How do you set financial goals and achieve them?
You’re dreaming of financial freedom. The day when your paycheck doesn’t evaporate the minute it’s deposited.
You’re ready to make more money and stop spending so much, but you’re trapped in the cycle, unable to get ahead.
Somehow after rent or the mortgage, car payments or transit fees, plus food, you’re barely hanging on.
Like most of us, you also probably set a financial or money New Year’s Resolution like, save more money, create an emergency fund, pay off credit card debt or perhaps get a raise.
Table of Contents:
How to Achieve Financial Goals:
Making more money often seems like the solution to all our financial problems, but it’s not that simple. Biggy said it right, “mo’ money, mo’ problems.” That’s if you don’t wise up to better financial management.
So, how do you achieve your financial goals this year? How do you go from being broke and in debt, to building stability and wealth? What’s the secret to having financial freedom (aka no debt and money in the bank)?
I turned to 37 financial experts, from CPA and investment advisors to financial bloggers and writers, asking just that. What is the #1 strategy to achieve your financial goals?
No matter where you are on the journey to achieving your financial goals, please don’t be afraid and just get started today. Don’t sit and wait for things to get better, make them better!
I know it all seems scary, especially when you’re in the deep end, but you can pay down debt, budget your money, save more money, stop spending and even make more money. It’s all possible! Some of our experts have even paid off tens of thousands in debt and student loans and are now committed to helping you do the same.
Get excited, get motivated about achieving your financial and money goals! Plus, be sure to get your FREE Simple Budget Spreadsheet.
Get Your Money Mindset Right
What do you believe about money? From your subconscious mind to the actions you take, whether you know it or not, everything is controlled by your money mindset. It’s time to take charge of your wallet, starting with your mind!
- Willpower is Not Enough
- Learn How to Be Disciplined
- Know Why You Have Financial Goals
- Have a Positive Money Mindset
- Don’t Think About it Too Much
#1. Willpower is Not Enough
Personal Finance, Small Business, and Mindset Expert
If you use willpower as your sole strategy against the constant bombardment of consumerism it will only be a matter of time before you succumb.
Willpower is fragile it can take just one bad day for the budget to be abandoned in a shopping frenzy! Instead, be proactive and identify situations where you may be tempted ahead of time.
It’s useful to identify the spending trigger; the reason underneath the urge to spend; consequences of overspending; have an appropriate strategy and shift your mindset.
For example, you could practice politely declining (strategy) social invitations (trigger) so you aren’t caught on the spot. Letting people down is a horrible feeling (reason) however if you go and blow your grocery budget on Friday night drinks (consequence) you are letting yourself down. There will always be other times (mindset).
We sadly live in a society where what we have is valued more than who we are. Learning to flip that and be ok without all the things, is really the key to unhooking your dependence on spending excessively.
Finally, distract yourself so you don’t need willpower at all! Find cheap fun hobbies, improve your skills or study as more productive uses of your time. These are great ways to occupy yourself while your finances recover.
👉🏽 A personal finance blogger, financial planner and small business consultant, Bethany is extremely passionate about helping women achieve financial independence and gain confidence with their money. Recently graduating in the top 15% of her university class and doing it all as a single mother on a budget, Bethany now helps women rein in their spending and start profitable businesses, so they never have to rely on anyone for financial support. Ever again! Bethany shares How to be a Financially Empowered Woman.
#2. Learn How to Be Disciplined
Blogger + Financial Independence Expert, Cleverly Changing
The most important tip I can provide to anyone who wants financial independence is to be disciplined. In fact, you have to be willing to sacrifice something now for financial autonomy later. Think about what your future self would want and not what you currently see, feel, and think you want now.
For example, if you want to own a home, then you should start putting money in savings now and start building your credit. That could mean that you reduce the amount of clothing that you purchase monthly or annually. It could also mean cooking more meals at home and eating out less so your expendable income can add up in a savings account. The key is to find something in your life that you are spending money on unnecessarily and reducing costs when you can.
👉🏽 Elle created a practical plan to pay off all of her debt: student loans, credit cards, and other bills. With discipline and hard work, in just 3 years she became financially independent and debt free. One of the happiest days of her life was making the final payment on her student loan. A decade later she has paid off more than $130,000 in debt and is a mompreneur, working to pay off her mortgage and teach her 10-year-old daughters how to avoid the financial pitfalls she encountered. She shares her practical finance tips and other information on her blog CleverlyChanging.com, like The Secret to Saving Money Every Day.
#3. Know Why You Have Financial Goals
Financial Coach, Fika Finance
Before you take steps to achieve your money goals, defining your why is key. If you don’t know why you are trying to save, spend less, get out of debt, or live on a budget, then it will be really difficult to implement a strategy that sticks.
A “why” could be I don’t want to stress about money any longer, so I’m going to take the steps to take control of my finances once and for all,” or “I want to change my family tree and not repeat my parents’ financial mistakes.” Your “why” is what you will always fall back on when the going gets tough, and you want to quit.
I suggest sharing your “why” with someone close to you, writing it out, and posting it somewhere that you can see it on a daily basis.
👉🏽 Ahan Holoran is a Financial Coach at Fika Finance.
“If you don’t know why you are trying to save, spend less, get out of debt, or live on a budget, then it will be really difficult to implement a strategy that sticks.” – Fika Finance
#4. Have a Positive Money Mindset
Kassandra T. Dasent, CFEI
Personal Finance Consultant, Educator & Speaker
If someone has a goal of being debt-free, in order to be successful, I believe that they need to change their mindset. Start with understanding what caused them to become indebted in the first place, both from an emotional and situational perspective.
Naturally, people want to immediately rush to action in order to fix a problem. However, without taking the time to be introspective, shine the spotlight on what the root cause is and address the issue(s), they miss out on an important opportunity to experience growth.
Without learning from their mistakes and adopting a positive money mindset, even if they were to pay their debt down, the chances that they may find themselves back in the same financial predicament are high.
👉🏽 Kassandra’s mission is to help people from ALL walks of life go from broke to woke. Kassandra shares about Money, Midlife and Maelstroms.
#5. Don’t Think About it Too Much
CEO & Co-founder of elMejorTrato.com.co
The strategy that has always worked for me is making those leaps of faith that we do not dare to do. They can be smaller, like those small day-to-day situations like sending a note to a journalist to give more visibility to our company, or big actions such as starting a business or making a large purchase of supplies. In all of them, you feel insecure before executing them, and the way to overcome this is by doing them.
Do as follows. If you have an idea, before you throw it away, ask yourself if it’s worth it. Most times it does. Then, start doing. But do not beat yourself, set up an action plan in order to do a little less, but every day. Escaping, whether from debts, from your dreams, from your current situation, does not take you anywhere. Instead, doing will take you far. And it’s the only way it will improve.
👉🏽 Sophie Miles is the CEO & Co-founder of elMejorTrato.com.co, a Colombian Website specialized in the Comparison of Financial Products for individuals including Personal Loans.
Manage Your Money
Now that you’ve got your mindset right, it’s time to talk about strategies for managing your money. It’s not just about how much you spend or not spending at all, it’s about learning more about personal finance and taking informed action by creating a budget and tracking your finances.
- Track Your Expenses
- Learn How to Create a Budget
- Have Two Bank Accounts
- Use the Japanese Budgeting Journal
- Learn More About Personal Finance
- Don’t Listen to Broke People
#6. Track Your Expenses
My number one tip is to track your expenses. There are some apps that can help with this, but personally, I prefer to use a simple spreadsheet and just enter my expenses at the end of each day. Record the date, amount, item purchased, and budget category. It takes just a couple of minutes each day but can be extremely powerful (don’t forget to also check your credit card and bank statements at the end of the month for automated payments that you may have missed).
There are several reasons why tracking expenses is worth the effort. First, you may be surprised to see how you’re actually spending money. You’ll probably see a few budget categories where you’re spending much more than you expected, so you can immediately identify some areas where you should cut back. Second, tracking expenses cause you to question every expense. You know you’ll need to record it later, so you’ll start to ask yourself if it’s a purchase you really want or need to make. As a result, you’ll wind up spending less money. Third, tracking expenses will give you extra motivation to save and improve as you go.
👉🏽 Vital Dollar shares about how you can improve your own financial situation by saving more of what you already have, and by making more money. Here’s How to Track Your Expenses.
#7. Learn How to Create a Budget
Director of Corporate Communications, Freedom Debt Relief
Learn to create and use a simple budget – but start with your personal goals, NOT dollars, and cents. It’s hard to get finances in order and decide what to spend and what to save, otherwise. Write down your goals, which might range from taking a summer vacation to retirement at a certain age to having time to train for a marathon.
THEN, create a budget around those goals. Keep it simple: Use software (much available online for free), an app, paper, and pencil, or a spreadsheet. Make sure to have a line item for savings in the “expense” section so that you treat it as a bill. That way, you will be working toward those goals AND learning to live not only within your means but below your means. That means knowing exactly what you have to spend each month, and then spending less than that, so you have money to save toward your goals. It means deciding where your money goes, instead of being influenced by whims, advertising, habits, or peer pressure.
👉🏽 Consumer finance expert and blogger Michael Micheletti is the director of corporate communications for Freedom Debt Relief in San Mateo, California.
#8. Use a Japanese Budgeting Journal
Blogger and Recovering Spend-Thrift, The Life Spotters
To achieve your financial goals in 2019, consider utilizing the Japanese budgeting journal, the kakeibo. This traditional system, used since the early 1900s, is an approach to budgeting that combines money management and mindfulness, a sort of zen savings tracker which aims to help you achieve financial wellbeing.
Unlike many budgeting systems, the kakeibo is not so much about what you cannot spend, which can feel restrictive and tedious, but about spending well. Think of it as budgeting from a self-care perspective. It’s a pretty simple concept: Write everything down! Making a note of all your expenses, mindful consideration of what you need VS what you want, setting savings goals, and making a promise to yourself to stay on track combine to form your kakeibo.
Each month you will consider 4 questions: How much do you have available, how much do you want to save, how much are you spending and how can you improve? By regularly revisiting these questions and journalling efficiently, experts claim you can save up to a third of your annual income! Equally at home in a bullet journal or a simple spreadsheet, the kakeibo is infinitely customizable, and a system that is suitable for all.
👉🏽 The Life Spotters inspires you to live life intentionally. Kath shares how to start a Kakeibo – a Japanese budgeting journal.
#9. Have Two Bank Accounts
Ashvin Chheda, ChFC®, CLU®
President, Opes One Advisors
The number 1 tip for achieving financial and money goals is to have two bank accounts. This should be done once you have enough of a balance to ensure banking fees are avoided. A combination of one local Credit union and one big National Bank is optimal. The credit unions many times provide better deals locally for car financing, extended warranty packages, and other loans. The national banks are better for ATM access and provide more branches around the country. If not opening a second account at a credit union, consider opening the second with an online savings bank gives a good interest rate on a savings account and has FDIC protection.
Generally, you would maintain a checking account for paying bills. And a money market or online savings account for the remainder of your funds to ensure a higher interest rate return. Initially consider sweeping money from your checking bank account into either account so you won’t spend it. Commit to saving at least 10% MORE per pay-check than last year in this account. Four to five months of living expenses should be in the money markets or online savings and about one month or so in the checking accounts.
Bills would normally be paid more from the account getting the auto-deposit of paychecks, the checking account. The second account is for long-term planning, it allows you to begin healthy savings habits and leads to financial confidence.
👉🏽 For over 20 years, Ashvin Chheda has worked in financial planning. He lends his advice on finding cash to start a business after 50.
#10. Learn More About Personal Finance
Financial Blogger, Mom Money Map
Many people can probably achieve their financial goals doing what works for them. The *fastest *way to achieve your financial goals is to arm yourself with best practices and tools. Learn from the experts who have already reached the goals that you strive for. Read about their experiences, challenges, and solutions. You don’t want to waste time making the same mistakes they made. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunities they jumped on.
Even just 1 personal finance book can be life-changing. Imagine if you read 2 or more this year. When I read Rich Dad Poor Dad, I learned about real estate investments. Right after reading that book, I used the appreciated value in my home to buy a rental property. Now I earn regular rental income. It’s helped tremendously in my maternity leave with our lowered household income and increased baby costs. Now my goal every year is to add an additional income stream. I never would have thought about additional income stream options had I not read Rich Dad Poor Dad.
👉🏽 Jacqueline is the founder of Mom Money Map – a personal finance website about making and saving more money. She shares easy Money Goals and resolutions.
#11. Don’t Listen to Broke People
Founder, Principal Unbroker, and Freedom Fighter, Broke Is No Joke Enterprises
It’s easy and comfortable to take financial advice from family and friends (and we all do it), but it may not always be the best advice. No matter how much dad loves us, if he hasn’t been successful with money himself, perhaps we shouldn’t listen to him blindly It would be akin to asking your dentist how to fix a transmission. They might know, but are you willing to bet your ride on it?
Since familiarity doesn’t ensure competence, let’s be sure to find someone with knowledge, skill, and experience in the area of money.
Remember, your finances are with you for the long run so you may not get a second chance. The good news is that if you truly want to be wealthy, do whatever it takes to find a wealthy person, get them to mentor you, do exactly what they say, then you will be next. Success does leave clues!
👉🏽 Joshua Zepess is committed to pulling the person you were meant to become out of the person you have become.
Create a Financial Plan
You now know the basics of financial literacy, now it’s time to create a plan for the future. How will you pay down debt, save more and even invest? It’s not enough to have these goals in mind, you need a step by step plan for your money (yes, even if you feel like you don’t have any).
- Write Financial Goals on Paper
- Set Realistic Goals Every Month
- Make it Fun with a Coloring Chart
- Create a Plan with a Timeline
- Establish a Plan and Stay the Course
- Have Proper Health Insurance Coverage
#12. Write Financial Goals on Paper
Personal Finance Writer, Money Fit
The most common pitfall people face when pursuing money goals is failing to provide their vision with structure. A goal will always be just a dream if you don’t create a pathway to your destination. So, my tip would be to lay out your goals on paper, then brainstorm and write down three ways you can apply continual effort to achieve them.
For example, if your financial goal is to build up an emergency fund, you might commit to researching what certain emergencies cost, setting up a separate savings account and auto-transfer, and reviewing your budget to determine how much you can afford to contribute on a monthly basis. With these three supportive actions in place, your goal becomes manageable. Use this process with all your financial goals and what you can achieve with your money becomes nearly limitless.
👉🏽 Personal Finance Writer (2+ years) regularly contributing to 2 national media outlets with one-time spotlights on cosmopolitan.com, moneyish.com, & Womenwhomoney.com and more to come. Click here to begin your Money Fit Transformation: A Total Finance Makeover.
#13. Set Realistic Goals Every Month
My number one tip for helping others achieve their financial goals in 2019 is to set realistic goals on a monthly basis and work towards achieving them. Do not try to think that, for example, you need to pay off all of your existing debt by the end of April.
Instead, tackle this approach in bite-sized ways. If you have a loan payment due, put a little bit of extra money towards it instead of making a minimum monthly payment. Focus on doing a little bit each month. It also helps to tell a few, select, trusted individuals about your financial goals for the year. They can help keep you accountable for what you’re working on and encourage you not to give up!
👉🏽 Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation is the online leader in business formations, trademarks and copyrights, registered agent services and more. Learn about Debt to Income Ratio and How to Manage It.
#14. Make it Fun with a Coloring Chart
Founder, Debt Free Charts
You’ve got a dream of getting out of debt and finally getting your finances in order, so you set a goal to reach. At first, the goal is inspiring, but it doesn’t take long to lose steam. It feels too big, and you aren’t sure you have what it takes to get there. You are so focused on how far you have to go, that you don’t appreciate how far you’ve come already.
But making a tracking chart to fill in as you go lets you see your progress, and turns the goal into a game.
Every time you color in a line or a box you’ll feel inspired and more motivated. When you see how far you’ve come, you’ll feel like you are winning the game. You’ll feel a rush of excitement with every step. And when you fill your chart all the way in you’ll feel like you can accomplish anything.
When you feel inspired, motivated, excited and powerful, not only do you reach your goals, but you reach them faster because you’re having fun!
👉🏽Debt Free Charts is committed to sharing motivational financial trackers to help you get out of debt. Here are 6 Ways to Make Paying Off Debt Fun!.
#15. Create A Plan with a Timeline
Peter J. Creedon CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®
Certified Financial Planner
As a Certified Financial Planner, a starting point of any client engagement is to help define, clarify and prioritize goals and objectives including a timeline.
The need to develop a realistic financial plan based on the client’s goals and objectives is a key to success. Providing the motivation and ongoing support (monitoring) are all critical to achieving the objectives. If you can visualize the end result and keep focused on the objective, you stand a good chance at achieving or surpassing the goal.
Develop a good comprehensive plan and work the plan.
👉🏽 Crystal Brook Advisors is s Registered Investment Advisor in the State of New York. Click here to get financial guidance tailored to you and your story.
#16. Establish a Plan and Stay the Course
Aviva S. Pinto, CDFA™
Director, Wealth Advisory, Bronfman Rothschild
The stock market just reached its 10th year anniversary of a bull market. No one knows when it will end.
Creating and sticking to a financial plan – a road map of where you are and want to be financially – will keep you from making knee jerk moves in response to market declines that you may later regret. The establishment of a financial plan will help you see the big picture, set both short-term and long-term goals for your investments and keep you focused on meeting those goals no matter the market volatility.
Your plan should lay out your goals, your needs, your wants, your current balance sheet, your investments, all of your assets. It will show how your assets are currently allocated (categorized) and whether the current asset allocation will allow you to meet your goals.
Working with a wealth advisor, investors can put together an investment strategy that looks at the correct asset allocation for your specific circumstances and goals. Your plan should take into consideration your liquidity needs, risk tolerance, tax implications, and the concentration of stock. and your time horizon. Staying focused on your goals will help during periods of financial turmoil.
👉🏽 Aviva Pinto has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. At Bronfman Rothschild, a registered investment advisor, she helps guide her clients to a more confident financial future. Learn the 5 Myths about Financial Planning.
#17. Have Proper Health Insurance Coverage
Executive vice president and chief marketing officer, HealthMarkets
High medical bills are the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in the United States. Planning ahead to ensure you have the proper insurance coverage is one way to help alleviate high medical costs, and it is important to work with an unbiased, licensed health insurance agent to explore all insurance options. Likewise, take time to review all your health insurance needs to ensure you have the protection you, your family, your business and/or your employees need.
👉🏽 Michael Stahl, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for HealthMarkets one of the largest independent health insurance agencies in the US that distribute health, Medicare, life and supplemental insurance products from more than 200 insurance companies. Michael shares about Health Market’s #OurCare campaign, How Do We Get to Stabilization?
Spend Your Money More Wisely
Now that you know how to set financial goals, it’s time to achieve them and it all starts by making better money decisions. Let’s talk about how to start spending less and cutting expenses so you can reach your financial goals. The following strategies will help you break the cycle and take strides towards better spending habits.
- Use a One Week Delay Strategy
- Be Content to Live with Less
- Cut Away Inessentials
- Manage Your Home Properly
- Spend Below Your Means
- Spark Joy With Your Finances
- Be Generous and Donate
#18. Use a One Week Delay Strategy
Founder, The Wallet Moth
My number one tip to help people achieve their financial goals is to use what I like to call the ‘one week delay’ strategy. This is where you make a deal with yourself that if you want to buy something, you wait one week before allowing yourself to buy it. 9 times out of 10, you’ll find that you don’t really want that impulse buy and you’ll save money on a needless purchase – and for those things that you still want or need after one week are clearly of real value to you. It’s a simple tip, but with it, you’re sub-consciously moving towards a more frugal habit that brings awareness into your spending, which is invaluable for the long-term.
👉🏽 Yaz Purnell is a freelance writer and founder of The Wallet Moth, a personal finance website that shares practical, sustainable lifestyle changes to help people get a better handle on their finances and create their dream life. Read her best tips on how to be frugal.
#19. Be Content to Live with Less
Money Wise Steward
Reaching your financial goals in 2019 can be accomplished by being content living on less. We all would like to have the best of everything but with financial goals in place, it’s not always possible.
One of our financial goals was to live on one income so I could stay home with the kids. As a family of five, we had to cut back on several luxuries. To cut back, we had to downsize our house (that we custom built), sell our second car, and sell our quad. We had to make a budget and stick to it. Also, we had $35,000 in credit card debt we were paying off during that time. We had to learn to save money everywhere we could. I even learned to use coupons.
We are on the other side of that goal now so I know its completely possible. It was really hard but we pushed through by making a commitment and keeping our eyes on the goal. Now we have other financial goals in a place like our retirement. We know we can accomplish that goal by being content with what we have. It’s important to stop looking at other peoples situation. The truth is, you never know other peoples financial situations by the way they are living. They could be in financial debt themselves.
👉🏽 Apryl has been married for 16 years and is a mother to 3 children. She’s been living on one income for the past 10 years. When she’s not homeschooling her children, she is blogging about ways to save money on her blog Money Wise Steward. She shares Living on One Income: How Our Family Thrives.
#20. Cut Away The Inessentials
Patrick King CFP®
Founder, Transformative Financial
If you’re serious about achieving your money goals, it’s time to get real about cutting away everything that isn’t important. The Latin root of the word “decide” means “to cut away”, so make a decision about all those bullshit goals that aren’t going to matter when you’re on your deathbed, staring at the hospital ceiling tiles. Sounds harsh, but it’s the truth. Also, weight loss is hard and Santa ain’t real.
Tons of money can’t plug a hole in your heart. So figure out what brings you happiness, freedom, and purpose and jettison all those hollow Instagram ideas of the American Dream. Strip it down to the frame, the engine, and the wheels if you want it to go fast.
This is both harder and simpler than it sounds. Your friends will conspire to keep you small. Your family probably won’t understand at first. You will have lots of uncomfortable conversations. But imagine how fast and far you can go without all that unneeded burden.
Now, it’s time to stop reading about it and start living it. Put down the article. Be brave. Get to work. Today.
👉🏽 Transformative Financial shares smart financial advice for real people. Patrick shares The Best Investment – 5 Ways To Invest In Yourself.
#21. Manage Your Home Properly
Your home is your largest financial asset and biggest ongoing expense, so it is time to get serious about managing it. Be diligent on an ongoing basis in financially managing, maintaining, improving and protecting it. Track the value of your home and neighborhood along with the balance of your mortgage to constantly asses your home equity.
Make sure to have a monthly and annual budget of not only your mortgage, but all the other things including home insurance costs, property taxes, utility bills, pest control, and other ongoing services. Make sure to annually budget between 1 and 4% of the purchase price of your home for preventative maintenance and small repair tasks.
Track all your budgets, costs and documents for any home remodel projects and make sure to take a home inventory to make sure you are properly insured and prepared if disaster strikes. And ultimately, keep great digital records of your first home because odds are you will eventually sell it, so having all these photos and documents will help you maximize the value in the future. All of this saves you money and improves the value of your home.
👉🏽 HomeZada is an all-in-one suite of apps to manage your home.
#22. Spend Below Your Means
Founder, Listing Door
My number one tip to achieve any type of financial goal is spending below your means. No, you don’t need that purse or those shoes. After sorting through all my “stuff” for my big move to a new home, I always think now “Do I need it to live or survive?” or “Is it necessary in my everyday life?” or “What benefit will this bring me?” (besides feeling pretty). Anytime I go somewhere and want to take something home such as souvenirs, I think to myself “Will this simply take up space or does it have a function”. Using your mind and reasoning is the greatest strategy you can use to SAVE every day because it keeps you in check, keeping you from spending.
Spending below your means also means setting a budget and sticking to that budget. You probably can spend more, but you will also probably go broke doing it. Save the money that you will probably use for that purse and put it in your savings. Sure, $30 for Nike shoes is a deal, but do you need them? Even if it is a deal saving the $30 will go a long way. Every penny, and dollar counts. For perspective, do you think the cash back after the 1% from using your credit card is a lot? That’s because every penny added up.
👉🏽 Listing Door makes selling your own home easier than ever. Sissy shares The Real Cost of Selling Your Home.
#23. Spark Joy With Your Finances
Personal Finance Blogger, Keeping Up With the Changs
Marie Kondo became an overnight sensation when her Netflix show introduced the world to her KonMari method of decluttering. Essentially, her message was that you only have a limited amount of time and energy, so why waste it on anything that doesn’t spark joy for you? With respect to clutter, buying things that don’t really make you super happy tends to result in frustration, because you’ll eventually feel like the burden of taking care of the item outweighs the joy.
Your finances are no different. You only have a limited amount of it, so whenever you spend it, it’s vital to ask yourself: what is this purchase doing for my life and could I be doing something with the money that would actually make me happier?
Spending on something other than your goals or things that bring you joy leaves you unhappy because you’re eventually left with the sinking realization that you would’ve been better off saving the money or paying down your debt.
If you want to see a positive change with your spending, get in the habit of asking yourself: will buying this thing spark joy for me?
👉🏽 Keeping Up With the Changes shares ways to build wealth at any pace.
#24. Be Generous and Donate
Education Manager, Money Fit by DRS
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, generosity first can actually help you reach your own financial goals. Logically, you should do better with 100% of your money than you would with, say, 90% if you give away 10% off the top. However, when it comes to money, humans are not logical beings. Money decisions can be very emotionally driven.
In this case, generosity means finding a cause, a church or a nonprofit to donate to. Giving to family members would fall under responsibility, not generosity. Giving away some of your money before taking care of anything else helps you better differentiate between your own wants and needs. If you are donating to a homeless shelter each month, you become much more aware of the unmet needs of others (shelter, in this case). Consequently, when you spend your own money (the 90% remaining), you will tend to use it for the most important items in your life.
This is not to say you will not enjoy anything frivolous in your live, but you will be more aware of what is most important to you.
👉🏽 As an Accredited Financial Counselor®, and having been a community financial educator since 2004, Todd has led nearly 2,000 workshops and counseling sessions on various personal finance topics. He shares how to simplify your financial life.
Pay Down Your Debt
Ready to deal with your debt? To finally pay off your student loans? Not sure if you should pay your debt faster or save more money? Here are some simple strategies for debt repayment to help you achieve your financial goals.
#25. Evaluate Your Credit Card Debt
Millennial Money Expert, LendingClub
Spending money has become way too easy. With low credit card payment minimums, it’s easy to rack up debt without even thinking about it. And we’ve all been there, our expenses have outgrown our incomes, causing some to fall into debt. To get on a path to financial health, evaluate your current credit card debt and make a plan to pay it off TODAY.
One option you can take if consolidating your credit card into a personal loan. At LendingClub we’ve seen customers save about $300 a month on average by consolidating their credit card debt and that is money that can go towards an emergency fund or into a savings account – since you’re already spending the money, take those savings and invest in yourself and your future.
👉🏽 LendingClub offers the borrowing and investing solution right for you, including personal loans, auto refinancing loans, business loans, and medical financing. Here’s How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck and Save Money.
#26. Pay Off Your Debt Fast
Small Business Owner + Blogger, Young Retiree
The important strategy that I would recommend to your readers is paying off debt quickly. Paying off any debt with accumulating interest is a guaranteed return on investment. My wife and I put this into practice by paying off $42,000 in student debt in 2 years, straight out of college. I wrote a blog post explaining the exact strategies that make this possible for almost anyone.
👉🏽 Jordan is a 24-year-old small business owner and blogger, with a blog called Young Retiree. It’s aimed at Millennials and recent college graduates, sharing advice on finances, saving, internet marketing, and business ownership. Here are The Best Ways to Pay Off Debt Fast.
#27. Get Help With Your Debt
If your debts are mounting, don’t be tempted to take out extra credit to cover them – it may seem like a quick solution but it is a bad idea. Instead, understand what goes in and out of your account and set yourself a budget, which will allow you to work out where savings can be made. Then speak to your creditors, explain your situation and let them know how much you can afford. Some may offer you a 30 day grace period, which will give you time to get advice.
Approaching a free advice organization like PayPlan is often the best way forward at this point but even talking to friends and family is a start. The stigma around debt isn’t as bad as it once was but many still feel embarrassed to admit they’re struggling. Don’t bury your head in the sand, and remember you don’t need to deal with debt alone.
👉🏽Rachel is the CEO of PayPlan, a free debt advice provider PayPlan that has helped over 1 million people take control of their finances. Here’s How to get out of debt and spring clean your finances.
Save More Money + Invest More
Ready to save more money so you can enjoy life or perhaps buy a house? You can achieve these major financial milestones if you know how to save your money and make the most of investment. You have to know what you’re doing with your money to actually save it. Here are the best tips for achieving savings financial goals.
#28. Automate Your Savings
Detail out your budget so you can see exactly how much you can afford to save each week or each month. Then, sign up for a service like Betterment which allows you to link your financial accounts including bank accounts, as well as loans and liabilities, so you can calculate your net worth in real time, and track your saving progress over time. You can set goals and alerts, and also take advantage of financial offers like credit cards that are tailored to your finances. You can set an auto deposit from your bank account to your Betterment account so you never have to think about saving again.
Betterment has a tool called Smart Saver that you can link to your checking account, and they use AI to determine how much money they can withdraw and automatically invest for you periodically. Alternatively, you can also set up a weekly or monthly fixed auto deposit amount. Betterment will also use their proprietary investing algorithm to put your money to use investing in stocks, bonds, and other securities automatically if you so choose.
This “robo advisor” as it’s known will rebalance your portfolio automatically and makes sophisticated investing accessible even for people with little financial experience. Once you realize how easy it is to effectively invest your money without needing to sit down with a financial advisor, you’ll also be more inclined to spend less money on frivolous pursuits, when you know it could be put to work for you in mere minutes. (Note: I am not affiliated with Betterment or Mint in any way).
You can also set up a savings account with your bank, and set a free money transfer from your checking account each week to your savings account, which earns a higher interest rate.
👉🏽 Logan Abbott is the president of Wirefly.com, a tech company and online comparison engine that helps people save money on the most important monthly services.
#29. Tell Your Money Where to Go
Ben Watson, CPA
Virtual CFO, DollarSprout
Most wealth isn’t lost in bad investments or scams, it’s lost in everyday spending habits. The ability to create a spending plan or budget before actually receiving the money earned is the tried and true way of achieving financial goals no matter what they are.
There are plenty of free templates or applications to use when building a budget, but the key difference between success and failure is the ability to plan your spending rather than simply track it. Tracking spending is great for knowing where to correct things in the past, but proactively determining where each dollar is going before it’s even received not only gives peace of mind, but also determination and motivation to see the goals established come to light. Often the timeline to reaching those goals become shortened because each monthly spending plan changes as the motivation to win increases.
👉🏽 Ben Watson is the Virtual CFO at DollarSprout.com, a personal finance and entrepreneurial website. He is also a CPA and personal financial coach. He shares about The Real Life After College.
#30. Build in Predictability
Energy Analyst, Energy Rates
Predictability is becoming a quite overlooked financial tip. In order to maximize savings or to increase profits from investments, people often invest too much time and money in risky plans. Although taking risks can be very profitable, it’s important to always have a share of predictability in your financial life. Your budget needs to be not only as low as possible but also as predictable as possible. Once you apply cost certainty to your budget, you can start creating more long-term goals as you will know that you will be able to afford your projects.
Another useful financial tip is to have in mind that it’s never too early to think about retirement. Even if you don’t want to invest in a pension plan or something, for now, you can think of how your current investments will be part of your retirement years. For example, at what age do you want to start reducing your workload? What do you plan to do once you retire?
👉🏽 Matthias Alleckna is an energy analyst at EnergyRates.ca, a price comparison website that helps consumers find low-cost rates for electricity and gas. Matthias shares Surprising Ways You’re Losing Money on Energy Bills.
#31. Have an Emergency Fund
CEO, Sum 180
The #1 tip for achieving financial wellbeing is: have an emergency fund. The lack of a financial safety net is an incredibly precarious and stressful situation to be in. Not having the funds to address emergencies-job layoff, medical event, auto accident-can trigger debt that gradually spirals out of control. No matter how small or large your income, you must have an emergency fund.
No matter your financial standing, find a way to:
- increase monthly savings
- deposit as much of that savings as possible into an easily accessible savings account until you’ve accumulated enough to
- cover about six months’ worth of expenses
- build up another 18-24 months of financial cushion to weather more serious emergencies.
One way to identify ways to save is by taking a No Spend Month. Eliminate all non-essential spending for a month. The simple act of sorting your expenses into wants vs. needs for one month can be eye-opening and liberating. You’ll find it easier to sacrifice luxuries like expensive dinners or a vacation when you understand what you stand to gain: security and peace of mind.
👉🏽 Carla Dearing, CEO of Sum180, a mobile financial wellness service. Sum180 is an online financial wellness service, made for everyone, that starts where they are and gives them personalized next steps to help them improve their finances and live better, now and in the future. Carla sparks discussion with Let’s Talk Money.
Make More Money
Saving your money, creating a budget and paying down debt isn’t enough. To achieve your financial goals you need to make more money. Whether that’s starting a side-hustle, making money at home or even starting your own profitable business, think of ways to gain extra income. And not just more money or another job, but passive income is best. That’s how you truly achieve financial freedom.
- Find Ways to Increase Your Income
- Start Your Own Business
- Create New Ways to Make Money
- Get a Side Hustle You Enjoy
- Build Passive Income Streams
- Post Your Skills Online
#32. Find Ways to Increase Your Income
Founder, Millionaire Mob
It all starts with income. Focus on increasing your income first by excelling at your current day job, which can result in a promotion and raise. Then, focus on side hustles outside of work that deploy your favorite skills. Imagine if you make an additional $100 per day. That’s $36,500 of additional income that can be used to pay off debt, save for a house, invest and so much more. I believe an income-oriented approach is prudent. Once you’ve achieved that, find ways to decrease your expenses. The benefits will be exponential.
👉🏽Millionaire Mob is a retire early blog focused on investing, travel hacking and side hustles. Kyle shares 5 Proven Ways to Make Money Doing Nothing.
#33. Start Your Own Business
Founder, Brazen Living
It’s great if you can spend what you earn prudently and save most of what you earn. In fact, this is the first lesson everyone should learn from the moment they know how to count money. Because no matter how much you earn, if there is a hole through which you keep losing your earnings, your earning potential means nothing.
But it’s 2019. Saving alone is not enough. If you don’t have a side gig to complement your full-time job, you’re missing out. You have to find a way to make more money not because you want to live a lavish lifestyle. But because you’ll never know what can happen: with the economy, your current job, your ability to work.
There are just too many risks in relying on a single source of income. Owning a business or diversifying into several streams of income can help cushion the pain if something were to happen to one of your income streams. If you haven’t thought about starting your own business, now is the time to do it. Start looking at what you are naturally talented at and what you enjoy doing during your free time. That’s where the money is.
👉🏽 Brazen Living helps you take small steps towards a bigger, better and bolder life. Rosemary shares Top 18 Lesson on Money and Wealth Creation.
#34. Create Ways to Make Extra Money
CPA and Owner, Money Done Right
Saving money, while important, can only take you so far because, after a certain point, you can’t save anymore! Eventually, to get to where you want to be in life, you need to focus on increasing your income.
So that’s why my #1 money tip for 2019 is to not only find a side hustle but to find a side hustle that suits you — and stick with it. It’s important to find a side hustle that suits you because side hustling success is all about consistency. And it’s a lot easier to stick with something when it comes naturally to you than when you’re forcing it.
If you like dogs and hate cars, it would be better for you to make an extra $200 per month walking people’s dogs on Rover and sticking with it for five years because you love it then it would be for you to make an extra $300 per month as an Uber driver for the next two months and then giving up because you hate it.
And as a bonus, that side hustle idea you love might eventually become your full-time business. You never know!
If you’re having trouble thinking of a side hustle idea that suits you, consider checking out my monster list of ways to make extra money. With over 100 ideas on this list, you’re bound to come across something that suits you. Now go get hustling!
👉🏽 Logan Allec is a CPA who has recently been quoted as a finance expert in publications such as USA Today, NBC News and U.S. News & World Report.
#35. Get a Side Hustle You Enjoy
Creator and Author, I Like to Dabble
My favorite strategy that will help you achieve your financial goals in 2019 is by getting a side hustle. And it has to be a side hustle you enjoy. You don’t want to deteriorate your life experience just to work towards your financial goals.
Side hustles really are the best money hack to propel you towards a future of financial freedom. I side hustle by making money from my blog and helping my wife with her eBay guitar flipping side hustle. All of our (my wife and I) side hustle money goes either right back into our side businesses or into investments and savings (and then maybe towards a fun trip here and there 😊). This way, we are on track to both growing our side business and saving more money towards financial freedom.
Investing money from your side hustles is key when working towards financial freedom because you are adding more money to compound and grow on top of what you already invest and save from your full-time income.
👉🏽 I Like to Dabble helps you side hustle your way to financial freedom. Daniella shares 35 Side Hustle Ideas.
#36. Build Passive Income Streams
Founder, Dime Will Tell
There are only so many hours in a day that we can work. By building other streams of income that are passive alongside our job, we can increase how much money we can make overtime without having to work much more. There are many ways to create passive income for yourself; from investing money to starting a business that is passive in nature.
The best thing about passive income is that it works for you, even when you are sleeping, to make you money. Plus, in the face of job loss, if you build up some passive streams of income, you will have other streams of income to fall back on to prevent financial catastrophe.
👉🏽 Dime Will Tell offers all the different ways of both saving and making money. Dustyn teaches you how to create passive income.
#37. Post Your Skills Online
Blogger, Fiscal Nerd
Rather than simply focusing on cutting back, especially in regard to things you enjoy, there are so many ways to make more money in this online world where you have access to billions of potential customers on the internet. Try spending 1 hour a week on a small side hustle such as posting your skills or work on Upwork, Fiver, or even Etsy, and see what type of money tapping into existing online audiences can bring into your life.
👉🏽 Stacy invests in websites and helps businesses grow. Connect with her on Twitter.
Achieve Your Financial Goals
Are you excited to set and achieve your financial goals? To finally deal with your financial situation by facing the pile of bills, your credit card debt, or even making a phone call to get help.
You can have financial health and balance in your life, but only if you get started. Don’t wait for a day when you make more money to start taking your finances seriously. You have to value each and every dollar you have (or owe).
Get Your Simple Budget Spreadsheet
Ready to set financial goals and achieve them? To put these financial tips and strategies into practice? Get the Simple Budget Spreadsheet, compatible with Google Docs and Microsoft Excel, and start by making your budget. Use it to track your monthly income and expenses.
Whether you’re interested in spending less, saving more, paying down debt, or finding ways to make more money, create a plan and stick to it. Achieving financial goals, like any type of goal, is all about being consistent and committed.
It won’t happen overnight, but if you continue to make small changes starting right now, you will eventually achieve your financial goals. Make better choices $1, $2, or $5 at a time and you’ll be able to reap greater opportunities in $100, $1000, or greater.
Don’t just sit there, start implementing these amazing strategies for financial success.
Trust me, having your finances in order feels so good. Paying off your debt and making more money feels even better!
Tired of being broke? Wishing for financial freedom? Click here for 37 ways to achieve your financial goes of making more money, paying down debt, and more. #FinancialLiteracyMonth #Money #Finances
How will you achieve your financial goals?
Last Updated on December 11, 2021
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