Whether the conversation is about getting in shape, saving money or learning a new language, it’s generally accepted that the best way to get to the mountain top is to have goals to hit along the way. For losing weight it may be a simple goal of losing 5 pounds this month, or going to the gym three times this week. These small achievable goals give you something nearby to shoot for on what can often be a very long trip. And in the case of personal finance or saving for retirement, the trip is most certainly very very long.
Unfortunately, most of the goals presented on personal finance site are major goals; save enough for retirement, become debt free, buy a house. How many of those can be checked off in a month? How many times can someone buy a home?
What we need are smaller more achievable goals. We need to create the stepping stones for the long road ahead. Not all of these will be possible for everyone, and certainly not all at once. But the below list of goals will give you something to aim for this month, but it’s easy enough to extend them to a quarter or year. Or simply reuse the same list every month to keep on track. Pick a few that make sense and see how you do, then build from there.
- Don’t increase your debts
- Earn more than you spend this month
- Pay off a single debt in full
- Have your interest rate lowered on a debt
- Pay more towards your debts than you spend otherwise
- Spend less than you did last month
- Earn more money than you did last month
- Track every transaction this month
- Increase your Emergency Fund
- Save more than you spend
- Get a raise
- Make more meals at home
- Lower your bills (cable, cellphone, etc)
What small goals do you set for yourself each month?