Whether you’re building your emergency fund or putting a portion of your paycheck away for you and your family, chances are you’re saving money. It’s possible this all-important financial habit can feel tedious and boring, but with a little creativity and determination, saving can be interesting, dynamic, and exciting.
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1. Identifying Your Saving Goals
Not sure how to make saving money fun? You could start by identifying your goals. Are you saving up for a big purchase, like a down payment on a house? Are you saving for your child’s future education?
Once you’ve figured out what you want to accomplish, you could determine a target amount of money you’d like to save. While this number might change over the course of your savings journey, you can always readjust your plan.
If you have an idea of how much money you’d like to work toward saving, you can consider diving deeper into your finances to pinpoint realistic objectives. Enter SoFi Relay.
SoFi Relay can give you a big-picture snapshot of your money: It has tools that can help you track and categorize your spending and cashflow. You could review these numbers to figure out if you have room in your budget to save. The best part is that SoFi Relay comes at no cost to SoFi members!
Of course, that’s just one such tool you can use. Once you’ve reviewed your individual financial circumstances and have a better idea of your savings goal(s), you could try these fun ways to save money.
2. Finding a Saving Buddy
With the right company, even the most mundane tasks can be enjoyable. You could talk about your savings goals with your friends and family members to potentially identify a saving buddy with similar objectives.
An ideal saving buddy will be supportive of your financial goals, flexible about changing plans in order to accommodate your specific savings needs, and have a positive money mindset.
Checking in with your buddy regularly could help keep you both stay on track and you can celebrate each other’s accomplishments. If you’re stressed about how to make saving money fun, you could brainstorm creative tactics with your saving buddy and implement them together.
3. Seeking Out Free Activities
Saving money does not have to be synonymous with missing out on exciting opportunities around you. You could enjoy free activities offered in your area.
Perhaps your local park offers free theater performances or concerts in the summer, or your area bookstore hosts interesting literary panels and author discussions with no attendance fee. Think about the resources provided by your local library, such as book clubs, language exchange programs, craft nights, and movie screenings.
4. Getting Creative and DIY
A potential hands-on and fun way to save money is adopting a DIY (do-it-yourself) attitude. You could create things using materials you already own instead of buying new products. When meal-prepping for the week ahead, think about recipes that incorporate ingredients you already have in your pantry.
You could make your own household cleaners out of vinegar, lemon rinds, and herbs or face masks and toners using fresh ingredients like avocado, tea, honey, and oatmeal. There are ways to reuse materials that might otherwise be thrown out or recycled: Newspapers and coupon booklets could make great wrapping paper, and old cereal boxes might be repurposed into desk organizers.
5. Gamifying Savings
If you’re looking to break up the monotony of saving, you could consider incorporating games and challenges into your overall savings plan. A friendly competition with your saving buddy could be seeing who can save the most money every week, month, and/or year.
Creating small rewards for reaching your goals might be an incentive, too. (Bonus points if these rewards are free!) No-spend weeks, where you refrain from spending any money for seven days, also might help with saving. You could make it fun by taking out a $20 bill from the ATM at the beginning of each month, for example, and not spending it.
6. Swapping Goods and Trading Skills
Getting serious about saving money doesn’t mean you need to give up “luxuries” such as exercising, new clothes and accessories, or home goods. Trading skills and swapping goods are two potential examples of how to make saving money fun while not depriving yourself of the things you want.
You could go to your favorite yoga studio and ask if they have a work-trade program where you can clean or complete administrative duties in exchange for classes. A clothing swap with your friends could refresh your closet at no cost. You might also consider an informal exchange with skilled friends.
For example, if you’ve been eyeing an original painting from your artist pal but don’t have the funds to pay her, you could offer your website design services (or some other helpful skills) for the painting.
7. Increasing Income
Sometimes, cutting down on expenses might not be the most effective way to reach a savings goal. It might be easier, in some cases, to make a bit more money than to reduce costs, especially if you are spending more than 50% of your income on non-discretionary expenses like groceries and debt payments.
A SoFi credentialed financial advisor can help you determine if increasing your income is an appropriate action based on your individual financial profile.
If so, you could reflect on your particular skills and/or hobbies to see if there is a way to translate one of them into an income stream.
For example, if you love to knit, you could start an online store for your yarn creations. If you have a knack for stringing words together, you could offer your writing or editing services in a freelance capacity. A successful side hustle could help bring additional money into your bank account and add more fun and enjoyment in your life.
Optimizing Your Savings
Putting away money for your future does not need to be a boring task; there are countless fun ways to save money that could be customized to your specific financial needs and wants.
Starting to save today—even in small amounts—might help prepare you for even more fun in the future. Signing up for SoFi Money® could be another way to save money.
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This article is originally on SoFi.