Many of us have financial goals. Whether it’s a long-term objective like saving for retirement or something more short-term like putting aside a sum for a new TV; saving money for something we deem important is a top priority.
If you’re a natural saver, siphoning off a portion of your income to meet your financial goals is easy. For many people, however, saving money is a seemingly insurmountable challenge. Whichever category you fall into, the following steps will help you reach your financial goals:
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1. Stay Away from Credit Cards
If you don’t have any credit cards yet, keep it that way! If you already have balances on one or more cards, work hard to pay them off and try to use them sparingly. Interest rates on credit cards can be 20-percent or more, sucking up any extra money you hope to save.
Instead of using credit cards, consider ethical microfinance providers who offer low-interest cash loans. With minimal fees and charges and flexible repayment plans, these loans won’t bleed you dry when it comes time to pay them back.
2. Make Time to Manage Your Money
It’s difficult to save when you don’t really know where your money is going. Knowing and understanding your finances will help you figure out ways to cut spending and save money. Make time each pay period to determine which expenses should be paid and how much you can comfortably afford to put into savings. Creating a budget you can live with and learning to stick to it is the best way to reach your financial goals.
3. Become a Smart Shopper
Identifying excess spending and putting a stop to it is a great way to accumulate money without actually having to earn more. When you go to the store, use these tips to cut unnecessary spending.
- Say no to impulse buys
- Use cash only when shopping and don’t spend more than you bring along
- Buy store brands rather than name brands, where possible
- Comparison shop to determine the lowest prices
- Buy in bulk (if you can use it before it expires)
4. Pay Yourself First
Many people commit to saving whatever is left at the end of the month. Unfortunately, there’s usually nothing left to save by then. Instead of vowing to save what isn’t there, pay yourself first. Every payday, have a specific amount automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings or retirement account. This way, you won’t be tempted to spend money you’ve allocated for your future.
5. Invest to Grow Your Money
Once you’ve identified your financial goals and have a handle on your finances, you can think about ways to grow your savings. For longer-term goals, investing is a great way to increase your wealth. Of course, there is a certain amount of risk with every investment opportunity. However, there are some investments that are less risky than others. The easiest way to be an investor is to have money deducted from your paycheck or bank account and put right into the investment of your choice.
Many people set financial goals for themselves. Some plan to save for a comfortable retirement while others shoot for shorter-term goals like building up a Christmas shopping fund. Whatever your goal, by avoiding credit card use, shopping smart, and making time to manage your money, you should be able to make your financial goals a reality.