The boards went away some years before the Smart Spending blog did; when that happened, some of the most loyal commenters created an alternative universe.
“Not MSN Money Proboards” is a place for veterans of Smart Spending and other message boards to stay in touch and keep sharing the wealth. Or, rather, the road to wealth.
One post I checked in on today, “2014 Savings Strategies,” brought up the old custom of “savings challenges.” Those were popular during the worst of the recent recession; you couldn’t swing a virtual cat in the PF blogosphere without running into someone’s post on challenges.
- Spare Change Challenge – Every night put all your coins in a jar
- Dollar Bill Challenge – Like the above, except with paper instead of specie
- Five-Dollar Bill Challenge – Pretty ambitious, but a little too rich for some bloods
- Random Number Challenge – Pick a number and every night check the bills in your wallet; if one has a serial number ending in the chosen digit, into the jar it goes
But the Proboards posting also mentioned a couple of new ones.
A reader posting as “Coffeegrl,” who’s apparently living close to the bone, plans a weekly challenge. Every Wednesday she’ll put aside “the amount that correlates with the number of week it is” — $1 the first week, $2 the second week, etc. In other words, $10 to $15 per month.
“Better than nothing,” she notes.
More money moves
Another poster, “Chiver78,” is doing a much more ambitious version called the “Calendar Challenge.” Starting in January you put in $1 the first week, $2 the second week, etc. This adds up to a cool $1,378 in a year’s time.
Or you could start doing this tomorrow and just keep it going for 52 weeks. Your call.
I’ve never stopped putting change in a piggy bank. Every so often I’ll have a visiting nephew wrap it for me. Currently there’s $12 wrapped and at least another $30 waiting to be sleeved.
(Yes, sometimes I count the coins myself. It soothes me. But the younger boy likes counting and wrapping, so I leave the chore for him.)
My partner has done the Dollar Bill Challenge off and on for a couple of years. I don’t know how much he has but I expect it’s time to make a deposit. On the other hand, it’s nice to have a cash cache on hand in case of emergencies, such as a natural disaster or the Girl Scouts swing by with those Thin Mints.
The challenge of a Challenge
Our society’s move toward plastic makes these challenges a little tougher, though. You can’t empty your wallet of ones or change if you haven’t broken any twenties lately. Those of us who work at home and rarely have occasion to spend don’t do quite as well at these, either. (Although personally I consider “not spending” just as good as a savings challenge.)
I must say I’m intrigued by the two calendar-themed challenges, however – so much so that I brought them up to my partner. As I expected, he was also interested.
But for the very reasons noted above we’ll probably do the transfer(s) electronically. Instead of dropping bills in a jar we’ll shunt that monthly $10 to $15 into a sub-account at the credit union or online bank.
The money will probably go toward our “New Washing Machine” account. There’s nothing wrong with the old one yet, but eventually it’ll need replacing. We’re already saving for it by putting $2 in a jar every time we do laundry. Coffeegrl’s challenge will just plump the account up that much faster.
Readers: Have you ever done a Savings Challenge? How did it turn out?