We've talked a lot on our blog about financial planning for your future. An important aspect of that is setting financial goals for yourself and working toward them. Today we're offering some tips that can help you to meet your financial goals, setting you up for financial success in your future.
As you may already know, a financial plan looks at where you currently are with your personal finances, and where you want to go. Your plan will outline your financial goals (like retirement, buying a house, or other major purchases/expenses, etc.), and what you need to do to reach them, while hopefully reducing your financial stress.
Besides creating a financial plan and sticking to it, there are a number of other things you can do to meet your goals. From creating a budget, investing your savings, to cutting down on spending or changing your spending habits, among other things. Working to meet your financial goals will look different for everyone based on a variety of factors like your lifestyle. With that being said, below we're sharing some judgement-free tips that you can incorporate (if you want) to help yourself meet your financial goals!
Let's dive in!
1. Get organized.
Getting organized is an important step toward meeting your financial goals. Just as you would schedule time in your week to go get groceries or go to the gym, you should also plan time to get organized with your personal finances and maintain a healthy financial life. Make financial planning part of your normal routine. Scheduling time out of your day, week, or month (whatever works best for you) to get organized can help you to stay on track, know what's going on with your finances, and adjust your planning as needed to meet your goals down the line.
2. Know where your money goes!
Gaining control over your financial future is possible, but an important step to help you get there is knowing where your money is going. You can start by writing down everything you think you spent money on last month. Next, check out your most recent bank and credit card statements to see what you actually spent your money on. Make sure you note everything you bought and how much it cost, from big purchases to little purchases -- don't leave anything out! Knowing where your money goes is crucial because it will help you better understand your current financial picture and what you will need to change, incorporate, or cut out going forward to meet your goals.
3. Create a budget/spending plan.
Budgeting is a common practice lots of people implement in their financial lives to save money and work toward their goals. We actually wrote a whole post about budgeting and financial planning on our blog that you can check out here! With a budget you can keep track of your spending habits, savings, debt payments, and more! Keeping track of these metrics will give you more control over where your money is going, as well as visualize the flow of your income and expenses. A budget is a helpful tool to spend your money intentionally so that you can make sure you're leaving room for your financial goals.
4. Check your credit and banking.
Although banks are a place where you put your money and watch it grow, there may be some spots where you could be leaking money. Here are some things you can check on with your credit and banking to make sure you're making the most out of your accounts, not losing out.
Cut banking fees: If you're currently paying a monthly fee for any of your bank accounts, that adds up quickly -- you could be losing hundreds of dollars a year to fees. If you can, sign up for a no-fee banking account!
Set up automated savings: Pay yourself first by automating your savings efforts (setting up a weekly or monthly amount to be transferred from your main account to a savings or investment account).
Use cash more often: It's quite easy to overspend when you're paying with a credit card. For some people, you can keep yourself more accountable by paying in cash!
Pay off high-interest debt: If you're carrying credit card debt, try to pay it off first/as soon as possible!
Credit cards: Try to stick to one credit card or the least amount possible. Rewards cards may seem great but they can also incentivize you to spend money on things you don't need. Also, make sure you pay off your balance to avoid paying interest!
Automate bill payments: This can help you to avoid late fees and save your money.
5. Shop smarter!
A great way to meet your financial goals and save money is to shop smarter. Whether it's shopping for groceries, personal items, or whatever it is you like to shop for. Here are some helpful purchasing tips:
Make a list whenever you go shopping and buy only what's on the list.
Avoid impulse purchases!
Try only bringing cash when you go shopping and don't spend more than you have.
Download the Honey discount extension (it's free!!) on your internet browser to search for deals and discounts when online shopping.
Look for sales on products you need or off-season bargains (but don't use sales as an excuse to shop).
Don't give into the social media/influencer ads -- you never know if they were gifted products, and just because something is popular doesn't mean you need it!
Buy generic store brands and see if you like them (if you do, stick with them! -- if not, it's ok to switch back).
Buy in bulk for items you use often, especially when they're on sale (but make sure it's a realistic quantity).
7. Invest your money.
Saving your money by implementing the tips and tricks we discussed above is a great way to meet your financial goals. But perhaps one of the best things you can do for yourself to meet your goals, is invest those savings. For long-term objectives (like retirement), investing is one of the best ways to watch your money grow. By investing, you're essentially making your money work for you! We also have a blog post on the time value of money and why it's important to invest your money here! It's never too late to start investing, but the earlier the better! Time is your biggest advantage when it comes to investing.
8. Lifestyle changes.
Working to meet your financial goals may require some big or small lifestyle changes (nothing too radical) -- but it will be worth it to turn your financial goals into your reality. As we mentioned above, it will be helpful to have some type of budget and financial plan in place, as well as paying more attention to your spending habits and where your money is going. For some people, you may have to start living a more "frugal" lifestyle to meet your goals, but being "frugal" doesn't mean cutting out or denying yourself of the simple pleasures you enjoy. So here are some important things to remember:
Live within your means: Don't let external validation dictate your spending habits!
Don't spend money you don't have: Just because you can put it on your credit card and pay it off later, doesn't mean you should!
The little things that you do on a day-to-day basis matter a lot: For example, if you buy a coffee everyday of the week, make sure to budget that in or you can invest in a coffee maker and to-go mug!
Understand your behaviours when it comes to spending: be intentional about your purchases!
At the end of the day, you can be in control of your money and meet your financial goals -- you just have to find what works best for you and you'll get there!
Untangle Money's mission is to help women understand and alleviate some of these issues in order to successfully set themselves up financially. We all love being strong, independent women, and financial independence is a huge part of that! You can purchase our MINI to get a financial health check-up, and see how investing can make a difference for your future!
At Untangle Money we help women understand their (real!) financial picture, and obtain financial guidance from people that actually, really, get it. We would love to help you too. Join the community of hundreds of other women looking to strengthen their well-being. You can get in touch here for a free consultation!