How To Set SMART Financial Goals
Financial goals can help you to adapt to new habits with ease. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and unprepared you can achieve the life you want by figuring out what is the best course of action.
When I first wrote about why everyone should use smart goals, I began to think of specific ways this could relate to someones debt free/ financial awareness journey.
You always want to make your ideas something that you can visualize in your head and actively work toward. SMART goals are one of many methods you can use to get your credit in check, balance your paychecks, and reduce stress caused by financial worries.
Related Post: What are SMART Goals and Why You Need Them in Your Life
What are SMART goals?
It is a method used to organize your goals while breaking them down into manageable bits. One of the reason why goals fail or seem unachiebvable is because we want to do something without thinking of what it entitles.
Lets say you want to raise your credit score but you have 8 different maxed out cards. Your goal if you don't use the SMART method sounds like "I'll clear the balances"
But if it were that simple you would of did it already. You have to buckle down and figure out where your money is coming from, which areas of spending you have wiggle room, and if you stick to your budget, how long will this take you? You'll be organized, prepared, and ready to tackle each card.
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How can I do it?
There are multiple examples that you can follow but make a goal that fits your desires and what you can do.They are not separate. You can make changes without turning your life upside down.
"Save $500 by the second week in December"
"Raise my credit score within 6 months"
"Save the amount needed for a car downpayment by the end of the month"
"Pay off my loan in two years"
Make sure it's measurable
The goal should clearly be identified as achieved or not.
Yes, I reached my savings goal.
No, I did not bring lunch every day this week.
What do you need to do to achieve your goal? The small and big factors that we neglect to consider, make the difference between success and failure.
Make a list of everything you need to be aware of
1. Write out your bills and their due dates.
2. How much is your income?
3. What expenses do you have?
4. Do you spend money on random things daily or do you wait until you've saved greatly to make bigger purchases?
5. What is your credit score? ( There are apps that allow you to get a free credit report)
6. How much do you have saved?
7. Do you have other ways to make money? (Without overwhelming yourself)
8. Are you interested in other ways to make money? (Not everyone wants to pick up a side gig)
9. Do you feel comfortable saving money in the house? Would you consider a savings account?
10. Do your goals involve anyone else?
All of it needs to be planned for. You don't wake up one day, after living in NY all your life, and suddenly move to California.
Or maybe you do, but there are still things you had to make happen in order to get there.
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Before you say you want to save 50% of your income or commit to the 50/30/20 method, make sure you can.
The average household spends $237 alone on utilities. That doesn't include food, rent, babysitting fees, or clothes that the kids out grow.
Someone who paid off $34,000 in a year while making $37,000 annually, made changes that worked out for them, but this does not take away from your journey.
$50 a week is $200 (sometimes $250) that can be put toward savings.
And if you are a single parents, a broke college student, or helping out at home, maybe that sacrifice can't happen today. But getting your mind right can help get you closer to doing what is necessary.
Modify your goals to ensure success while being pushed within your limits. With time you can and will be able to do it all. SMART goals are all about building confidence and setting healthy habits in place to achieve those big wins.
How long will you dedicate to this goal? A few months? A couple of years?
I recommend starting with a smal goal. Simply because goals that take years tend to make you have greater moments of doubt.
If you aren't use to actively changing your spending habits, setting monthly, biweekly, or weekly agendas is a decent way to start.
It might take 2 years to clear all debt, but just a few months to make one of your balances equal to zero.
Little wins count.
Don't give up
Saving, spending smartly, and avoiding splurging can feel like the most tedious chore ever.
Letting go of expectations and avoiding comparison will make the journey smoother but the truth is we want instant results. The world is constantly moving. We have fast internet, quick fingers when we type, and pulling out your debit card is 123.
But with this we are slow. The days will go no faster than 24 hours.
Slow down, and make each moment meaningful. Invest in yourself, realize what you're comfortable doing, and budget away.
Related Post: Spend Money and Invest In Yourself
Related post: A Quick and Easy Guide to Starting An Emergency Fund
In conclusion, SMART goals make life more manageable. They still challenge you but they're easier because we know what to expect. Let me know in the comments if this method works for you and don't forget to hit the Like button!
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