It's the perfect time of year to focus on finances again! We're heading into the holiday months, which means plenty of opportunities for spending. Join this month's finance challenge to get your money in order so the holidays are less stressful!

Jordan holding cash saved from finance challenge, from Fun Cheap or Free

Well, Freebs, #Shelftember is officially over. We hope you totally rocked it and will continue to keep up your new habits so you can save on your grocery bill each month!

Now that it's October, it's time to whip our wallets into shape! Christmas is only 85 days away if you can believe it (*breathes into paper bag). For many of us, this can be the most expensive time of year. To keep us all on track we're going to make a few sacrifices now so that we can celebrate guilt-free over the next couple of weeks.

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

We've created a calendar with a simple week-long finance challenge for each week that will help us save upwards of $500-$1000 (or more!) in a single month. Whether you put the extra cash toward paying down those pesky credit cards or save up for Christmas gifts and activities, you can't go wrong with focusing on spending habits, budgets, and delayed gratification for a month.

Now who is ready to SAVE BIG!?

BACK TO FINANCES MONTH

Step 1. Print the Back to Finances Month calendar. If you're not already on the mailing list, SIGN UP HERE to get the October calendar emailed to you.

Step 2. Follow along! Each week there is one main challenge for you to focus on all week. Plus a bonus challenge, tip, or helpful habit to keep you focused half-way through the week. Then, of course, wrap up the week with a simple date or family night to help keep you focused on the people that matter most.

Step 3. As always, adapt the calendar to work for your needs and help you get the most out of the monthly finance challenge.

SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS

Receipts in an envelope on a counter, from Fun Cheap or Free

A huge part of this challenge is being super vigilant and watching where your money is going! Remember to save every receipt to review later on your own or with your significant other! By checking your receipts, you might just find a few surprises and areas where you can adjust your spending in the future.

Knowing where your money is going is probably the most important part of your finances and will help you take control!

FAMILY DATE NIGHT

Head to a thrift store and pick out costumes for Halloween. Get creative, get frugal, and have fun! Don't need costumes? Take some time to connect without spending an arm and a leg!

PLAN MEALS FOR THE WEEK

Hand chopping meat on a cutting board, from Fun Cheap or Free

Plan out your meals for the week based on what you already have in your inventory! Shop your shelves in your pantry, fridge, and freezer before heading to the store. Need a little help? Check out this meal planning post, my YouTube meal planning video, and my cooking site Shelf Cooking – they'll revolutionize the way you meal plan!

START A SLUSH FUND

Next, we're setting up a slush fund! If you don't know what a slush fund is, our 7 bank accounts post explains it SO well! Basically, it's an account or fund where you put all of your spare change or what's leftover from your budgets. You'll use this fund for things like vacation, a new tv, or anything extra and exciting. HELLO, Hawaii! 

TIME FOR A SPENDING FREEZE

This week is going to really help you reach your goals because the goal this week is to spend absolutely NOTHING unless it's an emergency, bill, or other required expense.

Leave your wallet at home, make dinner at home instead of eating out for your date night, COMMIT and you won't regret it! Keep in mind, the point is not to put OFF spending as much as it is to ELIMINATE spending.

Check out this video and blog post for way more info on doing a spending freeze:

Head to the store today to grab a few quick things you need to tide you over for the week. Because of #Shelftember, you now know you do NOT need much to get you by!! This is not the zombie apocalypse, Freebs! Grab a FEW things then, starting tomorrow, NO SPENDING MONEY (in person OR online) for 7 whole days. No eating out, no shopping, no groceries or coffee runs, nada.

Then, every dime you would have spent during that week, physically remove it from your bank account and put it toward debt, or put it into a savings account for Christmas. Watching that chunk of change go towards something special is sure to make it worth it.

HAVE FUN WHILE BEING FRUGAL

Person playing a saxophone for an audience at an outdoor concert, from fun cheap or free

Since we're not spending money this week, for entertainment, check out free events in your local community! The library, park, and schools are great places to start. Check out these tips for finding fun things to do in your community. Having fun while spending NOTHING is possible!

For date night, get creative but don't spend a dime! Stay home and cook dinner together, lay a blanket out to star gaze, or play board games! Whatever you do, HAVE fun! 

MONEY DATE NIGHT

Our Friday date is all about reviewing your finances for the year, GULP! Don't stress! I've got your back with this post on how to hold a money date! It tells you how to do it, why you want to do it, and how to get through it without killing each other! 

SET A SAVINGS GOAL

an adult and child holding a jar with money inside, from Fun Cheap or Free

Now the real fun begins! You've had a couple days to wrap your heads around saving money. Sit down and make a goal! What are you saving money for? How much do you need to save? Write it all down and track it on our free money-saving chart printable!

We've all probably heard that a goal without a plan is just a wish. The same is true with finance goals so make a plan to reach that goal. Feel free to look ahead to the upcoming month's challenges and see how you can make them work for you!

GROCERY SAVINGS WEEK

If you followed along in September, you know that groceries are one of the biggest costs that families deal with. Let's focus in on that budget this week for our finance challenge!

Before shopping, do a price comparison on common products to see if you can save some money. Swap some name brand products for store brands and compare! Find a few creative ways to cut back your grocery budget this week.

HOLIDAY SAVINGS WEEK

Female holding a box of items for donation, from Fun Cheap or Free

You're so close to meeting your savings goal! Make sure that you set a budget for your holiday spending and then make a plan so that you don't go over. Being prepared and thinking ahead will help you save money in the long run.

Purge a few items from your home to prepare for the holidays. Sell at least 3 things online or in-store and put that money towards your monthly goal. Set aside a few items to donate as well! This is a great way to start off the holiday season.

If you need more help with your budget, don't forget about my Secret Sauce online budgeting program, Budget Boot Camp! It's a super fun video program that makes money easy to understand. All you need is a screen and you're set!

And don't forget, if you don't save AT LEAST what you paid for the program, I'll refund every dime. You've got nothing to lose! Use the code FCFBLOG to get an extra 10% off, because I love you 😉

I hope you join me this month in whipping your wallet into shape with this month's finance challenge. Are you in?? If so, what is your goal? What will the saved money go toward?

Let's do this! *fist bump*