12 Financial Challenges You Could Try in 2024


Every now and then, it’s a good idea to stop and think about how we’re living our lives and how to make them better.

That is what makes New Year’s resolutions so popular. The beginning of a new year is a great time to both look back in review and look ahead to consider making some changes.

According to some studies, 62% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, so maybe our financial habits are a good place to start.

If you want to make your money situation better in 2024, here are 12 Financial Challenges you could try.

(This isn’t a list where you’d commit to all twelve. Instead, see if one or two make sense for your current financial situation and then put them into place on January 1.)

1. The 52-Week Money Challenge

The 52-week challenge starts with saving just $1. But if you stick with it, you’ll save over $1,300 by the end of the year.

Begin by saving just $1 in the first week, and add an extra dollar each week (save $2 on Week 2). You can even find printable charts to keep you on track and will end with $1,378 by the end of the year.

2. The Single Dollar Saver Game

Every time you receive a $1 bill in 2024, no matter where it comes from, set it aside.

Periodically deposit them into a separate bank account. Small amounts add up over time. And you might be surprised how quickly those random singles add up over the course of a year.

3. The Weekly Investor Challenge

Choose a dollar amount—maybe $5 or $10—and invest it into the stock market every week of 2024.

User-friendly apps like RobinHood make this process very easy and have no minimums. (The smartest first step is always to invest in a fund that moves with the market, like VOO—or you could follow a system live Leverage Momentum if you have more experience and flexibility.)

Learning how money grows in the Stock Market is a great way to become more financially disciplined and learn the real-world benefits of compound interest. Plus, if you use my link above, you can get a free stock just for signing up.

4. The “Community Hero” Challenge

Every month in 2024, donate $100 to a different local charity. Just make a decision to do so now and get started right away in January.

Choosing a different local charity every month will broaden your understanding of who is doing what in your local area to solve problems that they see in the world.

Your donation will be a benefit to them. And your understanding of the hard work being accomplished in your local area will undoubtedly be an encouragement to you.

5. The Mortgage Shrinker Challenge

Try making one extra mortgage payment next year. This could be spread out over the year or in one lump sum. Either way, one extra monthly payment per year on your mortgage shortens the length of your loan by 4-5 years.

It is something the Kim and I have always done. And as soon as you do it once, it becomes very addicting to do again. It’s very satisfying to see your entire payment pay down principal.

6. The Emergency Fund Challenge

Decide that in 2024, you will get to $1,000 in savings (an Emergency Fund). To accomplish that, you’ll need to save just $20/week.

If you don’t have a separate account for your Savings, I strongly recommend it. You can start one at your local bank or online to keep you from spending it.

7. The 90-Day Sprint Saver

If you want to be more aggressive about getting to a $1,000 Emergency Fund, you can accomplish that in just 90 days by depositing $84 weekly. It’s a short-term challenge with a satisfying reward.

If you aren’t sure where you’re going to find $80/week, cut something nonessential out of your usual lifestyle such as eating out, coffee shops, or frivolous luxuries. The “sprint” nature of this challenge allows you to make those adjustments knowing they are only temporary.

8. The Side Hustle Hustle

If you have any financial goals that you’ve been struggling to meet for a period of time (paying off a credit card bill or car loan, or getting ahead of paycheck to paycheck living, for example) decide to meet them by increasing your income in 2024.

Pick an easy-to-get-started side gig like Uber or DoorDash or Amazon Flex. Then, dedicate every penny you earn from it towards that specific financial goal and finally free yourself to move beyond it.

9. The Rainy Day Fund

Every day that it rains in 2024, set aside $10. Mother Nature decides when and how often you save.

10. The Dining-Out Tip Yourself Match-Up

Each time you eat out in 2024, save 10% of the bill into a separate account. For example, if the final bill for your dinner comes to $26.10, immediately put $2.61 into savings. Do it every time you eat out (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, or even just drinks).

You’re already spending more on a meal than you need to… why not increase the price by 10% and establish some savings along the way?

11. Monthly Spend-Free Week

Pick one week each month to spend absolutely zero dollars except for groceries. Doing this challenge just one week per month will help you plan appropriately.

Of course, this is only helpful if you commit to not making radical lifestyle changes to accommodate the week (such as going on an online Shopping Spree every day before your spend-free week begins).

But choosing one week per month where you commit to not spending a single dollar will help remind you of how little you actually need to spend. The challenge also helps you distinguish between wants and needs, reshaping your spending habits well beyond the 7-day challenge.

12. The No-Buy Year Challenge

Did you know that countless people have revolutionized their lives with a No Buy Year? A whole year dedicated to cutting out extraneous purchases in order to reset their spending habits

I’ll put this challenge last as it is probably the most difficult. But lots of people, from all over the world, have accomplished this challenge and so can you if you decide to do so. Here’s some advice on how to do it.

As an additional idea, for those looking to bolster their retirement funds, consider a Retirement Ramp-Up Challenge. Make it your goal to contribute more to your retirement fund in 2024 than you did in 2023, even if it’s just a small increase. If you are falling behind in saving for later years when our earning potential tends to diminish, every additional dollar saved now can make a big difference.

As I mentioned earlier, I wouldn’t expect anybody to try all twelve of these. And maybe for you, financial discipline is already part of your routine—I would hope that reading this blog has helped make that a reality.

But if you know you are in need of a financial change heading into the next year, any one or two of these challenges can begin moving you in the right direction in a fun, helpful way.

Most of these challenges, in the long run, are about more than ways to just save money anyway. They are about changing our relationship with money and the financial decisions we make.

Choose a challenge that resonates with you, and let’s make 2024 a year of positive financial change.

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