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5 Money Saving Challenges for Couples to Try Together

Want to up your savings game with your partner (in a fun way)? Choose just one money-saving challenge for couples off of this list.

One of the things that really connected my husband and me after getting engaged was taking on a money-saving challenge for couples.

couple on floor of home having fun looking on tablet, text overlay "5 fun and doable couple's money saving challenges to try"

We had just gotten engaged, and I had us hold a financial meeting. From that meeting, we understood each other’s income, and debts. We also hashed out a few of our first couple’s savings goals we wanted to work on together.

For us, that was:

  • Pay off the remaining $25,000 of our combined debts before walking down the aisle and getting married
  • Put a down payment on a home
  • Pay cash for our wedding and honeymoon (we did receive some help, but mostly paid for these ourselves)

No small peanuts here, right?

We actually accomplished each of these goals within five months of getting married, and I know that working together (with a little fun competition) was a big part of how we were able to.

That’s why I’m writing this – to get you and your partner closer to your goals while gaining financial intimacy and even having a little fun!

Psst: not sure what you both should save up for? Get your minds working with these 47 cool things to save for.

Money Saving Challenges for Couples

Let me show you some friendly money-saving challenges you and your partner can do to get closer to your goals (and to each other!).

Also, check out how to start a money-saving challenge and 9 money savings challenge ideas to get things off to a great start.

Hint: you might also want to check out these 9 financial goals for married couples.

1. SpendingMoneyTomorrow's Daily Spending Couple’s Saving Challenge

Here’s a fun little friendly competition you can add to your relationship, which will double as a strategy to sock money away towards a couple’s money goal you both want.

Basically, you download two free daily spending logs. Each of you tracks what you spend throughout the day.

SpendingMoneyTomorrow recommends that you don't track spending on necessities (and that the two of you agree on what a “necessity” is before the competition begins). Otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair for the person in charge of, say, buying groceries, right?

She and her husband start fresh each month, so you can choose a monthly winner every 30 days or so.

And the winner? Could choose something from these 365 ways to reward yourself for $5 or less.

Hint: this 30 day no eating out challenge will really help you with this one.

2. Couple’s Incentivized Savings Challenge

I absolutely love Rosemarie’s incentivized savings challenge, and it can easily be adapted for couples.

Here’s how this would work:

  • Set a Couple’s Savings Goal: Decide on a couple’s savings goal – something that you both want to do that will benefit each of you. For example, you could make it a goal to pay down debt, or save for a family vacation to Salem, Massachusetts for next October, or buy a jet ski for summer water fun, etc.
  • Divvy up the Spending Categories: Divide up each category of household spending between the two of you, so that each of you is responsible for purchasing certain things. Categories can include groceries, planning vacations, insurance, etc.
  • Set the Rules for Incentives: The person who is in charge of the spending category now has a double-whammy reason to find ways to spend less. Both because when they spend less, they’ll be able to sock some money away towards your joint savings goal AND because when they spend less than what was budgeted? They get to spend a percentage of those savings on themselves. Woah, right? Rosemarie suggests 20%. So, each of you gets to keep 20% of what you saved from what was budgeted for the category you’re in charge of – then the other 80% saved goes towards the couple’s savings goal.
  • Game ON!

Getting a little excited about the possibilities here?

Let me give you a few hints on how to spend less money in the category you’re in charge of.

Say you’re in charge of auto insurance. You guys would make a note of what your auto insurance costs each month, and you would make sure that were getting paid (here’s how to organize your bills).

But you now have a great incentive to come in under that budgeted number. Here’s how to negotiate lower auto insurance – and you get to keep 20% of the lowered fee to spend on whatever you’d like! Definitely give this a try on homeowner’s insurance too (how to get cheaper home insurance).

More resources to lower the category of spending you're in charge of:

3. The Vices Couple’s Saving Challenge

Does your partner have a habit that not only drives you a little bonkers but also costs too much money?

Great – you probably have one, too, that they feel the same way about.

Could be a spending habit, a food they eat a ton of, a specific store they shop in, etc. 

For example, in our own marriage, my husband eats mustard, and pickles, and drinks coca-colas like nobody’s business. As a budget-conscious grocery shopper, I was shocked when week in and week-out we would seem to go through an army-supply of these items (a *slight exaggeration).

And my husband? If you asked him about me, well, then he might bring up my poke bowl addiction (seriously love that salmon poke…).

What if the two of you got together, and decided to save money by giving up one of your own vices for a duration of time?

For example, my husband could give up drinking cokes, and I could give up eating poke bowls for 30 days.

How much money could you each save the family by doing this?

Not only that, but by each agreeing to give up one thing, it means you’re both in it and the other partner won’t feel like you’re targeting them. Know what I mean?

Psst: on a low budget? Here are 9 mini-saving challenges for low incomes. Also, check out these 11 fun money saving games for adults!

4. Couple’s Electricity Savings Challenge

Several years ago, I took part in a group electricity savings challenge through an electricity provider company. It was our household pitted against several others, in the Houston area.

And you know what? We had so much fun doing this.

In fact, I had done something similar with a friend at work years earlier – we got into a friendly competition about who could decrease their electricity bill the most over a set of months.

You can do the same with your own circle of couples friends.

Since everyone has different house sizes and some have different energy rates, you’ll want to pick the winner by the percentage of what was saved. To do this, you’ll want to establish a baseline energy cost for the household, and then each month you would calculate the percentage that you saved from that baseline month.

The baseline month can be the same month from last year so that it accounts for what you typically spend seasonally (for example – if you do the competition in a summer month, then you don’t want to choose a winter month as your baseline, especially if you’re in Houston and the winter months are a lot less expensive for energy than the muggy summers!).

Here’s an example of what this could look like:

  • You guys choose June to do your energy savings competition
  • Your bill from last June was $275, which becomes your baseline
  • By early July, you get your June bill – yours came in at $206
  • You subtract $206 from $275, to find that you spent $69 less than last year
  • You divide $69/$275, to see that your percentage saved was 25% from last year’s baseline bill
  • Whichever couple saves the most (percentage-based) from their previous year’s bill, wins

5. Family Savings Goal Challenge

Want to get the whole family involved in a savings challenge – not just Mom and Dad?

I created an article on how to set up a family savings goal challenge, and I'll summarize it here.

You’ll want to:

  • Hold a family brainstorming session
  • Set up a money-saving space where the funds can accumulate
  • Research the target savings goal (i.e., the amount you’ll need to save up)
  • Set up a visual savings tracker where everyone can see it
  • Source the money
  • Keep track, and stay motivated
  • Purchase your savings goal, as a family!

What are family goals examples? A few include a trip on Thomas the Tank train, a family Medieval Times dinner on your next vacation, a new video game console with two group/family games to play, etc.

Money-saving challenges for couples are an awesome way to not only save up a bunch of money towards a common savings goal but to work towards something as a couple (the same with these 7 financial money exercises for couples).

Which will, ultimately, bring the two of you closer together. Will there be snags? Totally. But working through them with your closest partner is going to connect the two of you in a way you wouldn’t be otherwise. So, pick a savings goal challenge and get to savin’!

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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.