you need to pay for daily necessities, but in this challenge you can’t spend money of things you don’t need. Set a regular time to get together with your friends to compare that week’s successes and struggles. These types of savings competitions always stir up great conversation about who was able to resist the urge or who caved to temptation.
7. Stretching Your Budget
This last suggestion is great for those who want to flex their bargaining muscles. Choose one thing everyone in the group spends money on (clothes, electronics, gas, groceries, etc.) and see who spends the least. Record your weekly tallies and compare to see who can rack up the biggest savings. Not only is it a fun way to save, but it also makes you more aware of your spending habits. Having strict limits help you monitor how you spend your money.
Remember it’s only a game, so it’s supposed to be fun. It can be tough to remain consistent with your savings goals, but turning it into a savings competition with your friends can make it easier.
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