Can saving ever be fun?

Saving games to help you get on with it

We’ve scoured the internet, (well the nice parts of it), to see how people are convincing themselves to save. It turns out a lot of people like a challenge.

There’s a load of psychology in that. Fixed targets, small steps, fun, short-term satisfaction/long-term reward etc. 

We thought we’d highlight a few and maybe inspire you along the way.

The 52-week challenge

As the name implies, it goes for 52 weeks. The idea is to save $1 in the first week and then increase the amount by a dollar each week.

So, in week 16, you save $16 dollars, in week 52, it’s $52. If you complete, you’ll have put aside $1,378 in a year (without including any interest you might earn).

A dollar a day

If you find it hard to save, $1 a day will seem like nothing (and it really is, at first). The clever bit is that by repeating this daily action, you’ll train your brain and form a positive association from the results.

Once you’ve got the habit humming, you can gradually add to the amount until it starts getting uncomfortable. If a dollar a day seems like too much work, you can vary the timings to twice or three times a week.

Weird weather savings

The idea is that on a set day of the week, you find out what the warmest temperature was and save that amount.

It’s obviously not great if you’re living in sub-zero temperatures but some people find this method effective. This is part of a wider trend of tying non-financial events or triggers to savings habits. There are people who save money every time a US President tweets, when it rains, when their boss smiles.

Bad habits bring good money

Not always, but in this case, it’s a good idea to monetise your less than stellar habits. This ranges from the good old fashioned Swear Jar (a gold coin per word can get you far) or putting in a dollar for every minute that you’re late for something (it builds up your bank account and reminds you to set your clocks right).

Why these things work (really)

It’s a little something that behavioural economists like to call ‘appropriate challenge’. That is, encouraging a regular savings habit by starting small and building up. So, while the amount may seem insignificant at first, by the end of it you’ll have a nice, big final sum to look at.

The element of fun also helps to encourage good savings behaviours. By associating your regular deposits with triggers like the weather or pop culture, you’re taking away the seriousness associated with money and making it a little easier to process why exactly you’re doing what you’re doing.