Setting smaller, more immediate goals can have a big impact on your long-term plans. So, think about where you want to be or what you want to be doing in five years, and start working toward those goals now. Get started with these four steps:
1. Write Down One Savings Goal You Want to Achieve in the Next Five Years
Whether it's something practical like a down payment on a home or something fun like taking a dream vacation, write it down. Whatever your savings goal, you need to define it in order to lay the groundwork for it.
2. Write Down Your Top Priorities Over the Next Five Years
Let's say your goal is to buy a new house. Make a to-do list: pay off some credit card debt and identify how much money you can afford to set aside every month (or week) toward your down payment. And give yourself a deadline to stay accountable. Big or small, prioritizing and planning now will help you reach that goal.
3. Develop a Plan to Support These Priorities
Examine your finances and track your spending habits to see what costs you can cut or lower. Then look at tools to help you manage your savings plan: Could signing up for online banking and mobile alerts help you stay on top of your spending? Getting organized (check out our budget worksheet to track your expenses) can also help prevent some headaches and missed opportunities to reaching your savings goal.
4. Automate Your Savings Into Goal Accounts
Set it, and forget it. Use auto transfers to put money directly into an account each month. For example, if one of your priorities is to save $1,500 in six months, set up a $250 monthly transfer. You'll be saving without the stress. And if you haven't already, set up Online Statements and eBills to help keep your finances organized and your savings goal on track.