After you set your realistic budget and know which strategies you can realistically use to reach your savings goals, you are on the right path. However, staying on that path can often be one of the hardest parts of achieving the goal depending on your situation. If your car is on its last legs then it is a no brainer to save up to repair or get a new one, but if you are the kind of person that spends more time picking out a show to watch on Netflix than actually watching a show, knowing where you want to go with your finances can be tricky. Both groups can learn from the tips below.
You want variety. A short, medium and long-term time frame, as well as goals in different areas of your life, are important. You should set priorities, of course, but reaching short-term goals on the path to larger ones can help you get that sense of accomplishment and avoid burnout. As great as being financially sound is, there is more to life than money, so having goals in other areas of your life as well will help keep your life more balanced.
Make them SMART. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. This changes the “I want a new car” into “I want to be able to afford a 2008+ used car with under 150,000 miles on it by the time I graduate.”
Don’t forget about them. Now, this can seem pretty simple, but it’s easy to lose sight of the things that are sometimes many months out when you are doing your morning coffee run or going out with your friends. You can read tons of self-help books on the law of attraction or one of a hundred other theories that agree – putting a visual reminder for your goals that you see or interact with regularly will help you reach them faster. By keeping them in the forefront of your mind you are much less likely to succumb to impulse buys and other things that can lead you off track.
For more information about managing your finances go to the SDSU Extension website (https://extension.sdstate.edu/family/family-finances).