Let's face it—staying focused on our goals isn't always easy. And it may seem like the picture-perfect start to new beginnings is just around the corner, so we put off our goals for another day. But the best time to get started on your goals is right now - and 100 day challenge ideas are a good way to motivate yourself to get going!
If you've got big financial goals, then we've got some great 100 day challenge ideas to help you achieve them.
What is a 100 day challenge?
A 100 day challenge is all about self-improvement. Truly, this can be in any area you wish. It's all about helping you work towards a big goal that you want to accomplish—whether that's for your fitness, your mental health, your finances, or anything else under the sun.
Why 100 days?
The magic number is 100 because it's long enough to make a big impact on your goals but short enough that it still feels attainable.
Why do a 100 day challenge?
Everybody has a different reason for starting a 100 day challenge. While some people may want to work on their fitness, others may challenge themselves to make improvements in their health, their hobbies, their finances, or other areas of their life.
In all, there are near limitless 100 day challenge ideas you can pick from. But no matter what area you choose to focus on, there is a world of benefits to be had when you commit yourself to the challenge.
To motivate yourself to start NOW
Often, people wait until the start of a brand new year to make resolutions and work on their goals. This is one of the biggest perks of a 100 day challenge—you can start it any time of the year.
Rather than putting things off until the new year or the spring or when things feel "right," committing to a 100 day challenge will help motivate you to get going on your goals right NOW.
To hold yourself accountable
We've all been there: You tell yourself that you're going to start exercising more ... and then you never do. Again, this is where a 100 day challenge shines.
When you create a tracker for your goals, you are taking that promise you made to yourself and making it tangible. For example, instead of just saying to yourself, "I'm going to run 1 mile on Sunday" (and then forgetting about it), you'll see it written on your tracker.
That's tangible proof that you made a promise to yourself. In turn, this helps you hold yourself accountable so you'll stick to your goals—even on days when you feel sluggish.
To track your progress
Do you know that really satisfying feeling of checking something off your to-do list? Well, that's what a 100 day challenge feels like ... times 10.
Importantly, a 100 day challenge requires you to track your progress every day. This way, every day that you work toward your goal, you can visibly see your progress.
For example, you might see the time of the mile that you ran every day on your calendar. Or you might see your journal become filled with written pages from your daily sessions.
To achieve your goals faster
Finally, it's plain that when you put in the work, you're going to see the results.
In part, this is what makes 100 day challenges so effective. Conversely, if you don't stay committed to working towards your goals, it's going to take a long time to see any progress.
As an example, let's say your goal is to start a side hustle.
Without committing to a 100 day challenge, you may work on your side hustle once a week. At the end of about three months, this means you'll have worked on your side hustle about 14 times.
On the other hand, suppose you undertook a 100 day challenge to work on your side hustle every day. This way, at the end of about three months, you'll have worked on your side hustle 100 times.
Compare day 14 to day 100. Obviously, that's a big difference! Moreover, you'll see the difference in your results and in your progress toward your ultimate goal.
100 day challenge ideas to save money
Whether you want to work on cutting your spending or beefing up your emergency fund, there are plenty of 100 day challenge ideas to help you save a big chunk of money—fast.
1. Only buy the essentials for 100 days
First, make a list of what you consider to be your bare-bones essentials.
Then, don't stray from this list for 100 days. Along the way, keep track of all your purchases, either with a traditional pad and paper or an app.
While this is definitely one of the more challenging 100 day challenge ideas, you're sure to save a big chunk of cash if you do this for 100 days!
2. Don't go to restaurants for 100 days
Similarly, this 100 day challenge will trim much of the fat from a typical budget, but less aggressively so.
To decide if this is the right challenge for you, consider: Do you eat out too much? Do you buy lunch every day at work, or do you call food delivery whenever you're feeling lazy?
If so, you're not alone. A new study from Popmenu reveals that, typically, people spend 40% of their food budget on restaurants.
While we all deserve a treat now and then, those restaurant meals add up fast. If that sounds like you, going cold turkey for 100 days can save you a pretty penny.
3. Save $10 a day for 100 days
Are you missing out on a good savings strategy? (If so, your first step is to make a savings plan ASAP.)
To help you get started saving, try this next challenge. It's like playing a little money game with yourself.
Every day, put $10 in a box. (Alternatively, you can transfer $10 to a separate checking or savings account.)
At the end of the challenge, you'll have $1,000 saved up. Woo-hoo!
4. Try the 100 day envelope challenge
The 100 day envelope challenge is one of the most popular 100 day challenge ideas. It's similar to the save-$10-a-day challenge—but a lot more intense. Here's how it works:
- Get 100 empty envelopes.
- Label them from 1 to 100.
- Put the envelopes in a box.
- Every day, choose one envelope at random. If the envelope is labeled 13, put $13 in the envelope—and so on until you run out of envelopes.
If envelopes and cash are too old school for you, you can also turn this 100 day challenge digital:
- Make a list from 1 to 100.
- Every day, use a random number generator online to give you a random number between 1 and 100. If it generates the number 26, then transfer $26 to a separate checking or savings account.
At the end of the challenge, you'll have saved $5,050! (A slower alternative with a similar savings outcome is the 200 envelope challenge.)
5. Dedicate time to your side hustle for 100 days
Side hustles are a great way to build a new income stream—and there are plenty of options. For example, you can start a blog, create a freelance business (think graphic design, website building, teaching, writing, etc.), or join a delivery service.
However, it's sometimes hard to motivate yourself to start your new venture and then stick with it.
In this challenge, you commit to working on your side hustle every day for 100 days.
To stay on track, start each week by making a list of what you'll do each day that week. At the end, see how much your business has grown!
6. Don't use credit cards or debit cards for 100 days
Unfortunately, it's all too easy to spend beyond your budget when you pay for everything with credit cards or debit cards. In fact, an (in)famous study from Dun & Bradstreet revealed that people spend 12 to 18% more money when they pay with their credit cards instead of cash.
See how much you rely on credit cards with this 100 day challenge: For 100 days, try paying for everything in cash.
To make things a little easier, you may want to make an exception for things like rent, internet payments, etc. However, for shopping, meals out, and other non-essential expenses, challenge yourself to do it all in cash!
In the end, you'll likely see a big reduction in your spending. Still, don't forget to keep track of your expenses, either with paper or an app.
7. Save your $1 bills for 100 days
This is another great challenge to make saving automatic without feeling the pain.
For 100 days, every time you deal with cash, take all the $1 bills you touch and put them in a jar. At the end of the challenge, see how much you've managed to save up.
You can also level up this challenge by saving all of your $5 bills, too.
8. Make coffee at home for 100 days
Don't worry—no one is going to criticize you for getting your regular $5 latte. We don't do that here. If that's what makes you happy, then you do you!
Above all, financial wellness is about finding a balance in your budget to spend responsibly but still find joy with little treats for yourself.
That said, regular coffee spending can add up fast.
For example, suppose you get three coffees a week for $4 each. At the end of 100 days (about 14 weeks), you'll have spent $168 on coffee.
But if you were to make all that coffee at home, see how much you could save in just 100 days!
9. Save all your spare change for 100 days
Every little bit of money can add up! Try saving all your spare change for 100 days.
Empty your purse or wallet and add any extra small bills or change that you get during this time to your spare change fund. You might even start using cash more often in order to save extra change. At the end of the 100 days, see how much money you’ve managed to add to your savings!
10. Make a budget every week for 100 days
Get your money under control with a budget during the next 100 days. Pick a day during the week, and you can do your budget every week on that day. For example, make your budget every Monday.
You’ll make your budget 14 times during this 100 day process. Afterward, your finances will probably have improved significantly!
11. Pay off x amount of debt in 100 days
You’ll see lots of progress with this one. If you have a lot of debt you’d like to get rid of, pick a reasonable number you can pay off in 100 days. For example, $1000 worth of debt.
Every chance you get, work towards your goal by paying off that debt. At the end of the 100 days, see if you’ve met your goal (or paid off even more)!
No matter what, you’ll likely have paid off more than you would have without the challenge. You can then add to your progress and pay off the rest of that debt fast!
Why challenging yourself helps with financial wellness
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau states that financial wellness is “a condition wherein a person can fully meet current and ongoing financial obligations, can feel secure in their financial future, and is able to make choices that allow them to enjoy life.”
So, why is this important?
Truly, financial wellness is about more than just your finances. After all, your financial state contributes to your overall ability to feel secure—both physically and mentally.
Remember that financial wellness doesn't happen overnight. All in all, there are a lot of areas to consider, e.g., saving, investing, debt, credit, etc. But by doing a 100 day challenge, you can make a big dent in your financial goals so you can keep making progress towards financial wellness.
How to start a 100 day challenge
A 100 day challenge may sound a bit overwhelming, but it just takes a few steps to get started.
Pick your goal
Start by clearly identifying what you would like to achieve. Then, write it down.
It might seem obvious, but writing down your goals helps you to keep them at the top of your mind so you'll stay more focused on achieving them.
Make a plan of attack
Decide which action(s) you'll take (or avoid) for 100 consecutive days.
For example, if you're doing an exercise challenge, you may promise yourself to run 1 mile every day for 100 days.
Or, maybe you want to teach yourself to pay more attention to your mental health. In that case, you may challenge yourself to write in your journal every day for 100 days.
Create a tracker (and use it)
This is a crucial step in any 100 day challenge. By keeping track of your progress every day throughout the challenge, you can remind yourself to keep going even on days when you really don't feel like running that mile or taking time to journal.
Most importantly, pick a tracker that you will actually use. That can be a checklist, your journal, or even an app.
Note your progress
At the end of the challenge (after celebrating), take the time to evaluate yourself. Have you reached your goal? If not, how much progress have you made?
In either case, what have you learned along the way? What changes will you make moving forward?
Which 100 day challenge are you ready to take on?
It cannot be overstated that small steps really can lead to big rewards. However, it can definitely be hard to get yourself started and stay focused along the way.
Taking on one of these 100 day challenge ideas will help you give yourself a jump-start so you can get to work making big progress toward your goals.