What matters most to you?
It can be a surprisingly difficult question to answer. We’re taught to make a lot of decisions based on other people’s needs and expectations — our families, our peers, and even our bosses.
When you step back and think about what really matters to you, you start to get a different perspective on life. For example, you might find the goals you thought you had to achieve don’t matter, while at the same time, your true passions take on a clearer focus.
One of the best ways to save money is to focus on things that are truly vital to your vision for your life. So let’s take a look at some common goals and how to save for them.
Buying a Home
Owning your own home is an important part of the American dream, but with housing costs high and wages low, it can seem out of reach. Fortunately, there are steps you can take. You just have to be creative.
First, take a moment to think about what you really want in a home. Then, visualize yourself getting there, enjoying it, and being able to afford it easily. That vision will help you decide what’s important in a property and what features you can do without.
Then, think about how you can save money. For example, can you live with family or have a roommate in your apartment while you save up? What about a side hustle to earn extra income?
Finally, take advantage of downpayment assistance and first-time homebuyers programs. Being able to buy a house without saving the full 20% makes the process much more accessible.
Having a Dream Wedding
Many people dream of their wedding day from the time they are small children. However, creating that magical experience can be a challenge.
Once again, visualization is powerful. Not only can imagining your perfect wedding help you stay motivated, but it can also show you what services you should splurge on and where you can cut back.
As you save for your big day, create a clear wedding budget. This will give you a chance to understand what everything will cost and make decisions to help you save money. Make sure you spend on what truly matters and skip what doesn’t.
Taking a Dream Vacation
Where do you imagine yourself going on vacation? Some people love the beach, while others want to get a cabin in the woods. Maybe you’re interested in mountain hiking, or you’d enjoy an adventure in Alaska.
No matter what your dream vacation looks like, it’s a worthy financial goal. We all need to relax and get away from the daily grind of work, chores, and daily needs.
Of course, you’ll need to take steps to save money for your vacation. First, decide what your budget needs to be. Include travel to get to your destination, hotel, and money for food and activities. Then, as you start setting cash aside for your goal, look for ways to save money on your adventure.
Sometimes you can find a package deal through an adventure company, or if you shop around, you can find a better deal on your mountain cabin. Some resorts are all-inclusive, which helps you budget more effectively.
Once you’ve reached your savings goal, it’s time to pack. Don’t forget to truly unplug!
Prepare for Financial Difficulties
It’s hard to get excited about saving money for life’s setbacks, but it’s still essential. You never know when the car will break down, you’ll find yourself between jobs, or you’ll have an unexpected medical expense.
For this goal, visualize how nice it will feel to have a fallback when something goes wrong. Imagine not having to worry about an unexpected difficulty. This can help you stay motivated as you move forward.
Decide how much you want your financial cushion to be. Many people recommend $1,000 to start, but if you can eventually get to a month or even several months of expenses in the bank, that would be best.
To save this money, consider having an automatic deduction from your pay into a bank account you don’t have daily access to. That way, you won’t be tempted to skip saving or use the money for something else. However, when that cash is needed, you can easily get it.
Saving Money Doesn’t Have to Be a Drag
Saving money because you’re “supposed to” can be a real drain. However, it can be exciting when you take the time to visualize your goals and make sure you’re saving for things that really matter to you.
You don’t have to make huge life changes to save money. Small things, like automating savings or making a cook-at-home meal plan, can add up to significant cash.
Don’t wait to make your dreams a reality. Start taking steps toward what you truly want today!