2022 Money Saving Challenge: Quitting Bad Habits To Save Money
At the start of 2021, I gave myself a money saving challenge. Instead of doing the popular 52-week money-saving challenge, I decided to quit some habits and see how much I would raise. The idea was to continue with my regular savings but still put extra money aside from what I’d otherwise use ‘treating myself’ just to make myself feel good every week.
My initial goal was to upgrade some of my household electronics because I wanted to move. However, something happened along the way, and I changed my goal post for the year. By this time, I already had a substantial amount saved up. I had also realized that if I kept at it in 2022, I would raise more money to upgrade when I was ready to move.
I digress, back to my changing habits story.
First, I decided to stop drinking and see how much I would save. I had this habit of buying at least three bottles of wine when doing my monthly shopping. I’d pass by the wine shop in supermarkets every month, get my two favorite wine brands and store them for the rest of the month.
Second, I cut down my spending on candies and such sweet tooth delights. I had also made it a habit of getting chocolate bars, ice cream, gummy bears, frozen yogurts, and cakes whenever I was shopping. Some of these would not last the month, so I’d top up my supply in the middle of the week when ordering groceries. Sigh!
Third, I curbed my habit of impulse buying books. I know! I, too, can’t believe I hacked this one! I’ve left a book store twice or thrice without a book. I have also seen book reviews, checked if the books were available in Kenya, and closed the bookstore’s website without ordering one.
These have been my biggest discretionary expenses for years. So my estimate was I would save from $50 (Kes. 5,000) to $80 (Kes. 8,000) every month if I cut them off. And so I did.
I also added a few thousand shillings on top of this when I could. Since I wasn’t commuting to any office daily, I figured I should save the money I’d otherwise be using.
From February 2021, I would put that money aside in my Genghis Money Market Fund account every month. By the end of November, I had saved about $800. That’s what I used to get my new computer.
2022 Money Saving Challenge
Now that a new year is around the corner, I am charged to continue this challenge. Are you ready to give yourself a savings challenge in 2022?
Here’s how we go about it:
Related Post: Are you ready to set your financial goals for 2022?
What Are Your Discretionary Expenses?
The first step is to figure out the expenses you can live without. After paying monthly bills and paying yourself, what else do you use your money on you feel you can survive without?
Is there a habit you want to quit, like partying? These are your discretionary expenses. Anything else, like rent, grocery shopping, and transport costs, are non-discretionary expenses.
I already have my list of wines, candy, and buying books on impulse. However, I am thinking of adding one more item for 2022, reducing takeaway foods.
What’s yours? Is it the daily intake of specialty drinks you can easily make at home? Is it the weekly clubbing and unplanned getaways because of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out)? Whatever they are, make a list and estimate how much you spend on these every month.
Set a Financial Goal
What are you saving for? Setting a financial goal will give you the motivation to keep going. It will also keep you accountable when it is time to use the money.
Maybe you want to use that money to treat yourself later in the year with a vacation, a new phone, computer, upgrade your care, etc. most importantly, state whether the funds raised from this will go towards a short, mid, or long-term financial goal.
As always, ensure you use the SMART model to set your goal. That means it has to be:
- Specific – be very particular in what you are aiming for. For example, if you want to buy a car, state the model, YOM, price, etc. The more vague your goal is, the harder it will be to keep yourself motivated and accountable.
- Measurable – you must keep track of your goal and gauge your progress. If you have set specific goals, it becomes easier to measure them. For example, let’s say you want to buy item A, and it costs $1000; you track how much you have raised 3 months down the line to see how far you are from your target amount.
- Attainable – it is good to dream big but please, start with something you can attain. If you surpass that goal, the better. But for the sake of your morale and sanity, begin with a goal you can achieve.
- Realistic – on top of being attainable, can your goals be realistic?
- Time-bound – give yourself a timeline. We are already here since we are doing a money-saving challenge for 2022. Our timeline will be December 2022. So, let’s see how much you can raise by the 1st of December 2022.
Is a budget not working for you? Here’s what to do in 2022
We have made it a habit of saving only when we are doing it for a particular going. Maybe it is saving for retirement so we don’t grow old and penniless. Sometimes we do it for significant purchases, like a car, house equipment, mortgage down payment, land purchases, and whatnot. And this is great. It gives us purpose and motivation to know what we are working for.
But did you know that you can actually save without having a specific goal in mind? In fact, you don’t need a reason to put a few coins aside.
In The Psychology Of Money, Morgan Housel states that you can actually save without a specific reason. He writes:
“Saving without a spending goal gives you options and flexibility, the ability to wait and the opportunity to pounce.
It gives you time to think. It lets you change course on your own terms.”
And this is 100% true. When I first started my challenge, my goal was to upgrade household electronics. But as mentioned, things happened mid-year and I decided to postpone that goal for another year or so. But that did not stop me from saving. I kept putting money aside every month. And when the opportunity arose, I had the chance to take it without breaking the bank.
So, if you do not have a goal in mind, don’t let that stand in the way of quitting that bad habit and putting that money in a savings account.
Open a Savings Account
You can put this money there if you already have a savings account. However, I’d recommend having a separate savings account. It is best to look for an account with a higher return than a current bank account to help you beat inflation, like a Money Market Fund or a credible Sacco. That said, you can still put that money in a current bank account. It is better to have it in an account with little to no interest return than to not have it at all.
Also, don’t get a debit card for this account. If you have any emergencies, use your emergency fund. If you don’t have one, you can start using this money first to build your emergency kitty and once you are set, divert it for other goals.
But, if you don’t want to keep numerous accounts, have a spreadsheet or notebook where you note down how much you are saving from these expenses every month.
Don’t Be Afraid To Revise Your Goal
Life happens, and plans change. So, if you need to change your goal post in the middle of the year, go ahead. But don’t stop putting this money aside just because your goals have changed.
The bottom line is you can achieve something as long as you set your mind to it and are willing to put in the work. My friends didn’t believe I could forego drinking. I am not saying I stopped drinking entirely. I had a few cocktails when I caught up with my girlfriends once. But that’s the only time I bought drinks myself.
Whenever I thought of getting a bottle of wine when I saw offers, I thought of my goal, what it meant, and I’d let it go. I am now at that point where I don’t want to have a drink ever again. But, I also love that it has given a few of my friends and family the motivation to change some habits and see how much they’d raise for their particular financial goals.
Let’s get the 2022 MONEY SAVING CHALLENGE STARTED!