Strategies to Save for a Goal

Lorna Wounded Head is the Family Resource Management Field Specialist at SDSU.

Lorna Wounded Head is the Family Resource Management Field Specialist at SDSU.

Lorna Saboe-Wounded Head, Family Resource Management Field Specialist, SDSU Extension

Saving is a financial behavior that will always be a good habit to develop. Why you are saving will change throughout your life. There are different strategies to use depending on your savings goal. 

Video Game (~$50)

There is a new game coming out that you want, but you don’t have $50 to spend. Every penny counts, but with some planning, the purchase may not be out of the question. For smaller savings goals you can forgo non-necessities for a short time. For example, pick up a shift at work on your day off, reduce the amount you spend on your weekend out with friends or not eating out for the next couple of weeks might save you that extra little bit you need. 

Nice Laptop (~$1000)

For a little larger financial goal, know the cost and how long you plan to save. If you want a new laptop for your summer internship, you have more time to save. If you know that your current laptop is on its last leg, you have a shorter time. Divide the number of weeks you can save by the cost. This will let you know how much you need to save every week. Setting a goal of saving  $50 or more each week takes some planning. The first thing to look at is your income. How many extra hours would you need to work to earn the amount to save? If earning more isn’t an option, look at your spending to determine what you can forgo. If the goal is important enough, making a few sacrifices will be worth it.

Quality Car ($10,000+)

Long-term goals can be the hardest, so the key is to remember that strong and steady wins the race. Lifestyle changes are hard to keep up long term, and watching the money you’ve set aside just sit there can be tempting to spend. The harder you make something on yourself the more likely you are to get discouraged and stop or falter on your way to the goal. When saving for a long-term goal, consider setting up an automatic deposit into a savings account. Have the mindset that the amount to save is as important as paying a bill. If you save first, you will always have the money to save.

If saving for a goal, whether short-term or long-term, means you can’t meet your basic needs, you may need to rethink the goal. This means looking for a less expensive goal or extending the deadline to meet the goal.