Check Out Week Two Of The Money Diaries Savings Challenge & Save More Than $600

Follow along with our six-week financial challenge inspired by our new Money Diaries book!

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Managing your finances can be a pretty personal project, but when I was writing Refinery29 Money Diaries, I was really inspired by the idea of women connecting online and IRL to cheer each other on as we all try to achieve the same goal: getting more comfortable with managing our money.
With that in mind, I've developed this savings challenge that you can follow along with here, in the book, and in our Facebook group. The challenges I'm going to be sharing over the next six weeks aren't always exactly same as the ones featured in the book, but having a copy will make this project a richer experience. (Don't have a copy yet? You can pick one up here! Don't want to buy the book — grab a copy from your local library!)
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A few quick notes on our six-week money saving challenge:
How it works: Over the next six weeks, I'm going to challenge you to cross one financial task off your list every day and save a corresponding dollar amount. We'll start on Day 1 with writing down your financial info and saving $1. Once a week there will be a "Bonus Challenge," where you'll save even more money. You'll also get rest days where you don't have to save any money and can use that time to relax or get caught up on past challenges. At no point in the challenge will you need to save more than $32 in a single day. In the end, you can save as much as $628 if you do every single challenge.
When: Every Sunday evening, I'll post the schedule for the week ahead. While we're starting this challenge on a Monday, and each new week will kick off on Mondays, you can start this challenge on any day of the week.
Are you having an expensive month and can't manage to save $32 in one day, let alone $600 in six weeks? Don't stress. Try saving every other day, or every few days, or even once a week. The idea is to get more mindful with your money, not beat yourself up if you can't hit these goals.
Where: I'll update this page weekly with a new schedule, but you can also follow along in our Facebook group, where Anabel Pasarow and Kate Guarino, two Refinery29 employees, will be doing the challenge as well.
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Let's get started, shall we?

Week 1: Getting Started

Day 1: Write down your financial info
Before you can even get started, you need to know where you stand. Take time today to write down all your financial information in one place. That includes your checking and savings account balance, your 401(k) balance, and any outstanding debt. To get the full list of what you should include see page 12-13 in the book. Save $1
Day 2: Do one annoying financial task
It wasn't until I started writing this book that I finally took care of some pretty annoying financial tasks — like rolling over a really old 401(k). (Hello, productive procrastinating!) Today, tackle one of the outstanding financial tasks on your to-do list. File an FSA claim. Ask the bank to refund any fees. Need some more suggestions? Check out page 32-33 in the book (and find out why you might want to take a whole money mental health day!). Save $2
Day 3: Check your credit score
Checking your credit score used to be an involved process, but it doesn't take much to track it down these days. You can sometimes find it on your credit card statement, or you can use an app like Turbo. These apps will also let you know if your score goes up or down, which can be helpful if you're about to get a mortgage, refinance your loans, or rent an apartment. For more about how your credit score works (and an easy way to bump it up), check out pages 28-29 in the book. Save $3
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Day 4: Take the highlighter test
This might be my number-one favourite piece of advice in the book. Developed by the financial advisor Manisha Thakor, it's step one in a three-part challenge to help curb unnecessary spending (you can read about steps 2 and 3 on pages 22-24 in the book). The idea is that you go through your spending for a month (including everything from your rent to your cable bill) and highlight anything that doesn't bring you joy. Check back on Thursday when we'll be sharing the highlighter test from a reader. Save $4
Day 5: Use your credit card points
I've never been strategic about using my credit card points and maybe the best and worst thing that's ever happened to me is the new Amazon feature that lets me pay with my Amex points. Today, take some time to figure out how many credit card points you have and make a point to use them if they are going to expire soon. Don't have a credit card? Check out page 30-31 of the book to see why you should consider getting one. Save $5
Day 6: BONUS CHALLENGE: Write a Money Mantra
Financial advisor and founder of Stash Wealth Priya Malani first shared the idea of money mantras with me way back in 2015. I was initially a little skeptical — it sounded a bit too New Age-y for me. But I learned that it can be really helpful to have a mission statement when it comes to your money — a sentence or so that grounds your goals. I share a little more about my personal mantra in the book (see pages 15-16), and we've talked about them in the Facebook group before. (Plus, there was a whole room at 29Rooms dedicated to them!) Today, write down your own. Then save an extra $5 because this is a bonus challenge!
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Day 7: Rest Day
You killed it tackling six money challenges! You've also saved $20. It's a good start! Enjoy a day off and get ready for Week 2!

Week 2: Raise Week

This week we’re going to focus on getting you paid.
Day 8: Calculate your compensation package
You know your base salary or hourly wage. But when was the last time you considered how much your other job benefits are worth? Today, take some time to calculate your whole compensation package, from your 401(k) match to the number of vacation days you have to any annual or semi-annual bonuses you might receive. You might even want to include all the money you’re saving on snacks if you work for one of those awesome companies that keep fully-stocked kitchens and serve gourmet (or even half-way decent) coffee. To get the full list of what you should include when adding up your compensation package, see page 100-101 in the book. Save $6
Day 9: Make a plan to ask for a raise
We’re coming up on the end of the year, so it’s definitely not too early to start talking to your boss about their plans and your goals for 2019 and beyond. Need more help asking for a raise? Check out pages 86-92 in the book for expert advice from Sallie Krawcheck and Fran Hauser (and also a few anecdotes from me). And this Tuesday, we’ll be publishing a piece from Fran, where she shares the negotiating success stories from women who have followed her good advice! Save $7
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Day 10: Talk to a recruiter
One of my favourite pieces of advice in the book comes from Fran, who suggests the best way to know what salary to ask for in a job negotiation is to talk to a recruiter. I recently had dinner with a woman who said two different recruiters suggested she ask for two vastly different salaries (we’re talking $50,000 difference!). When it comes to knowing what you should be paid, the more data you can collect the better. So don’t just stop with one recruiter, ask a few. (Not sure how to find one? This Muse article has some great advice.) Save $8
Day 11: Go out to a networking coffee
It’s easy to fall into a habit of going to work every day and not thinking about your long-term career goals. But there’s no better time to look for a new job than when you have a job. And even if you have no desire to make a switch today, it’s always good to nurture your relationships. Take a page from one of our awesome book diarists (A Week in Philadelphia on $88,000) and go out to coffee with someone in your network today. Save $9
Day 12: Update your résumé
There are few things that are less fun than revising your résumé, but it’s so much easier if you update as you go along. Spend a little time tidying it up today — even if it’s just 10-15 minutes. We’ve got a lot of great résumé resources for you right here. Save $10
Day 13: BONUS CHALLENGE: Plan a vacation
Did you know that if you don’t take your paid vacation days, it actually means you’re working more for less money? So take some time off! (Want to know how much those vacation days are actually worth? See page 83 in the book.) With the end of year fast approaching, spend some time today planning a vacation. Don’t have an emergency fund? Then make that a staycation, okay? Then save an extra $10 because this is a bonus challenge!
Day 14: Rest Day
You made it through the second week of the challenge! Nice job! Take today to rest and relax, or catch up on anything you didn’t finish yet from week 1 or 2.
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