10 Ways to Make Saving Money a Game

Saving money is hard. Sometimes it seems impossible, really. To this day, I still marvel at people who can come up with a 20% down payment on a $500,000 home. That’s amazing!

When the fatigue of socking away money month after month starts to get to you, you need to turn it into a game. I’ve found that there are so many aspects of life that are helped by games, and saving money is no exception. “Let’s play a game!” sets a way better tone than “time to tighten the belt!”

So, come on. Let’s play.

Below are 10 ways to make saving money a game. When you turn saving money into a game, everyone wins.

  • 10 Ways to Make Saving Money a Game 1 of 11

    Image via Wikimedia

  • 1. Play SaveUp 2 of 11

    SaveUp is a fun free game that tracks and rewards your saving habits and your debt repayment. You get tokens which you can use to enter contests. I once got a $100 gift card to Victoria's Secret just by playing SaveUp! It's nice to have an online cheerleader when savings is not super fun.


    Image via SaveUp

  • 2. Make a Chart and Color it in 3 of 11

    Get out your markers and a big piece of butcher paper. Make one of those thermometer charts and start filling it in with whatever goal you're reaching. You know, like the ones they have at the PTA? Put it somewhere visible.


    Image by FrugalPortland

  • 3. Set Mini Rewards 4 of 11

    When you set small goals, and give yourself small rewards for crossing a milestone, you'll be much more likely to stay the course. Don't reward yourself too often, though! That'll defeat the purpose. Reward yourself with a $5 treat, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!


    Image via Wikimedia

  • 4. Withhold Something Major Until You’ve Hit Your Goal 5 of 11

    What if you said, "no more haircuts until we've saved for Disneyland" -- would that be easy? How about "no more gym memberships" or something else? To make this work, whatever you're withholding has to be a point of pain. Not a huge amount of pain, like turning off your heat in the midwest in November, but something prickly and annoying. Every time you want to do that thing, put the money toward savings instead. And get a ponytail holder.


    Image via Wikimedia

  • 5. Use Mint Goals 6 of 11

    Mint is like a cheerleader that lives in your computer. You tell it what you're doing (see above for my very own example -- no secrets here!) and what you want to do with your money, it'll hook different accounts to the goals, depending on what you want, and it'll send you an email with exclamation points that help you celebrate when you do hit that goal. Using Mint will force you to open a new account, too, since you can only have one account per goal.


    Image via Mint

  • 6. Set Spending Limits and Break them 7 of 11

    Use a spending limit in the same way that some people use their GPS's estimated time of arrival. "We can only spend $250 this month on groceries? Challenge accepted!" When you go under your limit, put the excess toward your big goal. This can feel like nickel and diming, but it will get you to your goal. Figure out easy places to set spending limits, and use resources available online to get you there!


    Image via Wikimedia

  • 7. Play the $5 Game 8 of 11

    Every time you use cash, take out the $5s. Hide them away somewhere safe. Have every family member do this. You'll be surprised at how little you miss the $5s when they're gone and how fast they add up when you need them!



  • 8. Collect Your Change 9 of 11

    Put change into a communal area every day. You'll hardly miss it, and you can see how fast it adds up. Take it in quarterly, but make sure you take it to a financial institution instead of a grocery store! Your bank won't charge you, but those machines at the grocery store will.


    Image via Wikimedia

  • 9. Make a Vision Board 10 of 11

    This is an art project that will get you to see your goal in real life. Saving for a down payment? Put pictures of your dream home. Saving for vacation? Why not create a vision board around your destination? Put some work into this, cut out pictures from magazines, then display it prominently. Being able to see, really see, where your small and large increments are going will speed along your process.



    Image CC-BY-SA-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

  • 10. Get Everyone on Board 11 of 11

    Be honest with your family and ask for their help. Let your kids suggest ways to make even more money that can go toward the goal. You might be surprised at how enterprising your kids turn out!


    Image by iStock

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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