Updated: Jan 1
Everything in life is easier to follow with clear goals. I recently bought a new cat tree for our cat, Pebbles. The instructions were all in Chinese and the diagrams were absolutely useless, I had to build different elements three times before it all came together, yet all I needed was some clear images and diagrams and it would have taken half the time. We need this with our money. Whether it's paying off debt, saving for a big holiday once Coronavirus has blown over, or saving for a house deposit, having a clear, defined goal can make the whole process so much easier.
Okay, so some of you may remember this from school, but hear me out... SMART goals. SMART goals are so useful because they break every little thing down and you have a clear path to success! Here's how you should write your financial goals, with my new house deposit goal as an example for you.
Your goal should be clear and specific, understand what this goal means to you!
What do I want to accomplish? - Saving £25,000
Why is this goal important to me? - It means we can buy our first home and cover legal and moving fees
Who is involved? - Myself, and my partner for support
Where is it located? - My vision board, vision trackers and Instagram community
Which resources or limits are involved? - I can only save £400pcm from my wage
Meaning you can track your progress and stay motivated!
How much do you need and how will I know it has been achieved? - I will have £25,000 saved over various high interest savings accounts.
Your goal also needs to be realistic to be successful. It should be challenging, yet possible.
How can I accomplish this goal? - Saving from my wage, utilising government saving bonuses and side hustling extra cash
How realistic is the goal? - As proved by paying off £3.5k of debt, and saving a £5k emergency fund this year (this will be completed in early Dec..), I have learned how to manage my money and focus it on my goals. I know how to save, how to choose savings accounts that work with my goal (find out more here) and how to avoid touching the money for other needs.
Does your goal matters to you? And does it align with other relevant goals you have in your life? Can you answer yes to these questions?
Does this seem worthwhile? Yes, I have dreamt of being a homeowner and having my own customizable space!
Is this the right time? Absolutely, as this goal will take me three years, there's plenty of time for planning while I save.
Does this match my other needs? As I'm at a super stable place in my life, this aligns perfectly with my 5 year plan.
Am I the right person to reach this goal? Ain't nobody else gonna give me £25k!
Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment? Coronavirus means it is easier to save with less spending opportunities such as eating or drinking out. Also now I have an Emergency Fund saved and no high-interest debt, I know I can afford to save towards this goal.
Goals need a target date so that a deadline helps us take focus on what needs to be done, preventing every-day tasks from distracting you from your goals.
When? By the end of 2023 I want to have begun the house search
What can I do six months from now? Re-evaluate saving method, savings rates, bonuses available
What can I do six weeks from now? Focus on finding profitable side hustle and maybe a part time job (click here to learn about side hustle income and your taxes)
What can I do today? Write the plan for achieving this goal (aka this post)
Now I have all these elements together, I can write a shorter, SMART goal like so:
I am going to save £25,000, to be used as part of our shared house deposit, covering legal, moving and decoration costs, as becoming a homeowner and being able to customize my own space as been a lifelong goal of mine and fits within my five year plan. This goal will take me three years to complete, and will be saved using my wage, side hustle income and government bonuses. I already have an Emergency Fund saved for so I know all additional cash can work towards this goal.
Want some other ways of staying motivated?
Vision Board in your office / bedroom / in front of the toilet.. just anywhere you're going to see it!
Sharing your progress on Instagram!