Achieving a financial goal may be challenging for some people not because they lack money, but because they don’t know any saving strategies. A lot of people don’t know how to do it right. All they know is to drop some coins in their piggy banks. While that may do, it’s not be the best option for bigger financial goals.
That’s why, if you want to save and achieve your dream, you need to consider the following tips:
1. Define Your Goals
Having a dream is okay, but sometimes it may not be enough. It’s because your dream should be specific. Instead of saying you dream of saving big this year, define how much you want to save, for how long, and what you’ll do with it. A specific financial goal can come like this: ‘Save USD$25,000 for one year to have a down payment on a new car loan from Empower FCU.’
Since you have a definite amount and time to achieve such a goal, you can easily track if you’re far or near from fulfilling it. Moreover, defining the purpose of your financial goal will keep you motivated in saving. You know that you want to have a car and one way to do that is to save money.
2. Create A Budget
Now that you have a clear financial goal, it’s time to create your budget. By creating a budget, you help control your expenses, track the status of your financial goals, and save more money. You can also benefit from budgeting because you can stay focused on your goals, stay out of debt, and make wiser financial decisions.
Although you may need to tighten your budget for a few years, doing so will be worth it because you can achieve your goal. Here’s how you can create a budget:
- Choose your budgeting plan. Figure out whether to use an envelope or a zero-based system. An envelope system sorts your expenses into categories by physically putting your money into the envelopes. You can have different envelopes for rent, loans, food allowance, savings, and the like. As for the zero-based system, you’ll be using an app or spreadsheet to categorize your income.
- Follow the 50/30/20 rule. Whatever system you use, you should consider the popular budgeting model, which is 50% for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings. Your needs will include fixed expenses like rent, food, and minimum monthly loan payments. For your wants, this may include a budget for entertainment and trips. Lastly, a savings fund includes your financial goals, emergency fund, and other savings.
- Track your progress. Once you start to have a budget, act on it and check if you’re adhering to it. If not, give yourself some time to adjust and start again. You can use your financial goals as a motivation to stick to your budget.
3. Cut Back On Your Expenses
One importance of tracking your progress is to determine what keeps you off track. Check your expenses to see if you have gone overboard with some of them. For instance, you may not have saved 20% of your income because you’ve spent more than necessary on your wants.
Although some expenses may not seem expensive, such as coffee from a cafe, burgers from fast food, ATM withdrawal fees, and other trivial expenses, they can accumulate over time. A USD$4 coffee may become USD$120 monthly if you purchase coffee every day. In a year, it’ll amount to USD$1,460, which is equal to one plane ticket abroad.
Imagine how much you can save when you cut back on these trivial expenses. If you find it hard, then take small steps. Instead of taking out coffee daily, maybe you can do it once a week. Remind yourself that by saving on these trivial expenses, you can have a car in a year.
4. Make Savings Automatic
Another way to achieve your financial goal is to automate your savings. Instead of withdrawing it and putting it inside the envelope, create another savings account to which your automated savings will go. By doing so, you won’t have extra on your card, which may tempt you.
Moreover, automating it can help you live after saving for your financial goal rather than deciding whether to save after spending your income. Chances are you might spend all your income without even saving a dollar. Automating your savings can help you avoid this.
When you have a goal, define it to guide what you want to achieve. A clear goal will enable you to make the right budget to achieve your goal. When creating a budget, choose a system that’ll suit your finances. To keep you motivated, think of your dream when you’re tempted to spend on trivial things. Also, you can avoid temptation easily by automating your savings. Doing all these tips will help you achieve your goal quickly.