In January, we had thousands of people in a sprint to save as part of YNAB’s 34-Day Reset Challenge— and the average participant saved $1,499 in just 34 days.
How did they do it? By joining the 34-Day Reset challenge and following three simple rules. They’re simple, but we didn’t say they were easy.
- Track your spending. Every day. Every dollar.
- Only buy essentials. What’s an essential? You decide.
- No eating out. No exceptions.
It’s not just money that was saved in this month-long challenge. Check out all the benefits (financial and otherwise!).
12 Benefits of the 34-Day Challenge
1. The Average Participant Saved $1500
“How????????? did I actually save $1000??????? Thank you YNAB for whatever dark sorcery you used to make my bank account look like that.”
Want to save money fast? In the first dry run of the challenge, participants saved over $1,000. For the January cohort that went through the challenge, that number climbed to $1,500 on average—with some getting close to the thousand dollar mark and others saving many thousands of dollars. And I know we just mentioned this, but all this saving happened in just 34 days. That’s far less time (and work!) than it takes to try to get a six pack by summer.
I missed my coffees but looooved the savings.
2. Gain Control of Your Finances
“This was really helpful to clarify where our money is going and where we want it to go.”
Money can often feel slippery. It comes in, it goes out, and often it feels like you’re just standing in the whirlwind. This is your chance to push the reset button and start playing offense instead of defense in your financial life.
3. Get Clarity With Where Your Money Goes
“I can’t believe how much I fritter.”
It’s easy to lose track of spending across five different credit cards and three different bank accounts, but this challenge will wipe away the smudgey view. You’ll be able to see clearly if you’re actually spending money on what’s important to you, or if it tends to be wasted away on things that don’t matter. Whatever the case, you’ll be able to see it clearly.
4. Break Free from Impulse Spending
“I saw how much I eat out and impulsively purchase from an emotional place.”
We’re sad? We go to Target. We’re angsty? We order a milkshake. Spending is often tied up in our emotions, and at this point it might just be a coping mechanism. But what if you had to deal with your impulses another way? This challenge gives you the perfect opportunity to break free from those previously held assumptions about what you need to make yourself happy and open up different avenues to deal with how you’re feeling.
5. Have a Partner? This is a Chance to Act Like a Team With Your Money
“This was a great challenge! We had the whole family on board which made it fun to accomplish together.”
We had more than one person say their partner was never interested in budgeting or any sort of financial change before but for one reason or another, they were all-in on joining the challenge.
If your finances are wrapped up in any way with another person, you might only know the stress and fighting that often accompanies it. The 34-Day Reset challenge gives you both a fun new way to approach money and financial decisions together, without the explosive format you might be used to.
We did it as a team.
6. Experience the Snowball Effect
“This challenge snowballed into things like opening my 403b and an HSA. I feel like I just woke up from a long and disorienting sleep. I have hope. Thank you.”
When you attack one corner of your financial life and see some progress, you might just become motivated to tie up loose ends and take care of all those “I should do that sometime” tasks. These are often things like setting up retirement accounts, remembering passwords, putting together a will, and all sorts of other otherwise boring financial activities that have a tendency to getting put off.
7. Set Up a Working Budget (Finally!)
“Getting a truly working budget on YNAB was a revelation that I don’t think I could have achieved had I not engaged in this spending freeze.”
Starting a budget is often a start-stop, on again/off again practice—drawing similarities to flossing (start two days before visiting the dentist!) and working out (how many months is it until summer?). It’s no wonder—you’re often learning a brand new system, a new way of thinking, all the while trying to change your old habits and face your own financial demons that can often look like guilt, shame, and embarrassment to ask for help.
This challenge makes setting up a budget kind of fun—which means you’re more likely to stick with it in the long run. We’re not talking about keeping the same lean-and-mean spending setup you had during the challenge—you’ll learn the underlying principles of how budgeting can work in your life in a way that’s not restrictive once the saving sprint is complete (and you have that fat, happy savings balance to sit on too).
8. Build Your Wealth
“Thanks YNAB! Because of you I’ve built my wealth.”
Not only did participants save over four figures during their challenge, many knocked off one-time financial activities: like increasing their retirement savings, cancelling old recurring bills, and even some drastic activities like going down to one car or downsizing. These one-time actions immediately start compounding to build your wealth. At the same time, you learn budgeting skills from this challenge and your nest egg will continue to grow even after you’ve stopped your all-out savings sprint.
9. Feel More at Peace With Your Money
“The stress of dealing with our money has almost vanished.”
Can you even fathom that? You might be worrying about money daily (or more likely…nightly). In just over a month from now, maybe that fear just disappears and no longer takes up such big real estate in your mental load.
It’s no wonder: there’s actual physical security of having money in the bank (a flat tire won’t send you into a tailspin), and on top of that, you will gain clarity about where your money goes and feel more in control of how you spend it. With that powerful combination, your stress goes down and peace goes up.
10. Know What You’re Capable Of
“I was so surprised I could actually go 34 days without eating out.”
Yeah, the “no eating out” rule was the most terrifying for us too. Would it even be possible? For our participants, this was a huge surprise, and many said this part of the challenge was easier than they thought it would be.
Don’t believe us? Try it for yourself and let us know.
11. Become a Better Cook
“For us, not eating out and cooking every night saved us a lot of money. Not only was it a good financial move, it honestly made me a better cook out of sheer repetitiveness.”
This might be the unsung hero of the challenge altogether. Want to become a better cook? Force yourself into it! After all, you have to eat at some point and you’ll eventually tire of Pop-Tarts (even if it doesn’t happen until Day 21).
I can cook more than I thought and I can survive on less coffee….sometimes.
12. Find Contentment
“This challenge was such a good experience for me. It taught me that my life is good just as it is.”
When you can’t buy anything, you’re forced to make what you have work just fine. And often, what you have does work just fine, and you’d never have known it by 1-click ordering the next greatest Amazon purchase. When you’re happy with what you have, not only do you remove yourself from the rat race of keeping up with the Joneses, you have what many people never will have—enough. Try to put a price on that one.
Ok, So How Does the 34-Day Reset Work?
Sign up for the challenge and start anytime. Everything is totally free, with no credit card required to do it.
- We’ll send you a link for your 34-Day Reset Workbook.
- You’ll receive an invite to join the 34-Day Reset community.
- Decide what you want at the end of 34 days.
- Sprint to make it happen by following three daily rules.
- At the end of the 34 days, use the money saved to accomplish your goal. Zero stress. Zero guilt.
The average participant rated the Reset a 4.3 out of 5!
You people are great change makers.
Want to try the challenge for yourself and see what you’re capable of? Let’s get started.