It always feels good to have a bit of money behind you so that you can cope with some unexpected financial demands when they come along and also to make solid plans for the future.
Putting cash aside regularly is a good habit to get into but not always one that is easy to get started with.
Here is a look at some ways to set savings goals and how to reach them. It starts with identifying reasons for saving and why it matters to set a realistic timeline. There are also some insights on how to find the money you want to save from your existing budget.
Deciding on your goals
The main point to keep in mind is that when you set some specific savings goals that really mean something to you personally it will help to give you the incentive to begin saving and should improve your discipline to keep on track.
There are always going to be moments of weakness where you are tempted to use some of the money you have saved already for something or it could be that you are suddenly faced with a financial emergency.
When it comes to getting on track with your savings overall, the fundamental point is that you are more likely to succeed in accumulating money when you set some specific goals.
Timing is everything
Another motivational factor that can help you to be more disciplined about saving regularly is to create a realistic but specific timeline for your saving goals.
Your goals will be a mixture of short and long-term targets, such as saving for educational costs for your children, wedding plans, a dream holiday or funding your retirement plans.
These goals will all have a different timeline attached to them, with a dream holiday maybe taking a few years to get where you want to be, but more long-term targets like saving for retirement giving you a much longer end date to aim for.
That is not to say that you don’t want to set some mini targets along the way for your longer term targets, such as deciding that you would like to add at least $30,000 to your retirement pot every decade.
Working out the numbers
Once you have worked out exactly what you would like to save for and set some realistic goals that you feel you can definitely work towards, the next task is to calculate what sort of money you will need to put away each month in order to get where you want to be with your savings.
There is no doubt that the earlier in life you start planning for more long-term events like retirement the easier it can be to save the amount of money needed each month to reach your target.
If you are trying to get enough money together for a dream holiday that you would like to do on a special birthday date, that will create a timeline to work to and you can then calculate how much money you need to save each month in order to reach that goal.
Saving is often easier when you have an end date to work to and seeing your plans coming together should provide the motivation to keep putting that cash away every month, however difficult that might seem at certain times.
Finding the cash
If you are on a tight budget and feel that it might be a struggle to save a reasonable sum of money regularly, another way to look at the problem is to take a close look at your monthly budget and find some extra money by making some adjustments to your spending.
You can find that if you have been making regular payments to your internet provider and for your utilities among other things, if you haven’t reviewed the deal you are on for a while there is likely to be a cheaper deal on offer now.
Shop around regularly for better deals and find ways to cut your monthly bills. You can then divert the savings you make towards your goals.
Some minor adjustments to your spending habits, like having a home movie night rather than going out, can soon help find the extra cash you are looking for so that you can set some realistic savings goals and find a way of reaching them.
Harry Bryan works as a personal finance consultant and shares his tips and knowledge around the web, hoping to help as many people as possible master their money!