Sarah Bilyeu, Sr. Vice President Business Development & Community Relations, San Diego County Credit Union
Most of us earn money and spend money, but do we really know where it goes? There is often a gap between what we think we spend and what we actually spend. Setting up specific financial goals can help you know where your financial priorities lie and how to achieve them. If you have a budget and set goals, it will be easier to know if your money could be better utilized.
Use the tips below from San Diego County Credit Union to help you set up specific financial goals and achieve them.
1. Decide on your priorities
Priorities come in all shapes and sizes, from paying off debt to saving for a bike. Only you know what means the most to you and it’s about time you did something about it. Start with a few short-term and long-term goals that will help improve your future finances. Having a specific goal will help to keep you focused and motivated. It doesn’t have to be easy, but your goals should be possible and achievable.
2. Create a budget
Budgeting is an essential part of reaching your financial goals. Group your spending into three categories: fixed expenses, financial goals and variable expenses. Now take these expenses and compare them against your income. Is there money left over or are you in the red? No matter where you land on the spectrum, there is always a possibility to free up cash by dialing down your expenses or creating more income. It is a best practice to track where your money is going and make sure you are following your budget.
3. Take actions to reach your goal
Knowing your budget can help steer how you spend your money to help you reach your goals. For instance, you can commit to making your own food at home instead of eating out because you know it will help you save up for that trip to Europe. Choosing a mantra like “every dollar counts” may also come in handy when you want to order takeout. Another simple action can be automating savings for an emergency fund. Be sure these goals have a deadline and specific amount so you can see if you are on the right track. Know what your account offers and don’t forget to factor in dividend rates/annual percentage yield.
4. Breathe and Revise
There are bound to be bumps along the way and you will need to adjust as you go. Finding your financial balance takes time, but in the end, can be very rewarding.
Budgeting is knowing exactly how much money you are bringing in and deciding what you want to do with it instead of getting to the end of the month and wondering where it all went. If you find balance, saving money won’t feel like a sacrifice, it will be empowering.
Join us for Financial Wellness Wednesdays and learn more tips for setting up a solid financial future.