The financial discipline to set and meet savings goals is the foundation of building wealth. By having a plan and making saving a priority, you’re more likely to develop habits that will enable you to create passive income wealth and retire early.
If you’re having trouble maintaining financial discipline and are looking for help in becoming a better saver, here are some tips on how to set saving goals.
1. Properly define your savings goals
As the saying goes, a well-defined problem is already half-solved. Rather than just saving without a specific purpose, decide what you’re working toward, whether it’s a vacation, a university education for your kids, a down payment on a house or retirement.
Have the emotional conversation with yourself about your money and what you hope it accomplishes. It is not enough to only have a vague idea of “saving more.”
2. Set a savings deadline
You will also need a well defined timeline on when you will like to have accomplished your goals.
Some goals, like buying a car next year, might be shorter term. Other goals, like reaching your retirement number, might take longer and require more ongoing planning.
If you know you need #1,000,000 to buy a car next year, you may need to set aside #83,000 a month for the next 12 months. For retirement, you can use a calculator to estimate how much you need to invest to hit your retirement savings goals.
3. Create a different account for each goal
It is far more likely than not that you will be saving for more than one goal at the same time, this is why it is important to have different accounts for different goals for clarity.
Break down each savings goal into an account, whether it’s for a car, house, vacation or anything else. That way, you can decide how to divide your resources into the accounts based on your savings timeline and the amount you need to reach your goals.
An app like Piggyvest allows you to do this from the comfort of your home without having to visit the banks and fill out multiple forms.
4. Track your goals
Keep track of your progress so that you can see where you stand and celebrate your progress. As you see your success, you’re more likely to feel good about continuing. And, of course, once you reach your goal, that feeling can encourage you to keep working toward your other goals — and setting new goals.
The most difficult part is starting, but once you get the ball rolling, saving money can become addictive.
5. Break your goals down into smaller chunks
Breaking your goals down into as smaller units as possible can make you feel more empowered to reach them faster.
If you plan to buy a #5m car in 12 months, you need to set aside around #40k each month. For some savers, though, that can feel like a daunting task. Breaking that down into a weekly contribution of around #10k may make it seem more manageable, and you can look for ways to cut back on your spending to hit that target.
Identify where and how you’re spending money in a way that isn’t serving you, with that knowledge, you can take different actions to find the money you need to meet your goal.
6. Automate your goals
Rather than trying to remember to set aside money for a goal, consider setting up automatic transfers and deductions. You can create automatic transfers on your bank apps, or on savings apps like Piggyvest and Kuda to occur on the same day each week or month, creating a situation where you don’t have to remember to make the move and take a separate action.
Automatically moving the money helps it stay out of sight so you don’t spend it.
Saving money is the bedrock of building a financially stable life. But it takes discipline to get started and continue with it in the long run.