We all want to be financially healthy, but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. One of the best places is setting a savings goal and working towards it. It doesn’t matter if you’re saving up for a new car or trying to put food on the table—setting a goal can help ensure that your money goes toward what’s most important to you. But how do you set a savings goal? And once you’ve set one, how do you stay motivated as time goes on? Let’s walk through just how simple it can be:
Set a goal and create a plan to achieve it
- Write down your goal.
- Create a plan to achieve it.
- Make sure the plan is realistic and challenging enough to make a difference in your life but not so difficult that you’ll give up before seeing results! Start small, but keep going until you reach the end of your savings journey.
- Consider how you will continue saving after achieving your goal – by increasing your monthly or year-round savings. Another big purchase looming on the horizon could use some extra cash.
Set a timeframe for when you wish to achieve the goal
How long does it take to save up for something? It depends on your income and spending habits, but there’s no hard and fast rule. Some people have high-paying jobs and live quite frugally, so they can save money quickly; others work in low-paying fields with high expenses, making it much harder to put anything aside each month. The more time that passes between now and when you want your savings account full, the more likely it is that some unexpected expense will come up and throw off all of your plans (and budgets).
For example: Let’s say that over two years, I plan on saving $5K toward my dream apartment in New York City (which happens to cost $5K). If everything goes according to plan–no emergencies or unexpected expenses–I’ll have enough cash saved by June 2020.* However! There are lots of things that could happen between now and then which could prevent me from reaching this goal on time…or ever at all! For example: My car breaks down unexpectedly; someone gets sick in our family who needs emergency medical care; etc., etc., ad infinitum…
Make sure your goal is realistic and challenging enough to make a difference in your life
It’s important to ensure that your goal is realistic and challenging enough to make a difference in your life. If it’s too easy, then there won’t be any motivation for you to keep working toward it. However, if it’s too hard or unrealistic, it could lead to frustration and disappointment when things don’t go as planned.
It’s also important to be specific about what you want to achieve by saving money–and how much that will take! If we’re talking about saving up for something specific like a holiday or a new car, then this can help keep us focused on our target instead of being distracted by all the other things we could do with our cash instead (which would mean less chance of reaching our savings goal).
Start saving now, even if the initial steps are small
The sooner you start saving, the more time you have to build up your savings. If you start saving at age 20 and invest $2,000 per year for 30 years, by retirement age 60, that amount will have grown to $78,360 (assuming an average annual return of 8%).
If you wait until age 40 to start saving the same amount annually over 30 years, then by retirement age 60, your investments will only be worth $46,230–that’s a difference of almost $30k!
Start planning how you will continue to save after achieving your savings goal
Now that you’ve got a savings goal in mind, it’s time to start planning to continue saving after achieving your savings goal.
Remember that this isn’t just about saving money: It’s about making sure that when the time comes for your big purchase or investment, it will be possible for you to afford it without having to take on any debt or other financial obligation (like putting off retirement). Even though we often focus on short-term goals like funding our 401(k)s and paying off student loans, there should also be room for long-term considerations like buying a house and starting a family.
To ensure this happens successfully every single time without jeopardizing our financial security, we need plans A through Z. For example:
- Plan A might be putting aside money each month into a separate account; if something goes wrong (like losing one’s job), this would be where all those funds would come from instead of using credit cards or taking out additional loans.* Plan B could include using up any available savings accounts before drawing down on credit lines.* Plan C could involve selling investments at their current values rather than waiting until they’ve gone up again (or down further).
Setting and working towards goals can help you manage your money and improve your financial health
- Setting a goal can help you get organized.
- Setting a goal helps you prioritize the things that matter most to you.
- Setting a goal helps keep you focused on what matters most at that time in your life, which may lead to achieving dreams that were once out of reach or saving money on unnecessary items (like an expensive coffee maker).
We hope this article has helped you understand the importance of setting and working towards financial goals. We know it can be challenging to get started sometimes, but once you do, it can significantly impact your life and help improve your financial health. If you’re still unsure whether or not it’s worth doing, think about what would happen if tomorrow was your last day alive–wouldn’t you want to leave behind something good?