Savings Goals Simplified

Seasons come and go, we move through different stages of life and it’s important that our goals and how we save for them are reflected not only throughout the year, but year after year.  No matter what goals you’re saving for, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by a lot of chatter and unclear guidance.  Here are a few simple strategies that can help you clarify what you’re saving for and how to make it happen.

Name and Date your Goals

Many people don’t really know how much it takes to reach their goals and this makes it hard to imagine achieving these goals.  Make each goal specific, by giving it a name, and measurable, by attaching a deadline to it. 

For example, a short-term goal such as furniture or vacation could simply be named as such and after doing a little homework to figure out the cost, you’ll want to work backward with the time-frame to determine how long it will take to save for this goal.  This will give you an amount you need to save monthly to meet this goal.   If the monthly goals feel unattainable, then take a look at these other factors and adjust for reality.  Do you need longer to save? Can you alter your vacation? 

This works for not only short-term goals, but also for mid-term goals, such as buying a house, or long-term goals such as saving for retirement and college education.

Explore Spending Patterns

I have clients track their spending so they learn where their money goes and identify their money leaks.  Tracking your money doesn’t need to be complicated, and can range from simple spreadsheets to online tracking tools.  What matters is consistent tracking to establish the spending patterns that may be sabotaging your intentions to increase cash flow and save for those important goals. 

Money leaks vary for each person but common ones are daily meals and coffee out, and buying something you don’t need just because it’s on sale.  By learning where your money goes, you can take a close look at your spending behavior and begin making the changes you desire.

Identify Values

What is most important to you?  Asking yourself this one simple question can bring clarity to what you want most out of life.  Understanding what you value helps to create financial goals that you’ll be motivated by and more likely to follow-through on what it takes to reach them.  Once you begin exploring your spending patterns through tracking, you’ll find areas where you’re spending money that are not in alignment with your values.  Often, we’re overspending in areas that aren’t even important to us.

Prioritize Debt

When clients come to me with questions about how to begin paying of debt, we take all their goals into account as paying off debt is usually pretty high on their list.  While it makes sense to pay off high interest debt quickly, I’ve found that eliminating the smaller debts first, usually beginning with the smallest credit card balance, helps people achieve these goals more quickly, establishes momentum, eases the pressure and creates some emotional peace around your relationship with money.

I know it’s not always easy to save, especially those longer term goals.  However, by making a few small changes in the way you approach savings and paying off debt, you can set up your own savings system that over time becomes second nature, provides stress relief and might even be fun. 

Happy Saving!

 

Mary Billerbeck, BA, MPA is Founder and President of Mary Billerbeck, Int’l. and Financially Fit Living.  Mary has a degree in Psychology and a graduate degree in Public Administration.  She is a Financial Wellness and Wealth Coach, a Financial Recovery Expert, and a Personal Development Specialist.

Mary empowers people to create positive change in their lives and is on a mission to bring awareness, healing and empowerment to our relationship with money. She believes that when you transform your relationship with money you gain massive clarity and confidence that flows into other areas of your life: from love and relationships, to life purpose and career, to health and wellness, and everything in between.

Mary can be reached at mary@financiallfitliving.com via her website www.financiallyfitliving.com.