Going for THE GOALS
The best way for financial success is to have a goal/or multiple goals in mind. Having both short term and long term goals can make your saving more efficient. Having you been longing for a new pair of shoes? A bike? Do you need a new roof? Are you saving for a dream vacation? What about a house? Retirement? Knowing what you want out of life and having a plan on how to get there can pay off.
Know EXACTLY Where You Stand
Something I am continually doing is write, and re-write, my budget. My budget includes everything from my newly acquired mortgage to my cell phone to the yearly cost of having an Illinois-state sticker ($101 annually so $9 a month). Even though something like the license plate sticker is such a small amount, I factor it in on a monthly level so I have the most accurate picture of my finances as possible.
Re-Evaluate the Budget
Re-evaluating my budget happens about once a week. I look to see if I am going over, or under, my allotted expenses in each category, and adjust as necessary. Any left over money from the various categories goes into savings. .
Wants vs Needs
It's important for me to budget not only my needs, but my wants/goals. I like to have a time line of when I can expect my goals to be a reality. Obviously, needs come before wants, so I budget for all the basic living expenses first. However, having a detailed picture of how my goals paint into my financial picture has helped me. Every time I go shopping and I see something I want, I ask myself "How bad do I want this? Will this impact my short-term goals of buying/doing ____? What about impact my long-term goals?" These self-questions have helped me avoid a lot of unnecessary purchases. Happy hours and shopping sprees add up fast.
My current goals..