Reaching financial goals requires discipline — discipline that, let’s face it, many of us don't have! We can't pass by the coffee shop in the morning without stopping for a large java and breakfast sammie. Or we're tempted when we see that big screen television on sale and we're convinced we need to upgrade to that new iPhone®.
The big problem is that these are the types of things that get in the way of us achieving our savings goals for the things that really matter to us long-term, such as buying a home, getting a new car and even taking a vacation with our families.
Setting Goals: It Matters in the Long-Run
Whether you're fresh out of college, married with a young family, or approaching retirement, you have a financial goal in mind. While everyone’s goals are different, setting goals are important. Make sure your goals fit with the lifestyle you're hoping to achieve.
For example, if you’re renting, you may wish to start saving to buy a home. Perhaps you’re interested in saving for a dream vacation, or looking forward 20 years to your retirement. Regardless of the goal you set, be realistic. You're not likely to be able to save for a home down payment as quickly as you would be able to save for your golden years.
Be sure to write your goals down and put it somewhere you will see it often. To make a big impact, write your goal on a sticky note and wrap it around your credit card in your wallet. Every time you go to pay for something, you will see your goal and stop to think before you swipe. And speaking of credit cards...
Put Your Credit & Debit Cards Away
If you're going to save money, you'll need to have a bit of discipline. One of the challenges of having credit and debit cards handy is it's a lot easier to swipe a card without thinking about what we're spending money on or where that money is coming from.
Consider putting cash in your pocket at the beginning of the week or the month; when the designated amount of cash is gone, commit to not taking any money out of your savings. While this may seem like a drastic step, keep in mind, sometimes the urge to splurge can be curbed by keeping a limited amount of cash in your pocket. When you actually see your money disappearing with each purchase, you’re more likely to stop and think twice about every little purchase.
Moving Forward After Setbacks
We've all done it — we give in and splurge on a new gadget, buy something that "we have to have" or simply overspend our budgeted "fun money." Instead of beating yourself up, get back on track and move forward. Keep your eye on your long-term savings goals and simply move on from this setback.
Money Saving Ideas
Here are a few ideas to help save you money and help reach your goals, in addition to passing by your favorite coffee shop in the morning;
- Brew your morning coffee at home and get the ingredients of your breakfast sandwich to make yourself. You may need to get up a little earlier… it’ll be worth it!
- Brown bag your lunch and eat dinner at home. When you dine out you pay a large markup on the cost at the restaurant versus buying the food and preparing it yourself.
- Pay yourself first. Set up automatic transfers to your savings account or 401(k) plan with your payroll direct deposit.
- Reduce your utility bills. Turn down the thermostat, take shorter showers, lower your cable or cell phone packages.
- Borrow before buying. Ask to borrow tools for odd jobs instead of buying them. Hardware stores have rental options for different tools and equipment. Check out books from the library or exchange books with your friends.
Put Your Plans in Motion
There are no shortcuts to reaching your financial goals. You will need to make the decision to avoid purchases that do not help you attain those goals. It's important to set goals which are realistic and avoid spending habits that can sideline those goals. It’s also important to understand patience. Time is money after all.
If you need help setting up a budget or a savings account, we have the tools to help!
Greenpath Financial Wellness is a free financial counseling service for all Genisys members. They can help you learn how to make a budget.
Genisys Online Banking includes a personal financial management tool to help you track your expenses.
Learn about the variety of savings products and Genisys Investment Services we offer to help you build wealth.
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