Setting financial goals is easy, sticking to them however can be incredibly difficult. I imagine many of us who made financial New Year’s resolutions are already on track to break them.

Making generic resolutions is just silly, we need to pick goals that are actually attainable. Here are some common financial goals and the tips to help you meet them.

Pay off debt– We would all like to pay off our debt but depending on how much we owe it may be next to impossible to pay it off in a single year. Instead try to focus on paying a portion of the debt and set up up a repayment plan.

For example, let’s say we have $20,000 in consumer debt, maybe paying down $6,000 is a realistic number for us this year. That would mean we need to set aside $500 a month to meet our goal. Setting up a debt repayment plan and sticking to it is much more realistic financial goal.

Make more money – This is one of those goals that we all make but it just not realistic. Getting a raise would be great, finding a higher paying job would be awesome, but both aren’t exactly easy in this economy.

Making more money isn’t out of each, we just need to be a bit creative about how to earn that extra income. How about selling some of the crap stuff we no longer use on Craigslist or picking up a side hustle (part time job)?

financial goals

Increase my RRSP contributions – Making a larger RRSP contribution means we’ll get a bigger tax refund but how can we contribute more with so many other things going on? How about investing the tax refund we’re about to get after filing our taxes? Re-investing your tax refund every year will just help compound your contributions. This of course assumes we don’t owe money.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][icon name=”share” class=””] Related: Compound interest is my BFF

Another strategy is to set up an automatic savings plan through our bank so regular contributions are made immediately. If your employer offers any type of RRSP matching plan, be sure to take advantage of it.

Save more money – In theory saving more money should be one of the easiest financial goals, even if we save just ONE extra dollar we’ve met our goal right? Technically yes but we shouldn’t be too proud about saving an extra dollar. How about aiming a little higher?

An easy way to save more money is to simply cut some of our spending. Look at your monthly bills/spending and it shouldn’t be too hard to find a few places where you can trim your expenses.

Meet your financial goals by spending less

Stick to a budget – Here’s the thing about budgets, they’re impossible to stick to if we don’t have a realistic one set up. Before we can set up a budget, we need to track our spending, literally write down everything that you spend money on for a month. Once we know our spending habits it’ll be easy to make adjustments.

[icon name=”share” class=””] Related: Track your spending

Also note that there are different ways to budget. Some of us prefer to use a cash based system, whereas others prefer to always track their spending through budgeting software. Just find a system that works for you and stick to it.

Improve my financial knowledge – We all want to take better control of our finances, but those technical terms can be pretty intimidating. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, just read a book and you’ll have a much better understanding of how to make your money work for you. There’s a ton of great resources out there and if you read just one of them, you’ll probably know more about personal finances than 80% of the population.

Final word
Sticking to any goal you make can be easy as long as the goal is realistic. What’s the point of setting a massive goal if you have no chance of obtaining it? You’re just setting yourself up for disappointment.

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14 Comments

  1. Daniel (SaveWithDan.ca) on March 16, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Great advice, Barry. One thing is for sure: setting measurable goals is the best way to start getting things done. As you said, “save more money” is a too generic goal. “Save $500 by the end of July” is a way better goal. This way it’s easier to stick to it because you can see where you are heading.
    Thanks for sharing!!

    • Barry Choi on March 16, 2015 at 9:49 am

      Dan,

      Yes, our goals definitely need to be measurable otherwise you’re just making goals that won’t stick.

  2. Sean O'Connor on March 16, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Great advice Barry! Paying down debt should not be something that we do with whatever is left after spending. It should be the determining factor on what we can be spending.

    • Barry Choi on March 16, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Sean,

      Yes many people have the spend first then save mentality. It should always be the other way around.

  3. Tawcan on March 16, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    Great advice, having measurable goals and review them from time to time is very important. You won’t accomplish any of your goals if you set them beginning of the year then only take a look at them at end of the year.

    • Barry Choi on March 16, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      Tawcan,

      I don’t get the point of people making goals that simply won’t stick. Better to stick to something that you can actually accomplish.

  4. seattlegirluw on March 16, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Yep, I have a tendency to overshoot, and when I fail, it just sends me into a shame spiral. It wastes precious time and energy, and it keeps me from wanting to try again.

    So I try to set more reasonable goals by breaking up the bigger ones into smaller steps. Right now, I’m looking for things to sell on Craigslist. So I’m shooting for going through one room at a time. The garage will take longer, but I’m hoping by April to have gone through everything in there. (It’s not super crowded, but my husband has asthma and can’t stay in there for very long.)

    • Barry Choi on March 16, 2015 at 7:26 pm

      Seattlegirluw,

      At least you’ve recognized your problems and have found a way to turn it around. Small steps is the way to go and good on your for selling things on Craigslist. I’ve only had one successful sale there so far.

  5. Sean Cooper, Financial Journalist on March 21, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    I attribute all my financial success to goal-setting. If you don’t set goals, how are you supposed to strive for anything in life? Set goals and measure your progress. It will help keep you motivated to achieve them.

    • Barry Choi on March 21, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Sean,

      Yes setting goals is important, you just gotta make them realistic.

  6. Holly@ClubThrifty on March 23, 2015 at 8:25 am

    This is great advice! I love setting small attainable goals. We have been debt-free for a long time but those short-term goals still help us save money and make important progress when it comes to our finances.

    • Barry Choi on March 23, 2015 at 9:21 am

      Holly,

      yes, making small attainable goals applies to everything. It’s probably better to run a 5K before signing up for a full marathon.

  7. Lauren on March 23, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    Tracking your spending is a step in the right direction for achieving financial goals. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    • Barry Choi on March 23, 2015 at 5:54 pm

      Lauren,

      I still track my spending, it helps me make sure I’m not blowing my budget.

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