How to Fix Bad Financial Habits With a 30-Day Money Challenge

Joel Lee 20-04-2016

Tired of an empty bank account? Want to eliminate the fear of receiving bills? Wouldn’t it be great to be free of your debt once and for all How to Get Rich: The Fastest Way to Get Out of Debt Imagine being debt free. No overdrawn balances or unpaid bills. There is a foolproof way of getting yourself out of debt. It starts with a plan and some discipline. Let's visit the other ingredients. Read More ? Improving your personal finances is just like dieting, exercising, and other kinds of habit-building goals Develop Good Daily Habits with 7 Painless Tools & Guides You need to set very specific habits up for yourself if you're going to make them work. Discover seven great websites and apps to inspire your habit building. Read More : all you have to do is start small How to Use Micro Habits and Spark Massive Personal Change Creating new habits is hard. Habits are usually built over weeks or months of repetition, and motivation is the challenge. When the going gets tough, micro-habits can be a huge help. Read More , start slow, and let the momentum build over time.


Building new habits is hard, though, and the lack of a routine, having too many goals, and having poorly defined goals make it harder. That’s why predefined, one-step-at-a-time challenges are so effective at building new habits. All you have to do is follow along.

Refinery29’s 30-Day Challenge

If you decide to try only one 30-day personal finance challenge in your entire life, let it be this one. Not that it’s the be-all-end-all solution to all of your financial woes, but it’s arguably the best crash course we’ve ever seen and highly worth checking out yourself.

The creators of this challenge, Lindsey Stanberry and Priya Malani, have put a lot of effort into making it as informative, relatable, and easy-to-follow as possible. If you’re an absolute newbie to personal finance and have no idea what to do, this challenge is for you.


For each day, you get a single task to complete, the tools you’ll need to complete it, and the estimated amount of time it’ll take. But what’s especially nice is that each day comes with teachings on financial basics, examples from the writer’s own life, and some words of encouragement.


For example, Day 16 isn’t just about setting up an emergency fund, but reasons why such a fund is important and how to make the best use of one.

You’ll also be asked to save a little bit of money every day 4 Ways You Can Save Money With Apps and Websites It's vital to have enough money in your savings accounts. Take the first steps to financial security by using these apps and websites. Read More , culminating in just under $500 saved over the course of the month. Not only will you be equipped with a new financial attitude, but you’ll have a significant chunk of money to show for it!

Forbes 30-Day Money Challenge

Despite how you may or may not feel about the quality of content at Forbes these days, don’t overlook this awesome 30-day money crash course written and compiled by the site’s staff writers and contributors. It’s actually quite good, especially for apprehensive newbies.

The goal of this money challenge is simple: to train you to be more aware of your money situation, to build a healthier attitude towards money, and to help you rein in harmful spending habits. It’s all about taking control of your money instead of being controlled by your money.



At the start, you’ll learn the fundamental basics like how to read your paycheck, check your credit online, track your spending, and discover your money personality. These simple steps are designed to get your feet wet and you’ll start feeling comfortable in no time.

By the end, you’ll learn how to overcome emotional spending triggers, consolidate or refinance big debts How to Save Thousands: Consolidate Your Student Loans The average 2015 college graduate will have to pay back $35,000 in loans. Here's how loan consolidation can help. Read More , cut unnecessary expenses, and even make a bit of extra cash on the side to help you towards financial freedom.

The 30-Day No-Spend Challenge

Maybe you need something simpler. Maybe the course-like challenges above cover too much information and demand too much from you. Maybe you just want to focus on wasting less money. In that case, this challenge is for you.


The 30-Day No-Spend Challenge is exactly what it sounds like: eliminate all unnecessary spending for one month. For 30 straight days, you set aside your debit and credit cards, lock down your online accounts, and do everything possible to avoid impulse shopping Buck the Trend: 5 Tips to Avoid Shopping Impulsively Online Are you an impulsive shopper? Do you throw away money on items you don’t really want or need? Here are some tips and tricks to help you regain control. Read More .


What counts as unnecessary? If you can survive without it, it’s unnecessary. (That means Starbucks coffees, cinema tickets Cinema Is Dying: How Movie Theaters Can Ensure Their Survival Movie theaters need to offer more than just a way of watching the latest films. They need to stop competing on "convenience" and start focusing on "experience." Here's how. Read More , Woot deals, etc.) If you do need it to survive but there are cheaper and less luxurious alternatives available, then it’s unnecessary. Fast food, restaurants, designer clothing, and other similar purchases are, therefore, considered unnecessary.

This challenge is much easier if you use a mobile finance app to track spending Build Better Spending Habits with These 7 Android Finance Apps A few lifestyle tweaks can greatly improve your financial situation. Here are some of the best Android apps to help you budget and plan your spending. Read More . When you can actually see how much you’re saving, you’ll gain even more motivation to keep going. It’s one of the most effective ways to break out of a bad spending habit How To Start Saving Money And Stop Spending With 4 Easy Habits One of the top new year resolutions on many people's lists is to spend less and save more. It's easier said than done, but you can still rely on several apps and tools to help... Read More .


30-Day Habit-Building Challenges

Once you’ve completed the 30-Day No-Spend Challenge — or if you feel like even that one is a bit too difficult for you — then you can try creating your own money-related 30-day challenge. What’s nice here is that these can be tailored to your individual needs.

For example, if you have a real problem with spending and you have absolutely no idea where all of your money goes, then you will benefit from a “Track Every Expense” challenge. For one whole month, record every single purchase you make, no matter how big or small.


Another challenge could be to “Read One Article” every day — not just any article on the web but one that’s related to personal finance, saving, budgeting, investing, or another financial topic. For this, we highly recommend starting with one of these amazing personal finance blogs Simply Frugal: How To Learn Personal Finance The Easy Way Do you fret over bills and debt on a regular basis? Do you feel lost when others speak using financial lingo? Here's the good news: it's never too late to learn about money. Read More .

Other ideas include the “Pack Lunch”, “No Online Shopping”, “Cash Purchases Only”, and “Bike to Work” daily challenges. You can turn anything into a 30-day challenge! (If you have a good one, share it in the comments below so others can tackle it as well.)

Habits are obviously hard to build. That’s why we also recommend supplementing these challenges with one of these habit-building Android apps Resolutions, Accomplished: 9 Android Apps For Building Habits Resolutions can be good for you if you actually keep them, and there are plenty of Android apps available that can help you with that. Read More or one of these apps that make habit-building actually fun 8+ Nifty Apps That Make Changing Habits Actually Fun Building and breaking habits is not always a fun process, but the following apps can help alleviate some of the struggle. They introduce some element that makes habit-changing more tolerable -- maybe even enjoyable! Read More . You’ll be surprised by how effective these can be in the long run.

The 52-Week Savings Challenge

If you’ve gotten this far and still think that all of the above challenges are too hard or too demanding, then here’s one that literally anybody can do no matter how impulsive or undisciplined you might be: the challenge to save a tiny bit of money once every week.

It’s really simple. Here’s how it works:

  • Every Sunday, you transfer money to a savings account.
  • On Week 1, you transfer $1.
  • On Week 2, you transfer $2.
  • Continue the pattern.
  • On Week 52, you transfer $52.

By the end of one year, you’ll have effortlessly saved $1,378.

One temptation will be to withdraw your savings from an ATM before your 52 weeks are up, so we recommend opening a savings account at one of these safe and reputable online banks Save More Money by Using These 4 Online Banks Online banks frequently offer much better rates and perks than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. Here are four of the best options for American residents. Read More . The temptation is somewhat dampened when you realize that a transfer will take around three days.

Try One Now & Start Saving Money!

The ultimate goal with all of these challenges is to change your attitude towards money. Instead of being careless and throwing cash down the drain with every frivolous purchase, these challenges train you to think of money in a new and healthier way 4 TED Talks to Help You See Your Money in a New Way Personal finance can be a scary and intimating subject. Luckily there is a wealth of information to help you learn. Here are some of the best TED Talks on the subject. Read More .

We hope that you’ll also gain a newfound interest in personal finance as a whole. If you do, consider checking out these wonderful personal finance resources How to Get the Best Personal Finance Tips Every Day From newsletters and podcasts to Twitter accounts and YouTube channels, here are the best places to get personal finance tips. Read More and maybe even start thinking about ways to teach your kids about finance Here Are the Best Ways to Teach Kids About Finance Read More , too!

Which of these challenges will you take? What is your biggest weakness when it comes to money and spending? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Image Credits: Dollar Idea via Shutterstock, Personal Progress via Shutterstock, Piddy Bank via Shutterstock, Grow Money via Shutterstock.

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  1. kjxeaamrrm
    January 13, 2020 at 8:01 pm