By Stephani Lord-Harman
Owner, The Daily Goal Getter
It's one thing to have a financial goal, it's another to keep yourself on track so you achieve it. Here are four easy steps to reaching your goals.
Start with the basics and set up a budget document using simple tools such as Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets.
Start by listing your income, expenses, and savings for each pay period, whether you get paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly.
Copy and paste that same layout for the next pay period. I usually do every pay period in advance until the end of the year with the costs I know will occur in each cycle. That might include groceries, petrol, rent (or mortgage) and any subscriptions such Spotify or the gym. Make sure you set budgeted amounts you to spend on things like groceries and petrol to help keep you on track.
It’s also important to make sure to include your savings on the same budget document. Even if it’s $20 a week, your budget forecasting will help you see how your savings grow overtime.
It’s also a good motivator to save when you know you could have a chunk of cash starting to build up within a few months by saving that $20 this week.
2. Review your budget often
It’s a good idea to give your budget a quick review every pay to ensure everything’s covered, and that nothing’s changed. Give it another, more thorough review if you have a new expense or extra income.
It’s also a good idea to plan ahead by including any expected pay rises or annual pay reviews, birthdays, and any other events that may require spending money, or opportunities to save money so nothing comes as a surprise.
Keeping your budget up to date means you’re telling your money where it’s going, rather than simply looking at your bank account wondering where it all went!
3. Set up your bank accounts like cash envelopes
My method is to have a few bank accounts set up. I have one for daily expenses which is tied to my debit card, one for groceries, petrol, spending money and a holding account for upcoming bills and subscriptions. They’re all tracked in my budget and I transfer the cash into them as it’s needed.
Doing it this way means you’re still aware and in control of your spending even when you’re not paying with cash. You can see the amount in your bank account go down with each purchase and helps you stick to your budgeted amounts for groceries, petrol, spending money, and bills.
I also keep my savings account with a different bank so it’s more difficult to access with a different card, but if I need it in an emergency it’s still available.
4. Set financial goals and keep them visible
What is it you want to achieve financially? It’s good to ask yourself that question and be clear about your answer before you start planning how to achieve it.
A common financial goal for a lot of people is to earn more or have a few months of expenses saved up in case they lose their job or have some other kind of emergency. Or, maybe you want to buy a house within the next year or so?
Whatever it is you want to achieve, work it into your budget and keep your end goal visible. That means it stays front of mind and keeps you motivated.
I keep my financial goals highlighted within my budget (as I review it often), as well as within my bank account names. For example, one of my savings accounts is called ‘$5k - 5 Months Expenses’ just so I remember exactly what it’s for with just a glance.
Stephani Lord-Harman, is a Harmoney borrower who used her loan to set up her business The Daily Goal Getter, designing and selling 90-day goal planners.
Here’s Stefani's Harmoney story: Achieving the goal of achieving goals
Other articles you might like: