2017 Money Saving Challenge, growing your money

2017 Money Saving Challenge: Growing Your Money

January 16, 2017 85 Comments

Well, the Christmas tree is (finally!) down and December’s credit card bills have started to arrive – oh joy! (What the heck did we buy, anyway?!)  January is a great time to take stock of your finances and figure out how to make your money work for you in the coming year.

My husband and I have common overall financial goals: grow our family’s wealth while paying down our debt. Sounds simple, right?! (Spoiler alert: It’s not that simple.) As it turns out, you kind of need to make a plan… otherwise you’re just flinging money around and working at cross-purposes. I teamed up with the folks at Earnest.com to share the 2017 Money Saving Challenge. If you haven’t heard of them, Earnest is a student loan refinancing company with a great mission: “[making] credit more accessible by reducing the costs and barriers faced by millions of financially responsible people.” Anyone who’s taken out student loans can agree that’s a pretty darn good mission!

The 2017 Money Saving Challenge is broken down into four quarters – and I added four of my own tips and goals for March, June, September, and December.

2017 First Quarter Money Saving Challenge, Earnest, Earnest.com, Money Saving Challenge, Growing your money, spring cleaning, selling on Craigslist, selling on Facebook, selling at consignment stores, selling at consignment shops

I actually started my spring cleaning a bit early this year – it must have been those few strangely warm days that messed me up! As a result, I’ve already got quite a few bags of things I’m getting ready to bring to my favorite consignment store (and several others to the Salvation Army!) If you’re looking to sell things online, there’s always Craigslist, but don’t forget Facebook… there are lots of local groups that often move more quickly. Just remember that if you don’t know them, meet in a safe space – try in front of a police department. Maybe I’ve watched too much Law & Order… but whatever… I’ll stop lecturing you now.

2017 Second Quarter Money Saving Challenge, Earnest, Earnest.com, money saving challenge, growing your money, making an extra mortgage payment, paying down mortgage early, paying off mortgage, paying off mortgage early

Making one extra mortgage payment every year (or car payment, etc., if you don’t have a mortgage yet) has a HUGE impact. Your mortgage can be paid off years earlier and you can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest. You can make the extra payment in one lump sum, or pay a little extra every month, or any way that works for you. However you do it, just make certain you apply this extra money toward the principal and not the interest!

2017 Third Quarter Money Saving Challenge, Earnest, Earnest.com, money saving challenge, growing your money, thrifting, shopping at thrift stores, consignment stores, consignment shopping, shopping at consignment stores

I am a thrifting QUEEN! I spent just about every summer Saturday morning as a child hitting up yard sales with my mom and can’t resist a good rummage in a thrift store. I’m lucky to live in a place where there are great consignment shops too. They’re definitely worth a visit (or two, or three, or more!) as you can get new-to-you looks, and support local businesses, without paying ridiculous prices.

2017 Fourth Quarter Money Saving Challenge, Earnest, Earnest.com, money saving challenge, growing your money

This one is probably the one that’s most near and dear to my heart. Christmas is just ONE day. There is absolutely NO NEED to put yourself in debt for that one day. I really cannot stress this enough. If your friends and family want to go all out, then good for them! Thank them genuinely, enjoy the largesse, and do what you can in kind. But be open and honest with them about what you’re working towards – and don’t feel one bit of shame. You’re building a life here, people!

 

What are some of your financial goals for this year? Do you have any tips to share? Sharing IS caring, after all! 🙂

85 Comments

  1. Reply

    Dawn

    January 16, 2017

    I love these tips and charts. Very helpful for those of us who are visual 🙂 I pinned this.

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 16, 2017

      I’m super visual too! Thanks so much for pinning it 🙂

  2. Reply

    Kat

    January 16, 2017

    I really like that Money Saving Challange, I need to try it! And I absolutely agree with your opinion about spending money for Christmas. Instead of having the most wonderful time of the year, people make it the most stressful!

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 16, 2017

      RIGHT?! And it’s completely unnecessary stress. The whole point of the holidays should really be to spend time with family and friends. I’m not saying don’t buy presents (because who doesn’t love presents haha!) but it doesn’t have to be this giant extravaganza. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  3. Reply

    Karen Yannacio Morse

    January 16, 2017

    Love thrifting, too and the joy at finding some vintage or other fab treasure is too exciting! I need to find more thrifting places around me to get better at saving money – and enjoy the time while shopping!

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 16, 2017

      You are so right – it’s like treasure hunting! Going antiquing or thrifting – even if I don’t buy anything – has totally brought the joy back to shopping.

  4. Reply

    jaycie

    January 16, 2017

    I love this! I’m excited to try your method! Thanks for sharing

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      You are so very welcome! Thank you for reading!

  5. Reply

    nlampert

    January 16, 2017

    I love these infographics! Those are such good ways to do a few little, actionable things each month to reach your goals. I’m currently going 30 days without eating out at restaurants or ordering takeout so that I can save money and improve my cooking skills

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      Those are AWESOME monthly goals! We eat out entirely too much too… those 30-day jags of eating at home can really make a difference!

  6. Reply

    Rebecca Bryant

    January 16, 2017

    One of my goals this year is to meal plan and coupon to get my food budget down to 250.00 I also want to pay off smaller bills like Dr. bills that are 20 or 30 dollars.

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      Meal planning is a great idea… it can definitely help to save money, as it keeps you from impulse purchases.

  7. Reply

    Terri Steffes

    January 16, 2017

    To reduce 12 years off our mortgage by refinancing to a 15 year loan. Reduce our credit card debt and save.

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      These are awesome, awesome goals! Go get ’em, Terri 🙂

  8. Reply

    Author Brandi Kennedy

    January 16, 2017

    This looks like a great challenge to look into – and to participate in! It’s amazing how such little changes in your financial patterns can have such huge impact, isn’t it?

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      Absolutely, Brandi! All these little changes add up to big changes, and doing them in small increments make it so much more palatable to you mentally than making massive changes all in one fell swoop.

  9. Reply

    Ana De-Jesus

    January 16, 2017

    I am definitely pinning this money challenge. For me I would like to try and sell some of my clothes on Ebay, it will earn me extra mulah hopefully x

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      Great ideas! You can definitely earn extra money doing that… the key is just not spending what you earn haha! Thanks for pinning 🙂

  10. Reply

    Amber

    January 16, 2017

    These are great. I’m always looking to save. I just put aside some money each month. I’m also going through old clothes and selling those for extra cash.

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      You are so ahead of the game by putting aside money extra month!

  11. Reply

    Amer Phils

    January 16, 2017

    Saving money is very challenging. I’m constantly reminding myself to save.

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      It’s definitely a challenge! I’m trying to make it an ingrained habit.

  12. Reply

    miras pstr

    January 16, 2017

    Thank you for this article, I will show it to my husband really interesting

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      Thank you for reading!

  13. Reply

    vanessa

    January 16, 2017

    I’m big on saving. Thanks for these tips.

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      Thanks so much for reading!

  14. Reply

    Steve Goodwin

    January 16, 2017

    Great post! Love all the timely monthly tips! We use a sinking fund to fund our Christmas and save throughout the year. We’ve worked hard to pay off our debt and build up savings. But having a monthly budget and sticking to it is the name of the game. Our plan is to grow our net worth by $20k and take four paid for vacations this year as well as hit the 15% number into our retirement investments!

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      Having a budget and sticking to it is absolutely where it’s at! You are on FIRE 🙂

      • Reply

        Steve Goodwin

        January 19, 2017

        Ha! I see what you did there! Lol! Have a great day!

  15. Reply

    Mommyhoodandmentalhealth

    January 16, 2017

    I like this, especially the little challenges each quarter. I am surprised by the average Christmas present spending!

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      Isn’t it CRAZY how much the average person spends on Christmas? I couldn’t believe that figure myself!

  16. Reply

    Doran @ Haute Beauty Guide

    January 16, 2017

    These are great tips. I like the 1/3 rules you have; also skipping happy hour and coffee runs are great tips.

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      I like how you don’t have to deprive yourself all year long – just skipping something for one month a year (everyone can do that, right?!) makes an impact!

  17. Reply

    The Travel Ninjas

    January 16, 2017

    Great tips on saving. Having the right mindset is just as important as the tactics. You give both. Thanks.

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      Thank you so much! I definitely think it’s important to approach saving with a positive mindset rather than viewing it as depriving yourself of something… because it’s leading you to a positive outcome.

  18. Reply

    lovelysilvia

    January 16, 2017

    These are all great tips on saving money and restarting after the holiday season. I did some damage but I’m working towards cleaning up some of bills and saving so more money for a nice vacation!

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      You have great goals! Keep working towards your vacation fund 🙂

  19. Reply

    Kelly Hartigan

    January 16, 2017

    These could be helpful tips for the right person. Do you have suggestions for those of us who do not receive a holiday bonus? What if we don’t go to the coffee shop, a lunch joint, and/or happy hour spot three or more times each per week?

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      I’m in the same boat! I’m at home right now, so my bonuses/happy hours/etc. are a thing of the past. My husband and I are working on things like not eating out for a month (we have a BAD habit!), cooking big batches of food on Sundays so he can take his lunch to work every day, and growing quite a bit of our veggies in our own garden. Hoping some of these might be more applicable 🙂

  20. Reply

    Angela Tolsma

    January 16, 2017

    I love the little charts! I have major finance goals this year and I am counting them down. I think it’s so important for people to do the December one. Present giving is kinda out of control and people really don’t need all this stuff!

    • Reply

      Caitlin

      January 18, 2017

      The December one is super important to me too. It’s totally out of control!

  21. Reply

    Krysten

    January 17, 2017

    Those are some great tips. I never heard of Earnest before, maybe I should refinance my loans, it will make life a lot easier. I am going to work on the first quarter one and stop going to my coffee shop and put that money up every day.

  22. Reply

    Heather L (@MarineCorpsNomd)

    January 17, 2017

    Thrift stores are fun as it’s like treasure hunting as long as you don’t buy just to buy.

  23. Reply

    mybelleelle

    January 17, 2017

    Yes, there is no need to go into debt for one day. My sister and I both have birthdays two days from Christmas so my parents have money taken out of every pay check and put into a special account that they use for December. My money goals this year are to save as much as I can and not have to touch the money I have invested.

  24. Reply

    markandkate8

    January 17, 2017

    Love your tips here. January is also the time of the year when I’m hit in the face with credit card bills. That’s why I’m also implementing new saving strategies for this year. Hope I can stick to it, though.

  25. Reply

    Female Traveler✈️ (@hrakaridi)

    January 17, 2017

    What a great post!! its so informative and so useful!! Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

  26. Reply

    cvnxena

    January 17, 2017

    We are aiming to save money this year, we managed to pay off most of our debts last year so we are planning on boosting the savings!

  27. Reply

    Wanderlust Vegans

    January 17, 2017

    Those are great money saving tips. Shopping for clothes and going out can end up adding up to a lot of money if you don’t watch it. I like the idea of selling stuff online.

  28. Reply

    annalisanuttall

    January 17, 2017

    Thank you for this chart as I found it very useful. However don’t show this to my husband as he will start nagging me!

  29. Reply

    Our Family World

    January 17, 2017

    What a brilliant tips and ideas! Challenging myself is my biggest goal for this month. Glad that my money growing for this month.

  30. Reply

    Jeanine Macintosh

    January 17, 2017

    This is great. I really want to change how I deal with money this year. I think my old method was manageable but I need to try something new to maybe do a bit better with money in 2017!

  31. Reply

    me510

    January 17, 2017

    I will have to check them out. We never seem to have a plan in place for our finances so I can see that would help a lot.

  32. Reply

    Fashionable Librarian

    January 17, 2017

    Excellent tips and quite easy to follow for anyone who is serious about savings

  33. Reply

    Jen Smith

    January 17, 2017

    Earnest is a great company. We were gonna wait til our student loans were paid off before we bought a house but it looks like we’ll be buying soon so I’m refiguring out our savings goals for this year!

  34. Reply

    ericaaugust

    January 17, 2017

    I absolutely love this post and admire your hardwork at putting this together! These are great tips and information to utilize when creating a savings or debt plan.

  35. Reply

    Rachel Catherine

    January 17, 2017

    I like that this plan is broken out by the month. It is a really smart plan and breaking things into thirds allows you to still feel like you get to live without saving everything.

  36. Reply

    Elizabeth O.

    January 17, 2017

    It’s important to have plans for your savings especially if you’re stuck in a bit of debt and don’t know how to pay it off. These are very good pointers and it’s makes for a nice guideline too.

  37. Reply

    Rachel

    January 17, 2017

    Very interesting read. It’s fun to see what the averages for these kinds of things are. Thanks for the tips!

  38. Reply

    kaitbrough

    January 17, 2017

    I really like this. I need to be better at setting goals & working toward them centered on my finances! Great read.

    Kaitlyn
    http://www.mypostpartumlife.com

  39. Reply

    Robin Rue

    January 17, 2017

    I love how you have shown everything in charts. I am more of a visual learner and so this really helped me!

  40. Reply

    Christina

    January 17, 2017

    I love how you’ve broken this plan down so that it feels attainable! I’m a big believer in not spending more than you have and staying within your means. I enjoyed this, thank you!

  41. Reply

    Yvonne

    January 17, 2017

    I need Earnest in my life. Some great tips and I like how it is broken down

  42. Reply

    almostindianwife

    January 17, 2017

    I love this! I am in search of all the financial tips I can find! My husband and I are starting a new job and new paycheck. I want to start being much better with our finances.

  43. Reply

    Jill Conyers (@jillconyers)

    January 17, 2017

    This is a wonderful idea for a challenge. Money management is a lot easier broken down like this and a great way to learn.

  44. Reply

    Ashlea

    January 17, 2017

    Mine and my husbands goals this year is to pay off both our vehicles and get into college. Next year we plan to get all of our debt paid off and save money to purchase a house.

  45. Reply

    Angela Ricardo

    January 17, 2017

    This is so cool! As a military wife who could barely handle her busy schedule I am truly glad I came across your post. I will be utilizing this as soon as possible. this will definitely help out improving organization on the budget. Thank for sharing!

  46. Reply

    planningthemagic

    January 17, 2017

    I had to bookmark and pin this because wow. Super attainable and even fun. I have to share this!

  47. Reply

    deesignplay

    January 17, 2017

    These are amazing tips! Love to implement these!

  48. Reply

    Sondra Barker

    January 18, 2017

    I’d like to save more this year than I ever have to prepare for the future. I’ve started budgeting things out a bit more specifically and actually writing things down!

  49. Reply

    Cori Carl

    January 18, 2017

    I love your graphics! Even when I was going to extreme lengths to save money, I was careful to never cut out anything tied to my social life, like going to the coffee shop and going out to eat with friends. There’s no point in paying off your mortgage early if you’ll be a hermit at the end of it. Depending on where you live, you can get really creative with potlucks, picnics, dinner parties, cheap places that are awesome and delicious, and finding great discounts. Some places have great free catered events that are fun to go to with friends.

    Right now I have a home office, but I’m thinking I might need to start making rounds at the coffee shops near me or get a coworking space just so I can meet more people and build professional relationships. It’s money I’m not saving, but I imagine it’ll pay for itself in freelance work and plain old quality of life.

  50. Reply

    Amanda Seghetti

    January 18, 2017

    These are some great tips! Our family is working to lower our food budget and really save more money.

  51. Reply

    Jean

    January 18, 2017

    Whay helpful tips and charts! I like the idea of doing something different in each of those months to help you to have more money. It’s definitely one of my aims this year to be better with money so will definitely be implementing some of these 🙂

  52. Reply

    Marceline Dementori

    January 18, 2017

    I have plans to travel more this year and because of that, I’m trying to cut costs so I can finance my travel goals. These make a lot of sense and it would be nice to be able to save as much as you can.

  53. Reply

    Kait

    January 18, 2017

    My hubby and I are doing a savings challenge! We can’t wait to see the outcome in the end!

  54. Reply

    Lauren

    January 18, 2017

    This was such a detailed post. Thank you for the tips. 🙂

  55. Reply

    Misty Dawn Nelson

    January 19, 2017

    This is a great post and so helpful I always want to find on how to save and grow my money,, I’d love to try the money challenge also. Thanks for the tips

  56. Reply

    Taylor

    January 19, 2017

    Thanks for sharing this! In 2017 we are always working towards saving more money as well! I love how these steps break it down and also provide the challenges! Makes it seem much more manageable!

  57. Reply

    Caroline

    January 19, 2017

    I am the WORST at saving money and it’s really my big goal for 2017! I couldn’t have read this at a better time! Awesome post and great graphics!

  58. Reply

    Karlyn Flores

    January 19, 2017

    What a helpful post! It’s hard for me to save money right now, I’m in debt and I need to pay until 2nd week of February I wish I’m done with this Problem.

  59. Reply

    Amber Nelson

    January 19, 2017

    Definitely need to grow some of my money into something bigger! Great tips on how to make that money!

  60. Reply

    Cass SugarSalt

    January 19, 2017

    I do agree with you. If friends want to have fun let them be but I’ll stay home enjoying my night. Amazing tips by the way and very helpful. -Cass from sugarsaltspice.com

  61. Reply

    Heather

    January 20, 2017

    We want to pay off the last of our student loans and hopefully build a house on some land outside the city. It is incredibly daunting to think about all the steps to get to that place, but Hopefully by Christmas it will all be done!

  62. Reply

    Stephanie Lee

    January 20, 2017

    Such a helpful post! Those infographics are really interesting too. I learned a lot of fun facts. One of my goals is to become better at budgeting this year.

  63. Reply

    duffelbagspouse

    January 20, 2017

    I loved this article. First off, money growing out of the ground (if only), consignments shops, spring cleaning and late Christmas tree takedowns… was my life too. lol

  64. Reply

    stylesprinter

    January 20, 2017

    It’s one of my 2017 goals to start saving more! Thanks for the inspiration and for the detailed explanation on how to do it the right way!

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