We all have financial goals we’d love to hit “someday” when we have more money. For you, that might be a new house, a car, a vacation or even an early retirement. Sometimes these goals sound so pie-in-the-sky enormous that you’re too intimidated to get started. But saving for anything means starting small, and taking that first step forward.
Here’s what to do next time you’re feeling like giving up on big financial goals:
Remember Your “Why”
Simple but effective. If there is something you really, really want, you need to know why you want it. Even better, you should write it down.
Let’s say you’re saving up money to buy a safer car, but little things keep getting in the way. You might not typically turn down invites to go out to dinner with friends or postpone your annual vacation, but if you remember that the car you’re driving isn’t as safe as you want it to be, you’re likelier to funnel more money at your new car fund instead of a night out. Cut out a picture of the car you want, make a simple savings plan, do whatever you need to do to remind you why you’re setting the money aside.
This works for anything you’re saving up for, and it helps when you’re looking at instant gratification instead of the long-term payoff.
Track Your Progress
So many people struggle to hit their money goals because progress is often slow and steady. Little things add up. You might know that in theory, but if you throw an extra $50 per month at your student loan debt, it feels like a drop in the bucket. And it is, if you only look at that one deposit.
But then, consider that $50 a month over the course of a year, and what that will save you in interest fees. Remember the famous Benjamin Franklin quote: “Beware of little expenses. A small leak will sink a great ship.” The little things matter.
Find a spot where you can track your progress. It might be in an online program, an Excel document or a piece of paper you pulled out from your printer. Where you track doesn’t matter. But the habit of writing down every small step you take toward your financial goals shows just how quickly those actions add up.
Automate Your Financial Goals
Another way to derail your financial goals is by being too busy. Even if you have the money, even if you have the drive, life gets in the way. You get bogged down by work, activities and family obligations, and you decide you’ll deal with your financial goals later.
As anyone who has set a long-term goal knows, “later” rarely comes. There will always be other responsibilities vying for your attention. Luckily, technology is on your side.
One of the best and simplest things you can do is set up an automatic transfer to a savings account or a payment account. It only takes a couple minutes, and after that, requires no effort on your part. Make a plan before you set it up to determine what you can afford and how much you can allocate. Without even thinking about it, you’ll be chipping away consistently at your big goal.
About Your Richest Life
At Your Richest Life, Katie Brewer, CFP®, believes you too should have access to financial resources and fee-only financial planning. For more information on the services offered, contact Katie today.