Welcome to the GoalGetters gain a grand challenge! This month, our focus is on financial goals. This challenge provides daily activities to help you save or make money.
Will you gain a grand?
Sign up to the mailing list for your free printable to track your gains. Check in here each day for details of the relevant activity, track your gains on your printable, and share your progress on our Facebook page.
Day 1 – What’s your why?
At the start of the challenge, it’s important to spend some time thinking about why you want more money. This may seem obvious – we could all do with some more money, right? But the more detail you build about why you want it, the stronger your motivation. Consider finding an image to instantly remind you of your goal, or build a vision board. Read more about the importance of knowing your why here.
Day 2 – Set your budget
In order to be able to track your gains, you need to know what your usual spend would be. If you don’t already have a budget, build one today. Base it on your usual spend, rather than the ideal.
This budgeting tool from Sorted is a great resource to help you build a budget. Check back over your recent bank statements to see how much you spend in each area, and to make sure you don’t miss anything.
Check that your income is more than your outgoings. If not, use some of the suggested activities on a more permanent basis to bring things back into line.
Day 3 – Tackle debt
If you have debt, tackle this first. Credit often comes with a very high interest rate, meaning that you pay back far more than you ever borrowed in the first place. Check out the image below from the Sorted debt calculator. This shows that a $10,000 credit card balance at a rate of 20% would take 9 years to pay off at $200 per month, and would cost a total of $21,680. That’s over twice as much as was borrowed in the first place! And that’s assuming that you don’t add any more to it.
Need help tackling your debt? Sorted.org.nz has some useful advice here: https://sorted.org.nz/get-sorted/start-tackling-your-debt/.
Day 4 – Plan ahead
You can save so much money just by planning ahead. From packing your lunch to taking advantage of early bird rates, there is much to be gained from being organised. Be careful though – early bird deals are often non-refundable, so make sure your plans are certain before booking ahead.
Take a look at your plans for March and see where you can save by planning ahead.
Day 5 – Save the pennies
“Take care of the pennies, and the pounds take care of themselves”. Saving pennies might not bring fast results, but it does build up over time. Check out the penny challenge by My Organized Chaos. By saving an extra penny each day, you get annual savings of almost $668!
An alternative approach is to save the odd pence in you account at regular intervals. For example, if you have $1,486.93, save the 0.93. Do this weekly and it will soon add up.
Or you could use a good, old-fashioned jar or piggy bank to collect all your spare change.
Another idea is to save the increase each time you get a payrise. If you’re making ends meet with what you currently have, don’t start to rely on the extra.
Day 6 – Check your money mindset
Like most things in life, your attitudes and behaviours towards money will be shaped by your experiences, your values and your upbringing.
There are many different facets to your money mindset – fixed vs growth; scarcity vs abundance; limiting beliefs vs attracting wealth.
Take some time today to look into these different concepts and see whether there is anything you can work on to develop your money mindset.
Day 7 – Sell something
I’ve heard it said that the average household could raise $1,000 buy selling stuff that they don’t need. Take the opportunity to declutter and see how much you can raise.
Day 8 – Shop around
Whenever you have big purchases to make, you should shop around to check that you are getting the best price. This is super easy when the items are available online – an afternoon of Googling is much easier than trudging around town comparing prices in different shops.
There are even websites and apps dedicated to helping you get the best deal. Most obvious are the abundance of travel comparison sites – Expedia, Booking.com, Trivago etc. To compare costs of energy providers in New Zealand check whatsmynumber.org.nz, or for groceries in the UK check mysupermarket.co.uk.
Don’t forget to also make sure that you get two or more quotes for services too. There can be a huge variance between costs from different companies. For example, I was quoted $9,000 to rewire my house from one company, vs $3,000 from another. And I was quoted $120 for lawn mowing that another company does for $45. You do need to check that the same level of service is provided by each company (or that you’re happy with a different level of service). It’s definitely worthwhile shopping around!
Day 9 – Ask for a discount
Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount, especially on higher value items. The worst that can happen is that they say no. Often they will be able to do you a deal.
Day 10 – Be rewarded
Take advantage of loyalty cards. Check what rewards they offer and whether it will be of use to you.
Don’t get sucked into buying just to get rewards (that’s not saving), but it’s great to get rewards on things you’re buying anyway. I have a reward scheme on my credit card. I use it for almost all of my purchases (and pay it off in full each month), and gain a few hundred dollars a year in rewards).
I like to redeem my rewards to buy those things that you need but don’t particularly want – think irons, toasters, vacuum cleaners. None of these ‘spark joy’ for me. Or I use the points for everyday use – e.g. groceries, fuel, or sometimes they do cash back.
Day 11 – Shop the specials
Check out the weekly mailers to see what’s on special – but only take advantage if it is something that you would buy anyway. For example, I use the supermarket mailers to help me decide which meats to buy each week.
Day 12 – Ask for a payrise
When was the last time you had a pay rise? If you haven’t had one recently, ask for one. This article from Seek provides some help to make your case: https://www.seek.co.nz/career-advice/want-a-pay-rise-say-this.
If a pay rise isn’t an option right now, what steps can you take to make this a possibility? Can you look for a new job, or undertake some training or study to get you where you want to be?
Day 13 – Earn interest
Check the interest rates on your accounts. If it’s low, move it.
Financial institutions tend to introduce new products with attractive interest rates, only for these to drop after time. Your bank should send you a notification when your rates change – don’t ignore it.
Check whether you can get a better rate – with your existing provider or elsewhere. Your existing provider will usually match the lower rate if you threaten to leave, which will save you the hassle of changing banks. But even if they don’t, the new institution will be so keen to have your custom, they’ll make transferring easy.
Day 14 – Buy second hand
Buy second hand instead of new. Save money, and the environment – and help the seller reach their financial goals (or a charity, if you buy from their shop). Or you may even score something free – check out freecycle or local Facebook pages.
Day 15 – Go without
Consider whether you really need the item before buying it. How much can you save by going without?
Check any subscriptions that you have – do you use them?
Check through your bank statements and ask yourself whether each item is really necessary.
Day 16 – Trade
Can you trade something to get what you want? For example, if you have fruit trees and your neighbor has chickens, you might swap fruit for eggs. Or you might exchange lifts for babysitting. Or used CDs or video games. Or gardening for cooking. Or a bike for a lawnmower. Think of what you have or what you can do, and who might have what you need. What can you trade?
Day 17 – Entertain at home
Save yourself expensive bar or restaurant bills by entertaining at home…
Day 18 – Share the load
… and ask everyone to bring a dish to share so no one person is left with the cost (or burden).
Day 19 – Make your own gifts
Make homemade gifts. Food, crafts, hampers, services (babysitting, cooking, gardening etc). This article by the Spruce Crafts lists 100 Great Ideas for Inexpensive Homemade Gifts.
Day 20 – Wait
Wait 30 days before making big purchases (at least this challenge will be over by then! 😉 ). Or wait until there’s a sale. Or wait until you can afford to buy something rather than use credit. Often, if you wait long enough, you find you don’t need it any more.
Day 21 – Reduce your food costs
Shop the specials. Check the weekly mailers for details, or shop online. Take advantage of markdowns on products close to the end of their life (but only if you can use them in time, or freeze them).
Make a list and stick to it. Cost it out and make sure it is within your budget (doing this online makes it far easier). In the UK? Check out www.mysupermarket.co.uk to find the cheapest shop for your list.
Plan your meals and use up leftovers. Love your leftovers by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a great resource to use up your leftovers.
Take your lunch rather than buying it. Try to have leftover dinner 2-3 nights per week to make this easy. Or cook a batch of food each week that can go into the freezer. Or buy ready-made from the supermarket. It’s more expensive than making your own, but much cheaper than buying from a café.
Grow your own fruit and veg. Or buy in season. Is it cheaper to buy directly from the growers in your area?
Buy supermarket own brand products. These are often exactly the same products in different packages. Try it – if you don’t like a product, you can switch back.
Day 22 – Save energy
Save money and save the planet. The energywise website has lots of tips on how to save energy (and therefore money $$$).
Day 23 – Look after your stuff
Take care of your stuff. Don’t lose it or break it, and you’ll save the cost of repair or replacement.
Make do and mend.
Stay on top of your home maintenance, and your car maintenance to save yourself costly repair bills.
Day 24 – Stay healthy
Stay healthy and minimise doctor and prescription charges. Eat healthily, exercise, avoid or moderate alcohol, quit smoking (which will save heaps of money in itself). Get any health issues checked early, and stay on top of your preventative checks.
As well as saving money on doctor and prescription charges, many health insurers will reward you for a healthy lifestyle.
Day 25 – Check out free events
Save costly days out for special occasions. Check out you local ‘What’s On’ guide for details of free events near you. And take your own lunch.
Day 26 – Don’t pay for branding
Don’t assume that branded products are higher quality. Check out reviews, or test for yourself. Don’t pay extra just for a brand name.
Day 27 – Rent out your space
Do you own space that you’re not using? As well as renting rooms (or properties) either traditionally or through Air BnB, there are many other opportunities for renting your space.
Rent out your parking, storage space, or even your garden. Think about what’s in demand near you, and what you can provide. Make sure you draw up a contract to protect you, and be prepared to manage the arrangement. Or you can outsource this, for example to a letting agency.
Similarly, you could hire out your stuff if there is a demand.
Day 28 – Check your bills
Always check your bills to make sure there isn’t an error. And also weigh up whether there are costs that you could avoid, or whether there is a cheaper option.
Day 29 – Avoid fines
Follow the rules to avoid fines. Speeding tickets, parking tickets, late payment penalties. That money could be used for something that you actually want.
Day 30 – Downgrade
Is there anything you have that you could downgrade? Subscription services are a good place to look.
If you need to make serious gains, consider whether you could downgrade your car or house. Can you move to a cheaper area?
Day 31 – Ask an expert
I am no financial expert – these are just my opinions and ideas for how to gain some money. Book in to see a financial advisor for advice on how to get your money to work for you. If you’re struggling to make ends meet, there are budgeting agencies that can help. For New Zealanders, the Money Talks website can help you find a service near you.
Did you gain a grand?
Did you complete the gain a grand challenge? How much did you gain?
Leave a comment to let us know your total gains, and which activity was your favourite, or which brought you the most gains.