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Have you ever challenged yourself to build your savings account? Maybe you were creating that recommended three-to-six months safety net of savings everyone talks about. And perhaps now you’re looking for a new challenge.

How about something to treat yourself? Like saving up for an item on your bucket list — a dream vacation, VIP tickets to your favorite musical artist, a car?

Let’s talk about a 12-month savings challenge, just one year, to save for something you really want.

Why a 12-month savings challenge?

A monthly savings challenge helps you spread the cost of a large purchase out over a year and gives you plenty of time to find creative ways to boost your savings.

Committing to a year-long challenge involves finding ways to shave a few dollars off your budget each month, looking for additional income streams and selling used items gathering dust in your home.

You can also bump up your savings even faster by including a coupon challenge in your monthly savings activities. Let’s get into it.

Know what the finish line is

First, set your goal. How much does what you want cost? If you’re aiming for something without a set cost, like a vacation or kitchen remodel, then a ballpark figure (on the higher end) will work.

Stay motivated by taping a picture of what you’re saving for on your refrigerator or somewhere else with high visibility. A photo of a sunset over Waikiki Beach will remind you that you’re working toward something magical.

Cut costs creatively

Look for areas to cut costs off your regular spending. Why not use coupons and cash back offers to reduce the costs of everyday staples? Plan to include coupons as part of your monthly savings strategy right from the start by downloading our app and signing up for our emails.

If you check our app as much as you check Instagram or LinkedIn, you’ll find money-saving offers you can use on your next trip to the store. All you need to do is tap the offers you like before shopping, and upload a picture of your receipt after shopping. So, become a frequent flier in our app too!

Another great food-based habit to introduce is “Leftovers Sunday” or “Pantry Thursday.” By “shopping” your fridge and pantry, you can reduce the chances of wasting money (and food!) after forgetting about leftovers or items with a short shelf life.

Save those windfalls

Sock away any unexpected or “extra” money throughout the year and watch your savings grow. For example, did you get a tax refund or a bonus at work? Use some (or all) of it to add to your savings challenge fund.

Shop the seasonal sales

Seasonal sales can help you save money that you can then add to your savings challenge.

For example, during back-to-school season, check out thrift stores first for supplies before shelling out major cash for new stuff. Start your family Christmas shopping early to capitalize on deals throughout the year — and so you don’t end up overspending as a result of procrastinating.

And you can save big on produce for future meals by buying veggies and fruits in season. Then, you can freeze, can or preserve them for winter, when fresh produce can get expensive.

Sell your old stuff online

Look around the house for unused or gently used clothing, shoes and sports equipment to sell in local online classifieds for additional income throughout the year. Selling unwanted furniture, kitchenware and small appliances can be a bit of a side hustle!

Celebrate and plan your next challenge

At the end of your 12-month savings challenge, tally up your total and see how you did. (You were likely checking the whole time, but it’s nice to take one final review.) Did you make it?

If you did, congrats! Enjoy your fancy new thing, whatever it may be. Take time to enjoy it and really soak in the fact that you did a lot of work to get there.

If you didn’t — or even if you did and now you want to aim for another item on your bucket list — review your household budget again and make a plan for round two. It may take a year, it may take longer, but consistent saving can make any big-ticket bucket list dream a reality.