There’s just something about the beginning of a new year! With the turn of a calendar page, our hopes are renewed, our expectation awakens, and the desire to set goals reignites. It’s pretty powerful stuff!
What would you like to see happen in 2017? Odds are you probably already have something in mind. So, how can you transform your goals from just thoughts to reality?
The process often begins with your account balance! No, money can’t solve everything – but it is a useful tool. Without further ado, here are seven strategies to help you achieve your goals in 2017.
1. Write Them Down
This may sound like a pain, but the statistics show that dreamers that write down their goals are actually 45% more likely to achieve them. Save them on your phone, keep a journal, download an app – do whatever works best for you.
It’s not magic! But, taking time to commit your goals on “paper” helps you organize your thoughts and determine what you really want. Be specific...
- What are you saving for?
- What are some action steps that will help you get there?
- How long will it take?
- Where will the money come from?
2. Be Flexible
If you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution, that means you’ve probably broken one (or more) too! Oftentimes, it’s the minor issues that derail our goals. You can’t predict the future! If you struggle or mess up one month, forgive yourself and move on. Your entire plan shouldn’t fall apart because of one small setback.
3. Be Realistic
Not all goals are created equal! Some will take longer than others. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, it may not be possible to become debt free in one year. Be real with yourself about the challenges and the timeline.
“If your goal isn’t realistic in the short term, it won’t be realistic in the long term," says US News blogger Trent Hamm.
4. Make Them Automatic
Saving money doesn’t come naturally for most of us! Fortunately, your financial institution should have tools to help. Using direct deposit or auto transfer takes all the work out of saving. And the easier something is, the more likely you are to achieve it.
5. Set Small Milestones
When it comes to long terms goals, it’s easy to get discouraged. Rather than getting wrapped up in the end game, break your goal down into chunks. How much will you save this month? How much will you save this week? This “bite-sized” approach is much more manageable. Oh, and don’t forget to celebrate your successes! We all need a pat on the back every now and then.
6. Keep your Money out of Easy Reach
When money gets tight, it’s going to be really tempting to tap into your savings. Hide your money if you have to! Absolutely do not get an ATM card. And if necessary, stow your savings in a different financial institution than the one you primarily use.
7. Use the Right Tools
What is the right type of account for your savings goals? As your balance grows, consider putting your money into a Money Market account or Certificate. These types of accounts offer a better rate of return. Just be sure to educate yourself about all of the restrictions associated with higher yield accounts, so you’re not penalized when you make a withdrawal.
How DuGood Can Help
No matter where you’re at on your savings journey, DuGood has something to offer! If you’re just starting out and have lots more questions, contact us about taking a free financial education class about saving and budgeting.
Don’t have a savings account yet? Opening one is simple! You can get started with just $5.