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 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 a 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 reach, 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)?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.