Repeat after me: All of my financial goals are within reach.
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New year or not, we all have financial goals. Some of them are as simple as committing to tracking your spending daily or others are a bit more long term such as becoming debt free. Regardless of what they are, I think we can all agree that reaching your financial goals is no easy feat. After all, there’s a lot of things competing for your time and money. Plus, sacrifice and the life changes needed to reach your financial goals isn’t usually exciting. It’s only natural for you to get bored, fed up and simply throw in the towel. But it’s not impossible to achieve them, if you are prepared.
Thanks to many unaccomplished financial goals and the ability to reach a few of them, I’ve learned that if you want to reach your financial goals there are five essential things necessary for your success.
1.A defined goal
That sounds like a no-brainer, but from personal experience I realized it’s not. It’s not enough to say that you want to save $1,000 in your emergency fund, be better with money or reach financial freedom. You need to be clear and specific with your goal. Define what financial freedom means to you. And don’t just say you ‘ll start an emergency fund. Outline how you will fund that account and include a deadline. Without a direction and defined goal you are only destined for failure. Once you figure it out, you’ll definitely be closer to reaching that financial goal.
2. A way to budget
I hate to say it, but having a budget is a necessity if you want your finances to be organized. How do I know? Because I went YEARS without having a budget and my finances were always a mess. All jokes aside, keeping your money in order is essential to reaching your financial goals. The question is what is the best way to do that? I’ll be honest. Creating a budget is easy. What the personal finance bloggers don’t tell you is that it’s not easy making it stick. It can take a lot of trial and error experimenting with different types of budgets.
I personally love the Smart Planner Budget book. It features pages for your debt tracking, saving plans, expenses and monthly spending review. Plus, it includes affirmations and you know I love a good affirmation. Of course, you can also use apps such as Mint, Personal Capital or cash envelopes like the one from blog, Live Broke on Purpose.
3. A way to stay motivated
So I don’t know about you but reaching financial goals isn’t always exciting. Unless your financial goal is to save up thousands of dollars to take the trip of a lifetime, I imagine there will be plenty of times you’ll fall of the wagon. That’s why you need something to motivate you to keep going in case dreams of white sandy beaches isn’t enough or paying off that student loan is just a bit dull. Vision boards and affirmation are great ways to help you stay motivated. I’m personally a fan of the coloring pages from Debt Free Charts. You can print out charts pertaining to your financial goal and color in a block for each milestone or payment your make. The desire to color in the page completely can be great motivation. Plus, if you’ve ever done adult coloring you’ll know that this can be quite soothing.
Other types of motivation can include rewards for reaching specific milestones. One month of consistent saving doesn’t sound exciting unless you promise yourself a new book or even a restaurant trip if you do it.
4. Something to keep you focused
One of the reasons, it’s difficult to reach financial goals is because it’s hard to stay focused. Think about it; there’s a lot of things competing for your money. There’s the need for that morning coffee, the cable bill, groceries, movie tickets for the new Avengers movie, clothes for the kids, your mom’s birthday gift, etc. You get the picture. With so much going on, one might argue it’s impossible to stay focused on your financial goals. But there are things that help. For example, making your phone lock screen related to your goal is a good idea. Considering the amount of times you pick up your phone daily, you’ll be constantly reminded of your need to reach your financial goal.
Or do I what I did, which is change my passwords to something related to your financial goals. You can also create a pillow with a phrase about your goals. It’s hard to escape them if you wake up and sleep on it.
5. Something to keep you accountable
I never understood why people posted every workout or each time they drank water on Instagram. However, it wasn’t long before I realized it just happened to be a method of accountability to say consistent. Of course, accountability is necessary for reaching financial goals too. If you have no one to check in on you or help keep your butt inline you’re almost guaranteeing your failure. Utilize Facebook and Instagram or simply ask a friend to check on you. It can be as simple as showing your friend a budget on a weekly basis or an app that reminds you to work on a specific task related to your financial goal. Whatever method you choose, make sure it’s something that will stick so you don’t fall of track.
Did I miss anything? What do you think is necessary for reaching financial goals?
Terrific Quip: If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.