Programming your destination into GPS ensures you're on the best route. Financial goals work exactly the same way. Writing down realistic, achievable money goals provides a financial map to your future.
Here are three steps to help you achieve these goals:
1. Keep an eye on your credit.
You don't need to check it every day, but it's important to know what's on your credit report. You can get a free credit report every year here: AnnualCreditReport.com. Make sure to check in every year to make certain your creditors are reporting accurately.
If you find anything incorrect on your credit report, you may be able to fix it yourself. Read What to do if your Credit Score is Wrong
2. Pay down your debt.
Try to pay-off high-interest debts like credit cards and personal loans first. Then you can focus on the rest. The less debt you have, the fewer bills you'll need to pay every month.
3. Budget your month.
Do you know how exactly how much money comes in and how much goes out every month?
If you don't, gather 2 months of bank statements and bills and make a list. Don't forget to factor in things like subscription services, gas, vacations, and home or auto repairs. To help with this, see if your bank offers free yearly reports.
Now, armed with your list of income versus expenses, you can set up a realistic monthly budget.
4. Save for something amazing.
Do you have a bucket list adventure, a dream vacation, or a bathroom remodel fantasy that you think is out of your reach? Save for it.
If you carry cash, try to save as little as $5 a week. If you use online banking, open a saving account that rolls over the change from every purchase. It may take some time, but these small efforts can add up to something big.
Budgeting and saving can be difficult, but the fruits of your labors, in the long run, will be well worth the effort you put in today.