31 Days To Transform Your Money Challenge

Written by: Alexis Schroeder

Publish Date: January 22, 2023

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no cost to you.

So much can change in one month. If you make small changes each day, you can do anything. 

What are your money goals? Do you want to pay off debt? Start a side hustle to make more money? It’s time to take action and create change in your life to bring you closer to your goals. 

This is why I created the 31 Days To Transform Your Money Challenge.

The challenge is free, will help you in any of the financial areas you’re struggling with, and in just 31 days, you’ll be in a much better place financially. 

1. Create a budget OR *pay yourself first*

Only 1 in 3 U.S. families have a budget. 78% of workers live paycheck to paycheck. The key to breaking this cycle is reducing expenses and/or making more money, but the first step to take is to see where you’re money is going.

How to take action: 

Download the free printables here or in the form below. Included is a monthly budget printable and a debt thermometer, which is great for staying motivated while paying off debt. 

Once you know where your money is going, you can see where to cut expenses. We’ll talk more about reducing more expenses later on in the challenge, but for now, you should write down where your money is going each month. 

P.S. If you hate budgeting and you’ve tried it time and time again, pay yourself first. If you find that you’re having a hard time saving money each month, ask your HR department to deduct a certain percentage out of your paycheck and make it go straight to your 401(k). This is setting up automatic transfers and putting savings on autopilot. You can also opt to have an automatic transfer go into your bank’s savings account. 

Start with an automatic transfer to your savings account of even just $50 a month. Next month, move it to $75, $100, and so on until you get to a point where you feel like you’re saving a good amount each month. 

2. Find your go-to budgeting method 

Personal finance is personal. Not everyone is going to like or agree on the same budgeting method.

Your budgeting method could be using an excel spreadsheet, budgeting app like EveryDollar, budget printable, or budgeting planner – this is the one I have.

I’ve done all of these and personally find the app and pen and paper is my go-to. The EveryDollar app is great because I can drag and drop expenses, but pen and paper can be better because you don’t have to wait for expenses to go through in the app (it’s delayed a few days). 

OR maybe you hate budgeting, like I mentioned earlier. If so, you can use the pay yourself first method, which is automatically putting money into your savings before you pay bills or spend *fun* money.

How to take action:

Test out different budgeting methods until you find yours. Budgeting is most enjoyable when you’re using a method you’ll actually stick to. 

Read: 7 Clever Ways To Stick To Your Budget

3. Reduce your cell phone bill 

Do you feel like you’re overpaying for your cell phone bill? You probably are. 

If you can’t switch to a cheaper cell phone providers, you’re next best bet is to negotiate with your cell phone provider.

You can do this yourself via phone call or chat or you can use Billshark. The Billshark team is trained to negotiate and reduce bills. When I tried negotiating with T-Mobile myself, they denied my proposal. When Billshark negotiated with T-Mobile, they saved me $50 on one month of a phone bill. 

How to take action:

Reach out to your cell phone provider and ask them nicely if they can reduce your phone bill. If not, reach out to Billshark (it’s quick and easy to do), and they’ll do their best to reduce bills. If they’re successful, they take 40% of what’s saved. All you do is upload your bills to Billshark and they get started negotiating right away. 

Read: How I Saved $290 With Billshark

4. Reduce your internet bill

Similar to challenge day #4, you can reduce your internet bill. 

When you signed up for the internet, did you get their introductory price for new users? I use Spectrum Internet and they started me at $44.55/month for 12 plans. After that, the price goes up (and they only let you know this in fine writing). There’s no reason to be overpaying for the same service. 

How to take action:

Call your internet provider and ask them to put your bill back to introductory pricing. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, Billshark can do it for you. My bill went back down to introductory pricing after they called and I saved $240 over the course of 12 months. 

5. Create a money savings goal 

When you have your eyes on the prize (or goal, in this case), you stay motivated and have a clear direction of where you’re headed. What’s your money-saving goal? Is it to fully fund your emergency fund? Save for a down payment for a house? Fully max out your retirement accounts? 

How to take action:

Once you know your why for saving money, create a $$$ amount you want to reach. For example, I want to save at least $25,000 for my retirement this year. I keep my goal on the fridge so I see it every single day. 

Then, you can set up automatic transfers on each payday. This makes it really easy to save and you don’t even think twice about it.

If your goal is to save $1,000 by the end of the year, create an automatic bank transfer from your checking account to your savings account. $1,000 divided by 12 months is $83 a month, or about $42 each paycheck. I use a high yield savings account with Ally that is a 1.67% rate (current rate, savings rate change often), compared to what most local banks are, 0.03. 

6. Start a side hustle

This blog started out as a hobby, then it became a side hustle, and blossomed into my full-time job. 

We’re living in a huge side hustle & gig economy era, meaning there are side jobs you can do everywhere. Even cooler, side hustles can turn into full-time jobs, as mine did.

A side hustle can help you earn extra money and pay more towards your debt, getting to your goals faster. 

How to take action:

Find a side hustle that suits you… Maybe it’s:

  • Sell printables – #1 recommended side hustle for people looking for a low-stress way to earn passive income from home.
  • Pinterest Virtual Assistant – Help businesses shine on Pinterest as a Pinterest manager. Create your own schedule, work for yourself, and work from anywhere in the world.
  • Sell dog treats – Make up to $2,500 a month selling dog treats with this fun side hustle perfect for people who love dogs.
  • Proofreading – Earn $20+ an hour proofreading from home. Be your own boss and set your own schedule.
  • Surveys – Make money for answering simple questions. You can take as many surveys as you want and earn up to $5 per survey.
  • Bookkeeping – Start your own virtual bookkeeping business and earn up to $80,000 a year from home.

Read: 20 Hobbies That Can Also Make You Money

7. Check your credit score

Did you know that 36% of Americans think there’s no reason to check their credit score? If you’re in this statistic, you need to know why it’s crucial you check your credit score annually.

A bad credit score can keep you from:

  • Getting approved for a mortgage
  • Securing good rates on a car loan
  • Getting a low-interest credit card
  • Borrowing money from a lender
  • Renting an apartment or home 

How to take action:

Check your credit score for free with either Experian, Credit Sesame, or TransUnion. Checking your credit score does not hurt since it counts as a soft credit inquiry. 

8. Improve your credit score

Now that you know your credit score, you need to do several things to improve it. 

Read: 6 Ways To Increase Your Credit Score 100 Points

How to take action:

You can improve your credit score by:

  • Setting up automatic payments so you never miss a payment 
  • Grow your credit history by keeping older accounts open
  • Checking for errors on your credit report

9. Calculate your net worth 

Calculating your net worth is so fun and motivating. It tells you where you currently are financially and can help motivate you to where you want to be. 

How to take action:

Net worth is calculated by subtracting liabilities from assets.

 A liability is anything like a mortgage, car loan, bank loan, personal loan, or credit card debt.

An asset may include your home, valuable possessions like jewelry or art, cars, investments, cash in savings or checking accounts.

You can use Mint or Personal Capital to track your net worth automatically. 

10. Create a debt pay off plan 

Now that you know your net worth, you can create a plan to pay off any remaining debt. 

For example, if you have $12,000 of debt remaining, you can plan to pay off $1,000 each month for 12 months. 

Your debt pay off plan is going to be unique to you. Maybe you can’t pay off $1,000 a month, and only $200. 

Create a plan that is realistic for you. This will ensure you stick to it. You can do it! And if you find that you can pay off more debt each month, put more toward your debt. 

How to take action:

Use the debt thermometer in the free printable bundle here.

11. Read a personal finance book

I started my financial freedom journey with a personal finance book. I started checking out books for free from the library and learned most of my knowledge this way. 

If you need help with budgeting and everything personal finance related, read Broke Millennial. 

If you need help with investing and retirement, read The Boglehead’s Guide to Investing and Work Optional.

How to take action:

Go to your local library or download the app Overdrive and check out personal finance books. Read the list below of my favorite personal finance books to get you started on your journey!

Read: 10 Best Personal Finance Books To Read To Take Control Of Your Life

12. Negotiate your credit card interest rates

Most people have no idea how much they’re spending each month on credit card interest rates.

According to The Balance, the average credit card interest rate is 21.25%. 

Let’s go through a quick example. Amanda is a college student who holds a credit card with a 20% interest rate. She carries a $500 balance. You may think she’s not paying much in interest from that, but she’s actually paying roughly $100 annually. Just for a $500 balance. 

How to take action:

Negotiate your credit card interest rate over the phone with customer service. Be patient, nice, and talk about your credit card history and how you’ve never had a late payment.

Many credit card companies will accept your negotiation offer because of your other option – which is doing a credit card balance transfer to another credit card provider.

13. Take advantage of cash back 

One of the best (and easiest) ways to save money is by taking advantage of cash back. I use both Ebates and Ibotta for cash back when I’m shopping either online or in-person.

For example, today I went grocery shopping and bought plant-based Beyond Meat. They were already on sale for buy 1 get 1 free, and Ibotta had 2 coupons for $1.00 of each item. I essentially bought $12 of meat for only $4 with all combined coupons and it only took a minute of work. You can get $10 in your Ibotta account just for signing up here.

When I shop online at Sephora or Ulta, I use Ebates for cash back. Ebates gives cash back on thousands of stores, including Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and more. You can get $10 in your Ebates account just for signing up here.

How to take action:

Create and Ebates and Ibotta account to start saving money and getting cash back on groceries, clothes, and other things you buy on a regular basis. 

14. Meal Plan

Do you struggle with saving money on groceries? Do you often resort to fast food restaurants for lunch or dinner? If so, you need to learn how to meal plan to save time and money.

$5 Meal Plan is a low-cost meal planning service that sends you a meal plan and shopping list every single week for only $5 a month. 

You can try $5 Meal Plan for free for 14 days here.

How to take action:

Create your own meal plan using the printable below or sign up for $5 Meal Plan.

15. Create an emergency fund savings plan

Most Americans don’t have enough money to pay for an emergency, like a vet or car bill. Instead, they credit card it, putting them further into debt. An emergency fund will give you a nice cushion to make sure you’re never in a crunch when something bad happens.

How to take action:

Ideally, you should have 3-6 months of expenses saved. This might sound insane at first, which is why you can start with a savings goal of $1,000. 

Once you hit that goal (congrats!), you can work up to your final goal. 

16. Use a high-yield savings account for your emergency fund

Instead of saving money for your emergency fund in a savings account with a low rate (most banks’ savings rates are 0.01%, ouch).

Opt for a high-yield savings account like Ally (who I use), Radius Bank or Marcus by Goldman Sachs. I personally use Ally and think it works great so far. 

How to take action:

Transfer your money to a high-yield savings account and let your money sit and grow in the account.

Your emergency fund will make some extra money as it sits in this account. Only use your emergency fund for emergencies. 

17. Compare your auto and home insurance rates

Most of us stick with the same insurance company our entire lives without comparing insurance rates, which is a silly mistake! You can seriously save hundreds of dollars just by switching insurance companies.

And since insurance is a life-long expense, you might as well shop around for the best prices (without sacrificing the quality of the policy). 

How to take action:

Get quotes from several insurance agencies to find the best price.

18. Sign up for auto insurance savings

I’m currently with State Farm because after shopping around, I found they have the best rates in my area. State Farm has a ton of discounts (which you can see here), and I make use of all of them that apply to me. 

If you don’t have State Farm, type in your insurance company + discounts onto Google. Ex: If you have Progressive, you’d type in “Progressive discounts” into Google’s search engine.

State Farm has the following discounts: Accident-Free, Defensive Driving Course, Student Away At School, Good Driving, Driver Training, and Good Student. 

How to take action:

Find out what discounts your insurance provider has for customers. There should be quite a few and they add up – so don’t miss out on the savings! 

19. Find ways to save money on groceries 

One of the biggest expenses for families each month is groceries.

Luckily, there are a ton of ways to save. As I mentioned earlier, you can use the $5 Meal Plan, or Ibotta to get cash back on groceries.

Saving money on groceries takes a little action on your part because it requires being intentional with your spending and meal prepping. 

How to take action:

Use $5 Meal Plan or create a meal plan of your own. There are also a ton of free meal plans online on Google or Pinterest. If you’re vegan, 2 Share My Joy has a ton of free meal plans for any budget. The key to saving money on groceries is planning ahead of time. 

Read: Healthiest Foods For A Tight Budget

20. Create healthy habits

Creating healthy habits can save you so much money in ways you may not even understand.

Eating a healthier diet and exercising can potentially save you a lot of money in the future in reduced medical expenses. 

Here are several ways to create healthier habits:

  • Learn how to eat healthier foods on a budget with meal planning
  • Find a physical activity that you genuinely enjoy (maybe it’s rock climbing, hiking, going for walks)

How to take action:

What healthy habits are you trying to create? Work on them daily and commit to making a change in your life. 

21. Learn how to give

When I started making more money, one of the first things I did was start giving more generously.

I became a monthly sponsor to sanctuaries that rescued abused farm animals, environmental charities, and more.

How to take action:

What charity are you passionate about? Learning how to give just $5 a month can be so powerful. Learning how to give even while you are trying to save is incredible. 

22. Sell clothes and other used items 

Selling clothes and gently used items around the house is a great way to make extra money and get rid of clutter around the house. 

How to take action:

Gather clothes and gently used items you no longer use and put them in a bag or basket. Take them to a local resell store (like Platos Closet), and sell your other items on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist. 

Take high-quality photos of your items and use good lighting. This will help get your items sold quickly. 

23. Refinance student loans

Refinancing a student loan is finding a new student loan to replace your current student loan. It may sound confusing, but it’s quite simple. Should you refinance your student loans? Well, it depends. You may want to consider it if: You have high-interest rates on your student loans, you have several different loans and want to simplify by bundling them into one student loan, you plan to pay them off a lot quicker and save money on interest. 

How to take action:

The Finance Twins have an incredibly in-depth article that you should read on refinancing student loans. If you have student loans (or plan to have student loans in the future), this artice is a must-read. Do not skip this one. It is one of the most important financial steps you can take. 

24. Follow like-minded people on Instagram

If you feel like you have no support in your life, Instagram has a huge community waiting for you. 

My favorite personal finance Instagrammers to follow are:

  • @themostlysimplelife
  • @thefinancetwins
  • @mintnotion
  • @penniestowealth
  • @debtfreeinsunnyca

How to take action:

If you have an Instagram, start following people that can help you on your personal finance journey. Unfollow accounts that encourage you to spend more money than you have, and direct your attention to your money-saving goals. 

25. Cancel subscriptions 

Americans spend billions of dollars per month on subscriptions, with many having no idea they’re even paying for a subscription.

Even though you probably already did it early on in the challenge, figure out what you’re spending your money on with subscriptions. You may find that you don’t need so many subscriptions.

I deleted my Spotify subscription because I realized I had no problem hearing a commercial every now and then for their free version. 

How to take action:

Go through your bank and credit card statement and see which subscriptions you’re paying for. Decide for yourself if you really need every single subscription (maybe you want to keep them all – that’s fine!), but really ask yourself if you need them all. 

26. Make it harder to spend

It’s never been easier to spend money and splurge on random items.

This is why it’s important to do everything you can to avoid this from happening. 

How to take action:

Unsubscribe from email lists that are trying to get you to spend by using Unroll.Me, delete apps that encourage you to spend (like clothing apps).

Read: 30 Money-Saving Hacks To Save $1,000+ Per Month

27. Learn to cook at home 

I used to hate cooking, and you might, too.

Once I got into it, I realized how much loved it. Bonus, when you cook your own meals, you know exactly what’s going into your food and it costs a fraction of what you pay for at a restaurant.

My favorite way to find recipes is by doing a quick Pinterest search. I’m vegan so I follow vegan food bloggers like VeganTravelEats and Nora Cooks.

How to take action:

Start with basic, simple meals like 30-minute plant-based meals. 

Even if you aren’t plant-based, you can find a ton of free recipe videos on YouTube. Take advantage of easy recipes like smoothies, pasta, rice bowls, and stir fry. 

28. Master Your Money books

For just $49, you get 45 books, courses and printables to pay off debt, budget like a boss, and reach your financial goals. 

With the Master Your Money Super Bundle, you can feel awesome about your financial future and learn from CPA’s, Certified Financial Planners, financial coaches, and a former hedge fund manager. 

I bought this bundle myself and love it – I’m currently reading the Full-Time RV Finance: Learn How To Afford Your Full-Time RV Travel Dreams.

We want to RV full-time sometime soon, so my boyfriend and I are getting so excited about this ebook.  

Shown below is everything included in the Master Your Money Super Bundle. There is so much value here, and it’s worth checking out!

How To Take Action: 

Once you purchase the Master Your Money bundle, you can pick and choose which printables and guides you want to use (or you can take advantage of them all!). 

29. Get life insurance

One of the best ways you can prepare for your future (and your family) is by protecting your future with life insurance. In case anything were to happen to you, your family will be protected with your life insurance. 

A good rule of thumb is to get term insurance instead of whole life insurance. Term-life insurance provides insurance for a set period of time, say 20-30 years.

Whole life insurance lasts your entire lifetime. Dave Ramsey encourages families to get term life insurance because you won’t need whole life insurance if you practice healthy financial habits, like having a fully saved emergency fund and cushiony retirement fund. He has a really good infographic here that explains it really clearly. 

How to take action:

Shop around for term life insurance rates. Your auto insurance most likely has a life insurance policy. 

30. Find ways to stay motivated 

Motivation is always in you and it’s up to you to stay motivated through your financial journey. 

How to take action:

  • Take advantage of the free debt thermometer
  • Follow like-minded people in the community
  • Stay on top of your budget so you don’t fall off track

31. Gratitude day

You can change your entire life in just 31 days by practicing healthy financial habits and managing your money. In just 30 days, we’ve gotten so much done! 

How to take action:

You’re amazing and deserve a day to fully realize that. So much change has happened in 31 days. Even if you haven’t started the challenge yet, you’ve read this far – meaning you’re ready to learn and take this seriously! 

Don’t forget to sign up for the free resource library and get exclusive access to free printables & planners related to saving and making money, meal planning, and more!

Best side hustles to start right now

  • Sell printables on Etsy – Selling printables is the #1 side hustle to make money. This can be done on your own schedule and turn into passive income! You can earn over $10,000 a year selling printables.
  • Sell dog treats – Make $1,000+ selling dog treats from the comfort of your home. Be your own boss and make your own schedule.
  • Proofreading – Earn $20+ an hour proofreading from home. Great for people who enjoy editing and working from a computer.
  • Surveys – Make money filling out surveys. You can take as many surveys as you want and earn up to $5 per survey.

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