Whether it's for a wedding, a house deposit, the ultimate holiday or something else altogether, setting yourself specific money goals that are *actually* achievable is a great way to boost your financial wellbeing.
Not only does ticking off those monthly targets encourage you to carry on, but it breaks everything down so that it all feels (and genuinely is) completely realistic.
Here are our top tips to help you get where you need.
Start off small
Initially, you could pledge to save a small amount of money every day, week or month. We're looking at small, stress-free savings here that easily fit into your budget and won't affect your day-to-day life.
Saving on this small scale is called 'microsaving' and it's a great way to build up a starter pot. One of our favourite methods is this daily savings challenge that will earn you £1,450 in a year.
Otherwise, you can get apps that will sort you microsaving for you (such as Plum or Cleo). These AI-powered apps will round up change from your purchases and put it in your savings, among other fancy features.
Give yourself a deadline
Do you want to achieve your goal in three months, six months, or longer? If you have an event you’re saving for, then this could be your deadline.
It helps to set a realistic timescale so you’re not overstretching yourself each month and it feels like there is no end in sight!
You could say you're going to save a certain amount for three months and see how you manage. When the three months is up, if you're ok you can carry on saving that much (or a bit more). If it was a bit of a stretch, you might be best re-budgeting and finding a more comfortable amount.
Write down your goals
Writing down your goals can be a big help.
Write the goal(s) on a piece of paper and put it somewhere you’ll see it every day. You could stick it on the fridge or the bedroom mirror. Or write it down on a calendar. Put it in your purse to make you think next time you go to buy something you don’t need! Being mindful of your goals will keep you focused on it.
Goals you can set
If you need some inspiration for goals to set yourself, you could try:
Cutting out unnecessary spending for a month
This means only buying necessities for the next month. Bills, mortgage or rent, car payments, food shopping etc. Avoid any online shopping, takeaways or impulse buys. If you tell yourself you’re going to stick to this for the next month only, it’ll feel like a challenge rather than a lifestyle change.
Find out how to save money on your food budget.
Jotting down all your spending for a month
Even after cutting out non-essentials, you might be surprised what you spend money on without thinking. It can be a big help to write down everything you buy, no matter how small or insignificant it seems at the time. At the end of the month have a look at your total spend and see what else you could cut down on. For example, you might be able to save money by looking for alternative providers for your car insurance or broadband.
Use a free switching service to find the best deals in your area for utilities.
Starting your emergency fund
Ideally an emergency fund should cover roughly 3 months' worth of expenses, but this can be quite a lot to save. Set yourself a goal to kickstart it properly with a deposit. Make sure what you save works for you. You could add to it by £25 each month or more. Keep this money separate from your other savings as it’s only for use in case of a financial emergency.
Prioritise your debts
This one’s slightly broader, but if you want to get on top of your finances, combating debt is a huge part of it. If you have a lot of credit card debt, focus on paying this off as your new financial goal. If you have a lot to pay off you’ll need to work out how you make your repayments affordable for you, while keeping interest down. You could set a target of making more than the minimum repayment every month to help cut down on interest. Use a repayment calculator to work out the how long it will take you to pay off the debt, based on your affordability.
Read on for easy ways to make some extra money.
Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.