Here’s how to set money goals that actually stick
Whether you’re dreaming of an adventure abroad, saving for a deposit, or want more money to spend with friends here at home, reaching your life goals tends to come hand in hand with setting solid money goals. But achieving those goals is easier said than done. With these six steps, you can set yourself up for a solid start – right through to the finish line.
1. Make it a challenge, but keep it achievable
It’s easy, even exhilarating, to get caught up in the excitement of our goals and all the future holds, but it’s important that you set goals that are actually achievable. Make it a challenge, but something realistic. Start by getting to know your current financial situation. If you want to save for that backpacking trip in Indonesia, how much do you actually need to make it happen? Check in on your money and get to know your average monthly incomings and outgoings. What do you need to save to make the vision a reality? Ask yourself the tough questions: Where do you tend to overspend, where can you afford to cut back?
The same goes for smaller goals. If you want to budget better so you can enjoy more nights out with friends, you need to know the reality of your spending and make every day changes that are realistic and achievable. You can’t stop paying for your electricity bills, but you could commit to making your lunches every day to cut back on daily spending.
2. Visualise your goal
Here’s a fun one that’s easy, too. They say seeing is believing, and this couldn’t be more true for money goals. Write down your goal in your journal, make a mood board and stick it on your wall, use Yolt to watch your spending improve and keep your budgets in the black. These visual reminders can help you keep your eyes on the prize and focus your daily money habits along the way.
3. Practise Money Mindfulness: Focus on the process not just the end game
The most successful goals are the ones that focus on the positive impact to your everyday life – not just the trophy at the end of the finish line. Of course, being able to buy your first house, treat yourself to that new bag, or enjoy more weekends with friends is a huge achievement, and something to motivate – and reward – all of your hard work. But think about all that you’re gaining along the way, too: Better habits, confidence in your financial skills and in yourself, and more power to do what you really want with your money.
By focusing on all of the little improvements, you can enjoy the feel-good buzz of your hard work throughout the whole journey – plus, by creating a positive relationship with your money, you’re setting yourself to smash your next goal, too! We like to call this way of life ‘Money Mindfulness.’ You can get started with our zen approach to money management here!
4. Break down your money goal into mini tasks – with timeframes
Think of this is as your strategy plan – you’ve got the goal, so how do you get there, step-by-step? Approach it in the same way you might a fitness goal – no one can go from buying their first pair of trainers to running their first marathon in a day. First, you’d focus on running for 2 minutes straight, then 5, 10, and, slowly but surely, you’d be on your way. By breaking your goal down into smaller, achievable milestones, you won’t get overwhelmed and you can stay motivated with every little success. Think about syncing these up with deadlines ahead of time. Pick a date in the future for your goal completion date. What do you want to achieve by the end of the first week, month, or year? If you have a money goal that’s ongoing, like budgeting better for more time with friends, how do you want to break that down into daily or weekly budgets?
5. Share your money goal with friends – or better yet, set one together
Money is one of the biggest taboos in the UK, and that’s led to a huge lack of confidence for people of all ages. As with most things, talking about money can help you overcome your fears— and reach your goals. Confiding in a close friend or family member can give you the moral support you need to reach your dreams.
It can also help keep you accountable. Whether you’re planning a group trip or want to cut back on your shopping, try reaching out to a friend and see if they’d like to join in the challenge with you. By working at a shared goal, together, it’s easier to stay on track when you’re working towards the same thing and don’t want to let the other person down. Plus, once you’ve achieved your goal, it’s double the celebration!
6. Celebrate your success, but let yourself be flexible
Like we just said, celebration is important. If you’ve broken your goal down into mini milestones, celebrate those moments and give yourself a pat on the back. If you’ve been working hard at improving your budgeting or putting aside lots of savings every month, there’s no harm giving yourself a hard-earned treat. You can even think about building that into your overall goal strategy (in tip four).
On the flipside, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit a milestone, have to readjust your plan, or have the occasional budget ‘cheat’ day. Like we said in tip one, you have to keep things realistic and achievable. If your circumstances change, it’s OK to tweak your goal, too. This works both ways. See how things go – if you’re smashing it, you can always look at challenging yourself that little bit more.
Knowing where you stand is the first step
At Yolt, we're on a mission to empower everyone to be smart with their money. Sync your accounts, see your spending clearly, and set easy budgets with our smart thinking money app. Get Yolt for free and give it go!