One thing about me is that I stay on top of my financial goals. Financial stability gives me peace which is a top reason as to why I’m a bit stingy. If there’s a discount, I am there. Throughout college, I had a job whether I was working retail or answering the phones at the campus student center. I even saved over $1,000 during one summer internship. A stream of income, no matter the amount, provides a sense of independence.
On my first day of work, I was presented with 401K information, insurance plans, investing, etc. It was daunting. My thoughts of financial goals and money tracking were no longer limited to paying for gas and groceries while living on a college campus. I now have to think about building a retirement fund, saving for major purchases, and the looming 6-month countdown until my student loan payments were due.
None of these factors would be going away any time soon. I had to goal set and identify how to stay on top of my financial plans. My current goal is to be debt-free in 5 years and increase my fixed monthly savings budget. In my almost two years in adulthood, I’ve learned that hitting those goals takes accountability and proactiveness.
Here are my tips to staying on track with my wallet and how to think differently about your finances.
- What’s your financial status?: The first step to understanding your financial status is running a personal audit. Download your spending reports and identify your debt-to-income ratio. This is the only way to truly know where your money is going. I use the Clarity Money app to track my spending and income. Clarity Money is a free budgeting app that categorizes purchases and sends notifications of earnings and top spending areas. The notifications keep me honest and aware of my financial status weekly. Not into apps? Most banks provide a downloadable spending report. Take a look and identify where you can cut costs and meet your financial goals.
- Short-term leads to long-term: You must have a budget. A budget helps to ensure that you have enough money for the things that are important to you. Once you set a budget, check in to see if you’re meeting your goal on a weekly and monthly basis. If so, you’ll start to notice that you’ll also start meeting your long-term goals. I use Google Sheets to track my monthly budget, however, there are great budget planners and apps. Use your budget to hit goals and build consistency.
- No Time for Discouragement: Sometimes I feel like going outside literally cost money. Within my first year in Texas, I experienced two flat tires nearly back-to-back which was an unexpected hit in my budget. Things come up and they typically require money to fix. You will face setbacks, but that doesn’t mean your goals are unattainable. Get back, adjust, and continue to keep trying because the bills will. Start each month fresh.
Three tips can never encompass the full journey into financial stability and freedom. However, the key to getting starting is making a plan and setting your targets.
Comment your financial goals and tips below!