Save Money By Turning Your Budget Into A Game
June 28, 2019 | Posted by: Sherry Corbitt
Do you have trouble budgeting? Maybe you do better with games or a little competition (even if it’s with yourself). If you’re struggling to budget, turning your budget into a game might help motivate you to go that extra step to save money. I know the grocery stores and Shoppers Drug Mart laughs at me because their Optimum program is so addictive. I sometimes go out of my way to purchase what is on the app just to get those points!
But unlike Optimum where it’s designed to get you to buy certain products, our goal is to save by turning points into rewards. First, you need to figure out your goal. Why do you want to save money? Is it for Christmas shopping? Maybe for that vacation cruise. Or maybe you just want to pay off debt. We all have a credit card or loan that may have a high utilization that we’d like to pay off.
I came across this article recently on Money Renegade and I love the idea of it! It uses a point system to save money and along the way, gives you the chance to earn rewards. Interested? Let's get right into it.
First step: decide your goal, whether it is $500 or $1500 or whatever.
Now you need to come up with a points system. What can you do to earn a bit of extra money to reach your goal? For each thing you come up with, you need to make it worth a certain number of points. As your points add up, you will be able to earn small rewards to motivate you to keep you going.
Let’s say that your goal is to save or make an additional $12000 in the next year. If you break that down, it’s about $1000 a month. Or, maybe you would prefer $6000 in the year and $500 a month. You might decide that you want to give yourself 10 points for every $20 that you make. Make it easy enough that it’s achievable, but hard enough that you have to work for it. What if you make more than the $1000 or $500 a month? Maybe you give yourself bonus points. Or, maybe they don’t count but you need to still put it toward your saving. You need to decide what you will do with those bonus points.
Once you have your point system laid out, it’s time for the fun part: choosing your rewards! Make sure that your rewards don’t break the bank. They should be enough to motivate you but not make you use all the money you’ve saved.
For instance, let’s say you decide that for 100 points you can go to lunch at your favourite restaurant, or maybe at 500 you will go to the movies. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you map out your points ahead of time. That way, you aren’t likely to go off course and spend them. Maybe you decide to roll your points over for next month to reach a bigger reward?
- Earn 10 points for every $20 you make from selling XXX
- Earn 10 points for saving $5 on groceries (make sure that the money saved goes into your bank account!)
- Earn 20 points for every $50 you make at a yard sale by selling things you don’t need
You don’t need to save physical money to earn points. You could create some goals that will help you save money. For example:
- Earn 100 points by changing banks to lower or eliminate fees
- Earn 1000 points when your credit score improves (maybe it goes to 700 or 750, etc)
- Earn 300 points for negotiating a raise
- Earn 1000 if you change jobs to increase your pay
- Earn 500 points if you open a RRSP or some other savings account
- Earn 500 points when you buy stock or mutual funds, etc
Let’s talk rewards! Rewards are the fun part. They need to be motivating. What is it that you’ve wanted to buy or do that you haven’t yet? What is on your bucket list? As much as the rewards need to be fun, don’t go overboard. The goal is to save money ultimately. Maybe your rewards are:
- Lunch or a coffee at your favourite coffee shop
- That new lipstick you’ve wanted or eyeshadow palette
- Dinner out
- Movie at the theatre
- A new shirt
- Manicure or pedicure
- That new book you’ve been dying to read
Decide what each of these rewards will be worth. They should all not be worth the same amount of points. You want to be able to stack on your points to roll them over for the next tier of goals if you want. Decide on a variety of rewards of all different price ranges.
Whatever goals and rewards you decide on, make it fun. Maybe for that family vacation, all your family joins in. Make it a family event to save up for that trip to Great Wolf Lodge or Disney. Not only will it help you save that extra bit of money you might have spent otherwise, it will teach the kids to be more careful with their money as well!