30 Mini-Challenges for September to Improve Your Life and Money!

Happy Friday!

It’s been an expensive summer for me and my wife … all the vacations, celebrations, gifts, and fancy foods have given our wallets a little hammering.

I was trying to think of a no-spend challenge or something we could do for the month of September to try and save some $$… But then I thought maybe it would be more fun to try 30 x mini-challenges, instead of the same thing for 30 x days.

Also, instead of just money stuff, how about other fun little things to improve our health, happiness, and the lives of others around us? 

Soooo… here are the 30 x daily challenges I’ve come up with for September. Print ‘em out, check ‘em off, do all of them or as many as you can. Small things add up over time!!

September will be here in a flash — on Wednesday!

***Update! One of our awesome readers made a Trello board (free, public template here) so y’all can check off this list day by day as you do them! Thank you Brittany!! 🙏🙏🙏***

30 Daily Challenges for September

Day #1: No spend $$ day (should be easy, it’s a Wednesday!)

Day #2: Clean out 1 messy drawer or desk at home. (Decluttering increases happiness and productivity)

Day #3: Cancel an old credit card or account you never use ❌

Day #4: Sell something online. I use the OfferUp mobile app — easy and free!

Day #5: Call some insurance companies for competitive insurance quotes. Car or house!

Day #6: Do a $0 workout or fitness hobby. For me, that’s surfing! 🏄 (Or, have any of y’all ever tried this 1000 squats in 1 hour video? Oh man, I did this once and it was awesome! Nearly died, but awesome nonetheless) 🤸‍♀️

Day #7: No TV today… Read a book, do a puzzle, call an old friend instead!

Day #8: Hand-wash your car. Or clean the inside at least … Dang I’ve got a lot of Cooper hair in the back from our road trips!

Day #9: Share your fav personal finance blog or articles with your friends. Or, introduce someone new to the FIRE community! 🔥🔥🔥

Day #10: Get rid of 3 clothing items you never wear. Donate them!

Day #11: Clip a coupon → and actually USE it! Or download your supermarket app (I use Vons, Albertsons, Ralphs, 99c mobile apps) and see what promos they have.

Day #12: Get up at 5am and go to a nearby park to watch the sunrise! Reflect on how awesome your life is for a few hours before starting your day. 😎

Day #13: Teach your kids how to cook dinner! (Sept. 13 is National “Kids Take Over The Kitchen” Day) Bonus points if you make them shop for ingredients.

Day #14: Walk around the neighborhood for 20 minutes — without your phone!

Day #15: Buy 1 share of a company you love. (only 1!) This will satisfy your stock picking curiosity while having a bit of fun.

Day #16: Spend $3 to brighten someone else’s day. (Make a jibjab video, buy a nice card) 🤗

Day #17: Write down 3 things you appreciate in life. Email it to me! (Seriously, I’d love to read what you’re up to and tell you mine.)

Day #18: An old J$ trick… #1) Take out a dollar bill #2) Take out a sharpie #3) Write a motivational message to yourself on the bill #4) Stick it somewhere you’ll see every morning 🤑🤑🤑 

Day #19: Change all your light bulbs to energy efficient bulbs! Costs ~$20, but saves the average household $8.33 per month (apparently). That’s $1,000 over 10 years. 💡💡💡💰💰💰

Day #20: Unsubscribe from 2-3 junk email newsletters. Better yet, cancel a subscription if you have one that no longer serves you.

Day #21: Use that old gift card that’s been sitting there for years! Or, sell it or trade in online! (I’ve still got one for Bed Bath & Beyond from my wedding 6 years ago…) 

Day #22: Car-free day! Try walking everywhere you can today. :) Saves fuel money, and helps the environment.

Day #23: See if you have any missing money owed to you. If not, try your friend’s names! (1 in 10 people in the U.S. have missing money) 💸💸💸

Day #24: Pick up a piece of trash from the ground. Or, a few! Research shows that cleaning your own street can raise your home value by up to $5,000!!! (I totally made this up)

Day #25: Introduce yourself or strike up a conversation with a stranger. This will increase your chances of more apples in life. :) 

Day #26: No drinking booze today. Instead, take a $5 bill and throw it into a jar on top of your fridge. Last year I did this for 18 days, and saved an extra $90. Kind of cool!

Day #27: Give someone you love a book that you love. (Or, call them up and just tell them the 3 biggest takeaways you learned from the book.) 🤯

Day #28: Say thank you to someone who has changed your life. Letter, text, or email… make it genuine. 😉

Day #29: Log into all your investment accounts and double check a) all your dividends are being reinvested (DRIP) and b) you have no forgotten/unproductive cash positions! 📈📉

Day #30: Set a meeting with your boss and ask for a raise… Then when they refuse, hand in your resignation, walk out of the office, go straight to the airport, buy a one-way ticket to Hawaii and live like a bum on the beach for the rest of your life. 🌴

Ok, that last one was a joke… But hey, if you are lucky enough to achieve FI in the month of September, maybe the “quit your job” part wouldn’t be so far off!?

So, are you up for the challenge(s)? How many of these do you reckon you can tick off in September?

Start this coming Wednesday the 1st…




Love you all, have a great weekend!

– Joel

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  1. Liz August 27, 2021 at 8:40 AM

    I start my new job on Monday. I think 1 month in is a little too soon to quit. :)
    In preparation of that I am aiming to get donations dropped off this weekend.
    Most days I walk in my neighborhood for your $0 work out. I take my phone with me in case I need to call for help and only talk to friends sometimes. Most days it stays in the arm band unless there are cool flowers or birds. Last fall, I came across 2 little girls who realized they were lost and asked me to call their mom. I couldn’t get ahold of her and called the local police, because I figured they had more resources than I did to get them reunited. It ended well, but lesson to have your phone even if it’s not for yourself.

      1. Liz August 27, 2021 at 6:51 PM

        Reading your post…why we choose certain routes certain days? I try to mix up my routes, and often wouldn’t have gone that way because it’s got a big hill that’s more of a 1x a week challenge.
        I’m so glad you were able to help both parties in your encounter.

  2. Chris August 28, 2021 at 2:16 PM

    This reminds me of some similar “goals” I made before. Once, I made a goal of complimenting strangers. I am really an introvert. It was a nice way to bring a little smile to someone’s day.

    1. Joel August 29, 2021 at 10:41 AM

      That’s a great way to lift up other people, as well as get you out of your comfort zone. Great goal!

  3. IF - Impersonal Finances August 30, 2021 at 2:09 AM

    I hear you on the expensive summer. I’ve been uncharacteristically unashamed of it too. This is a great list–bookmarking and setting a goal to do at least half of them! Already ruling out the 5 a.m. wake up haha.

    1. Joel August 30, 2021 at 8:40 AM

      haha Maybe change that one to *stay awake until 5am*?

  4. Dividend Power August 30, 2021 at 7:34 AM

    I like it but not sure I can do it.

  5. Leslie August 30, 2021 at 11:45 AM

    I’ve printed your list and am ready! I moved #9 to the top of the list so I can share this list with my friends! Have a great month! Good luck!!

    1. Joel August 30, 2021 at 1:23 PM

      Great to hear! Mine is printed too, and i’ve already realized that I’m traveling on day #22 (car free day). So there will be some shuffling but overall I think i can do most of these :)

  6. Nick Wilson August 31, 2021 at 11:29 AM

    I really love your tips for September. Especially the one where the kids cook dinner.

    1. Joel August 31, 2021 at 1:07 PM

      My Mum taught me how to cook and bake growing up and it’s an invaluable skill :)

  7. CristinaS August 31, 2021 at 2:10 PM

    Game on!

  8. Kristie September 1, 2021 at 12:41 PM

    Your list hit on a few things that I did during August, and it inspired me to keep the trend going. Yesterday I purchased a box of dog treats and delivered it to the doorstep/home to one of my favorite dogs in my neighborhood. (Maybe an example of…was it Day 16?) I also put a fantastic book, one that I really wanted to hoard, ummmm….keep on my shelves, in our free neighborhood library. I recently walked a couple of blocks with my mailman. It was fun. We talked music (played name that tune with the Jurassic Park theme by the Piano Guys), exercise, and of course the more obvious—stray dogs and weather! This post made me realize just how much I have enjoyed being more active in my neighborhood. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Joel September 1, 2021 at 12:43 PM

      These ideas are AWESOME! I’ll have to add these to my next list somehow. Especially the mailman one… :). Thanks for sharing Kristie!

    2. CristinaS September 23, 2021 at 1:24 PM

      Great ideas!