You often see ‘ipon’ or money-saving challenges surfacing on social media every time a new year unfolds, but as your usual reaction goes — ignore them because you’re not just interested, or maybe you think you’re not gonna make it.
Not a big deal. In fact, many Filipinos do not have savings.
But whether you’re a kid (I don’t think there are kids reading this. Kids at heart maybe.), a high school student, a new recruit into the workforce, or at the retirement age, it’s never late for you to save money.
Saving is no question for all who have financial goals, may these goals be clear or kinda unclear. And many just save for one simple yet unclear goal — the future.
While I just penned and published an in-depth article on budgeting methods where I discussed 16, I decided to explore as well saving, as this and budgeting always go side by side, especially when we seriously deal with personal finance and financial literacy.
So, let’s start this off with what an ipon challenge is.
What is an ipon challenge? ‘Ipon’ itself literally translates to savings, and an ipon challenge is any money-saving activity or self-competition that requires a special, usually consistent and dedicated, effort to achieve a specific and measurable savings goal over a particular period of time.
Who can do these ipon challenges? Everyone can do most, if not all, of these ipon challenges for as long as there is money to fuel the savings, may it be from salary, business income, side hustle extra cash, school allowance, or even the regular household budget.
Whether you are a long-time money saver or just a starter, you can always find one creative ipon challenge idea that best suits your money-management styles, savings goals, and financial capacity.
While saving is an integral component of financial literacy, kids must also be taught and trained how to save money for different goals and purposes and how to control spending urges for mere wants as early as possible.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of ipon challenges? Saving, in all aspects, is advantageous, but these ipon challenges may come with novel advantages and disadvantages. Among these advantages (pros) are:
- You will be engaged in a conscious and determined saving.
- You know that these challenges work for others, and so will possibly work for you.
- You will have a more concrete blueprint for achieving your savings goals.
- You will deeply understand the value of saving as an essential component of your financial literacy.
- You will develop control over your spending and other essential soft skills to improve yourself and your life.
On the other hand, some disadvantages and possible struggles (cons) include:
- You may be impatient and eventually lose your motivation and drive to finish the challenge.
- You may end up making some sacrifices for the sake of your savings.
- Your challenge may not really fit in your financial capacity and spending habits, and you may end up frustrated.
- You may be caught in a dilemma of deciding between continuing the challenge or withdrawing your savings in advance should you be in a difficult financial situation.
- You’ve got to change your habits and learn new skills — and these but may lead to somewhat painful transitions.
How do I start my ipon or money-saving challenge? Whether you want to start a new year’s resolution, save for a vacation or a big purchase, create an emergency fund, or build your retirement nest, you can always take any of these ipon challenges as your means of achieving it, and here are some additional notes:
- Clarify and confirm your savings goal or goals. These may be short-term or long-term goals.
- Pick one ipon challenge that you think will work for you from the long list below. You might want to make further research on them, so go on.
- Gather (or even purchase) all the necessary materials — savings jars, challenge table and chart templates, markers, and others. Better improvise, be resourceful, and be creative instead of spending extra money for all of these.
- Set everything. You might need some extra reminders set on your phone or sticky notes at your working desk.
- Start doing the challenge and saving. It’s all normal that you lose your drive from time to time along the way, but don’t ever give up. Always revisit your savings goals.
- You might want to make adjustments on the rules of the challenge. That’s fine. It’s your challenge. It’s your rules.
- Make your ipon challenge blend in with your budgeting and spending habits.
- Fuel your saving with inspirations by reading blogs and watching vlogs.
- Celebrate simple milestones and feel a sense of accomplishment.
- Achieve your first savings goals and start bigger ones anew.
37 IPON Challenge Ideas for Savers and Starters
Now that you’ve learned the basics of these ipon challenges, it’s time for you to deal with this long list and soon, pick one that you think will work for you.
The Invisible PHP50-Bill Savings Challenge
It’s a totally flexible and customizable money-saving challenge that will require you to pick a certain peso bill, for example PHP20, PHP50, or even a PHP20 coin, and treat it as something invisible every time you get your hands on it by putting it directly to your savings. You are thus prevented from spending it.
If you want a recommended approach to this challenge, try PHP50 bills or PHP20 coins as you may get less of them than any other bills.
At the same time, a PHP50 bill may not hurt much your budget unlike other bigger bills such as PHP100 or PHP200. And you may do this challenge all year round.
52-Week Money-Saving Challenges
These are extremely popular. They have since been modified and adjusted primarily because of the varying savings goals and financial capacities, but the original concept stays the same — you start saving something small, e.g., PHP10 on the first week and increase or make increments every week after, e.g., PHP20, PHP30, etc., until the 52nd week, or usually the end of the year.
Interestingly, you can just purchase 52-week ipon challenge jars and piggy banks in different shapes and sizes that already come with charts painted or wrapped around them for your weekly tracking.
You may also pick from various versions such as those for singles, couples, kids, teenagers, students, and even minimum wage earners.
The real challenge though is on the last ten weeks when the required savings amounts are at the maximum.
52-Week Money-Saving Challenge Backwards
It’s also known as the Reverse 52-Week Money-Saving Challenge, and it comes as the opposite of the regular 52-Week Challenge. It simply goes this way — you start by saving the larger amounts based on your savings chart and then work your way down.
You can take advantage of your willpower being at its best at the beginning of this money-saving challenge. Seeing your savings grow really quickly in a matter of a few weeks may give you the drive to finish the challenge up to the 52nd week.
At the same time, you may currently have such a big amount, i.e., from bonuses and other income, to kickstart the challenge.
Envelope Savings Challenge
It is but another extremely popular ipon (money-saving) challenge that also comes with a few versions already such as The 50-Envelope Challenge, The 100-Envelope Challenge, or even The 200-Envelope Challenge, but you may just start with less number of envelopes, maybe five or ten.
You number and label these envelopes based on your savings goals, e.g., Summer Vacation, New Motorcycle, and New Laptop. You also create a chart for the duration of the challenge, maybe a few weeks or months, and the breakdown of savings targets, e.g., PHP200 for 100 installments.
Maybe daily, you randomly pick one envelope, or three envelopes weekly, then put the required installment amounts inside. You do it repeatedly and regularly until all target funds are raised, and savings goals are achieved.
Peso Sense Ipon Challenge
It can also be compared with the 52-Week Money-Saving Challenges, but it does not come with the weekly-incrementing savings amounts. It simply requires you to raise and complete the target numbers or pieces of peso denominations.
For example, you can save PHP60,000 by accumulating PHP20 × 500 bills (PHP10,000), PHP50 x 200 bills (PHP10,00), PHP100 x 100 bills (PHP10,000), PHP200 x 50 bills (PHP10,000), PHP500 x 20 bills (PHP10,000), and PHP1000 x 10 bills (PHP10,000).
Upon dropping bills into the savings jar, you simply shade the corresponding circles on the chart, hence for tracking your progress.
It does not come with any sense of urgency to complete the challenge within a given period. You just save whenever you have the available cash or the chance to do it.
26-Week Money-Saving Challenge
Instead of saving on a weekly basis just with the other challenges, this requires saving money every other week, or during the salary weeks if you are paid twice a month. It thus also translates to saving money bimonthly.
Interestingly, it adopts the incremental weekly savings that for example, you are set to save PHP20 on the first week, PHP50 on the third week (skipping 2nd week), PHP100 on the fifth week, and so on.
Good thing, there are also available ready-to-download and ready-to-print templates out there for this challenge.
12-Month Savings Challenge
It is a flexible, practical, and less aggressive money-saving challenge. Instead of doing it daily, weekly, or bimonthly, you do the saving once a month or monthly, maybe at the beginning, middle, or start of the month.
Realistic as many will say, you may start saving PHP500 this month, PHP600 next month, PHP700 next, and so on. With PHP100 monthly increments, you will save PHP12,600 in 12 months.
You may decide yourself how much the starting amount is and the monthly increments.
365-Day (Simple) Savings Challenge
It’s a self-explanatory money-saving challenge. You just decide how much you can commit daily for savings for the next 365 days, maybe PHP10, PHP20, or PHP100.
If it’s PHP10 daily, then you can have PHP3,650 after a year. If it’s PHP100, then PHP36,500 — as simple as that.
If you are really determined to save on a daily basis, and you don’t want the complicated tracking and calculations, then, this may work perfectly for you.
365-Day (Incremental) Savings Challenge
It may be compared with the viral 365-Day Penny Challenge or 1p Challenge, something more aggressive than the previous version. You put a certain amount of money into a jar, and day after day, you add more based on the set increments.
You may start with as low as PHP1 on the first day, then PHP2 next, then PHP3, and PHP4, and so on. You may then adjust or change the increment rules upon reaching PHP100 or PHP1,000.
It’s also better if you prepare your own chart or table to avoid confusion, that is, if you can’t find online any suitable template for you.
BINGO Savings Challenge
You’re familiar with BINGO, right? This BINGO Savings Challenge involves picking a random number, which represents the amount to save, from a savings bingo card. You may create your own bingo cards or simply print out those available online.
Bingo cards may be good for just a month or for the whole year round. For monthly cards, you may have the draws daily until all amounts are picked and shaded, hence accomplishing the month’s savings goal.
Weekly draws are done for one-year cards which usually come with 52 numbers for 52 weeks.
Savings Fever Challenge
You will need a savings thermometer for this ipon challenge, along with your DIY and creative skills. You may use an illustration board or any cardboard — the bigger, the better.
You start by drawing big thermometers. You can have two, three, or even more depending on how many savings goals you have. You write each goal on top of each thermometer.
Depending on your style, you may add some horizontal lines with centigrades that correspond to the savings installment amounts.
You will then shade them starting from the bottom as you make a regular stash until reaching the top and achieving the goals.
Loose Change or Barya-Barya Ipon Challenge
This works well for workers with regular day jobs who commute to and from work, eat out lunch, have daily work allowances for spending — and just come home with loose change and coins left in the pockets.
Compared to The Invisible PHP50-Bill Savings Challenge, this does not require any specific amount or denomination, meaning all coins from PHP1 to PHP20 may be dropped into the piggy bank or savings jar.
Make sure to reserve some coins though for the next day’s commute to work, especially if you can no longer retrieve them from the piggy bank without breaking it.
Piso Savings Challenge
You can take it as a localized or Pinoy version of the Dollar Savings Challenge. As simple as it sounds, you just save one peso a day. That’s it!
Its purpose is not really for you to save or amass such as impressive amount of money at the end of the year, but to help you build a saving-oriented mindset and habit.
If you’re able to finish the first year of this challenge, then no doubt you can take it to the next level — start another but a bigger challenge.
PHP20-Bill Savings Challenge
It sounds almost identical to The Invisible PHP50-Bill Savings Challenge, but you don’t have to treat all your PHP20 bills invisible and save them in this challenge.
You get your hands on many of this peso denomination daily, and saving all of them will surely hurt your budget. You rather save just one PHP20 bill a day, or possibly a week if it still feels that heavy.
Bowl-Grab or Lucky Fishbowl Savings Challenge
As Forbes Advisor suggests, you better take this challenge with your roommates or other family members, even kids, as this is something fun to do while engaging everyone in the shared savings goal.
Roll 30 or 31 scraps of paper with an amount written or printed on each, maybe a mix of PHP1, PHP5, and PHP20. Put them in a bowl and let everybody alternately take one piece out each day for one straight month.
You may put a separate savings jar right next to the bowl for the cash deposits.
End-of-the-Month Savings Throwdown
Challenge your friend, coworker, partner, or sibling in a one-month saving marathon. You may use transparent savings jars, actual savings accounts, and even digital wallets for the deposits.
At the end of the month, check and see who gets to save more. To make it even more interesting and challenging, you decide together what special prize the winner will get after the throwdown.
Spending Mistakes and Guilts Jar Challenge
Bad moves about money are just inevitable. We get tempted and end up regretting for spending on something that doesn’t give any happiness or value to us.
Interestingly, you can even take advantage of that by putting a savings jar right next to your bed. Instead of overthinking and grumbling over such a spending mistake or guilt, bail yourself out by paying PHP20 or PHP50.
Not only that you’re reminded of your mistakes and all the lessons learned, you’re also making savings.
Health and Fitness Incentives Savings Challenge
You can have your savings goals tied up with whatever health and fitness goals you have — quitting smoking, losing weight, hitting the gym regularly, stretching every morning, or just getting enough sleep.
If you’re trying to quit your smoking, you try incentivizing yourself for not burning a stick for a certain number of hours or the whole day by saving PHP50 or even more. Otherwise, you pay a penalty.
If you’re trying to lose weight, then you give yourself a treat by saving PHP50 for every pound you lose.
SIN Tax Savings Challenge
Sin tax, as defined, is an excise tax specifically levied on goods that are generally considered as harmful to the consumers and the society, e.g., cigarettes, alcohol, soft drinks, and even coffee.
You may also consider this challenge as the ‘Kick a Bad Habit Money Challenge.’
You can even impose personal tax rates on these items, e.g., PHP10 for each cigar stick, PHP20 for each soft drink, and PHP50 for each bottle of beer. Every time you give in to these vices, you pay the tax which directly goes to your savings.
‘Minute Hand at a Glance’ Savings Challenge
It appears like a forced item to this list, but it’s fun, and it may just work for you. The concept is simple — you identify where the minute hand strikes to as you wake up and glance at the wall clock, and that gives you how much you need to save.
You may do it every weekend, maybe Saturdays, when you have all the time for this challenge, as you may just overlook it on weekdays or forget about it as you rush up for work.
No-Spend Weekend Challenge
While taking this challenge for the whole 48-hour weekend seems impractical and thus, impossible as you may do some important tasks such as going to the grocery or doing the church service, you may rather have it either on Saturday or Sunday.
Literally, there shouldn’t be any single centavo to spend within the day for anything else.
You should have your lifelines prepared in advance for this challenge — food stocks in the fridge and pantry, available home entertainment, and zero errand to run.
Coffee Break Challenge
It’s totally the same as the SIN Tax Savings Challenge, but still I decided to list it separately just to emphasize that many office workers are into coffee addiction already, and it’s not healthy anymore. Hence, this can be a good savings challenge to regulate coffee intake.
Each time you spend on a cup of coffee or even milk tea, you charge yourself an excise tax for it, e.g., PHP20 or PHP50, and you put it to your savings.
You will start to realize that you’re overpaying for your coffee, and so you’ll be encouraged to make or brew your own.
Weather Wednesday Savings Challenge
You’ve got the thermometers for the Savings Fever Challenge, and you just need real ones for this challenge.
As Clever Girl Finance suggests, you do this during summer months when it’s really hot. You put an amount to your savings every Wednesday corresponding to the mid-day temperature.
You may just add some twists you want if you think there’s just a little variation in temperatures throughout the weeks.
No Eating Out Challenge
You can save a lot for not eating out at any fast food restaurant or dining with this savings challenge which you may try for one straight month.
You start by calculating how much you normally spend in a month for fast food and dining out. As you do this challenge, you eat breakfast at home, pack your own lunch, and come home early for dinner.
It’s either you reallocate what you save into your grocery spending, or you put the cash directly to your savings.
The Pantry Challenge
This popular challenge, which is also known as Shelf Cooking Challenge and Freezer Challenge, simply requires you to utilize frozen leftovers, canned goods, and everything available at home to innovate dishes for the next days or weeks.
In other words, you need to clear out your pantry and fridge before you head out again for grocery shopping.
Your cooking skills will surely get tested, and you may end up with weird dishes, but this challenge will also bring you more savings.
Holiday Savings Challenge
It goes like an ordinary challenge, but it comes with a really special purpose — it’s for Christmas!
You don’t want anymore to have the usual holiday spending hangover that you end up feeling broke months after the series of celebrations, so you better prepare for this merriest season in advance, as early as January.
You set your holiday budget for everything, from personal splurges to gifts to celebrations, and you divide the amount by the number of salary within the year. That will give you the idea how much you need to save from your bimonthly paychecks.
Extra Income Cut Savings Challenge
You may be earning extra income from your side hustles, getting some overtime pay, or receiving regular bonuses, and although you may have reserved most of it to special purposes and purchases, you may still want to consider having an extra cut for your savings.
You may get into a little math and find out the monthly total of your other earnings.
You may still have a 50 or 25 percent cut directly deposited to savings. As you see your savings grow, you may even be motivated to do more and earn more.
Roll the Dice Savings Challenge
It sounds fun. I am not sure if you have a dice at home, but if it happens you have, you may use it for this money-saving challenge. A dice has six faces numbered one to six, so rolling it may give you six possible outcomes.
To do this challenge, you need to roll that dice once a week, maybe every Sunday or Monday. Whatever the outcome is, that’s what you need to save for the next seven days, but instead of saving PHP1 for a pip (dot) and PHP2 for two, make it PHP10 and PHP20. So, the highest possible amount to save in a day is PHP60.
The 33.3 Challenge
This challenge is just a matter of psychology. Suppose it’s nearly impossible for you to save PHP1,000 each month as it appears a big scratch on your salary, do it in an installment.
Each day, you divert PHP33.33 (or just round it off to PHP33) into your savings account, digital wallet, or savings jar. Do it religiously, and you’ll be surprise at the end of the month that you’re able to make it.
No Swear Savings Challenge
Swearing is part of almost every culture, and Filipinos swear a lot too, especially the younger ones. If this is a typical case in your house, you might want to consider having a ‘swear jar’ and impose a PHP1 or PHP5 penalty every time a swear word is said.
Not only that you are making some savings, you’re also teaching them to be careful with the words that come out of the mouth as these may have negative consequences, if not hurting the other people’s feelings, then a big nuisance.
8-Week Instant Vacation Savings Challenge
Vacation savings plans usually come with two parts — saving and scaling back. And you can find available templates online.
If want to do it all by yourself, you simply write down eight weeks, i.e., Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, etc. Then, distribute the target savings across these weeks. It doesn’t have to be the same each week.
Add the scaling back plans, maybe per week or in general, for example, skipping a cup of expensive coffee or milk tea or cutting down on fast food and packing lunch to work instead. Read more about this on The Soccer Mom Blog.
Monthly Utilities Savings Challenge
It’s more of doing some frugal hacks than a challenge, but it’s all worth it. By the way, I’ve got 200+ of these frugal life hacks here.
Check and examine your monthly electricity and water bills. Your challenge is to lower these bills by let’s say PHP200 for the electricity and PHP50 for the water bill. Do everything from switching off appliances when not in use to reusing water for the garden and garage cleaning
Water-Only Savings Challenge
I love this challenge, and it’s very simple. Yes, you can survive with just water — no soft drinks, no coffee, no milk tea, and no beer.
Do this simple challenge for one or two straight weeks. You will make extra savings, and at the same time, feel healthier, more detoxified, and more energetic.
‘Cash Only for a Month’ Challenge
If you’ve been using your credit cards for groceries, GrabFood, or occasional shopping at the mall, try paying everything with cash for one straight month. Credit card payments are more convenient, but harder to track for budgeting.
Start the month with enough cash in hand. Shop and pay in cash.
You may develop a more conscious approach to budgeting and spending with this challenge. At the end of the month, expect that you will even have savings and no credit card debts.
Receipt Savings Challenge
You need to be a receipt collector to do this challenge. Every time you make a purchase, dine out, or just spend on something else, keep the receipt, if ever available, in your bag.
At the end of each day, or even on weekends when you have enough time for this, bring out all the receipts and check for the discounts or savings you just enjoyed. You have to take them literally, and just save the corresponding amounts in your savings jar.
Entertainment and Recreational Tax Savings Challenge
It is almost the same as the SIN Tax Savings Challenge, but you’re imposing a tax here on your expenses for entertainment and recreational purposes, e.g., going to the cinema and clubbing with friends.
Depending on how strict you are, you may set a tax as high as 50 percent or as low as 10 percent of all the expenses. You should remit such tax to your savings jar or account.
Generic Swap Savings Challenge
Finally, you’re here for the last challenge. Generic products are mostly undervalued as we have become fanatics of the big brands.
We rather focus on the names and popularity that we ignore other alternatives that offer almost the same quality, value, and effectiveness at lower costs.
Doing this challenge requires you to skip the brands and buy only generic products for one week or one straight month, may these be bread, milk, common meds, and even clothes. Better do some research about the best alternatives to the branded ones before buying them though.
Doing a money-saving challenge, or as we simply say, ipon challenge, is no doubt a fun way to kickstart saving and achieve different savings goals.
I suppose you have your top picks already. If that’s the case, narrow them down to the best challenge, the most feasible one. Good luck on your savings challenge!
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