Whether you have long term plans like getting out of debt, creating an emergency savings fund, or buying a home, getting started can be the hardest part. All 14 participants in September’s Common Cents in Uncommon Times series came in with vague long range goals but left knowing exactly where to start. How did they do it?
They did it by setting realistic and specific goals. Instead of trying to complete their financial goals overnight, they uncovered the first steps to making and implementing realistic plans for themselves. For example, if you would like to create a savings account for emergencies, you might be tempted to say to yourself, “I’m going to save $100 a month.” An admirable goal, but is it realistic and specific enough? Not yet!
Consider starting small. Can you cut out $10 a week buying lunch each Thursday, and instead transfer it to a savings account? That’s $40 a month right there! $100 a month wasn’t realistic but $40 certainly is, and you know exactly where it’s coming from. That’s being realistic and specific. After five months of following your plan you have a $200 savings cushion.
By making lunch at home one additional day per week, you just created an emergency savings account stocked with $200. The money didn’t magically appear in your savings account. It only happened because Wednesday night you made your lunch for work the next day instead of getting takeout. Setting specific and realistic targets is what got you there! 14 of our program graduates are getting started today pursuing their goals. How will you get started?
Here are some or specific examples from our last Financial Capabilities Seminar:
“Stop spending $10 a week on lunch at work.”
“Get my credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com.”
“Set aside time to work on my budget once a week.”
“Put $15 extra on my car payment each month.”
How do you plan to reach your goal? Share below in the comments section!
Ryan Tufts is a HomeOwnership Counselor at HOMEteam. Whether his clients are three months or three years from purchasing their home, Ryan assists clients in developing customized plans leading to home ownership. Ryan also conducts HOMEteam’s Home Buyer Seminars and Financial Capabilities Workshops, guiding clients towards mortgage affordability. He also conducts the Financial Capabilities Seminars and consults Individual Development Account (IDA) clients.