Saying that you want to save more money isn’t enough. (Although that would be amazing.) Coming up with a plan — even a rudimentary one — is absolutely necessary, especially if you are putting money on the financial markets.
Marshay Clarke, a licensed financial expert, says to ask yourself what exactly you saving and investing for before you put money away to save. “Goal-based wealth management is necessary for maximizing how effectively you manage your money and investments, including knowing when you can afford to spend more than you might think today.”
Planning for the future doesn’t have to be a worst-case scenario exercise; you should also think about how to realistically work toward milestones you’re excited for.
Maybe that’s buying your mom a birthday present in two weeks, going on a vacation in six months, or becoming a homeowner in a year. “Write them down in your journal,” Clarke urges. “It’s never too early to start thinking about the important events in your life, and you don’t need to wait until you have a partner to do so. By writing down what you need to save for, you’re more likely to take them seriously.”
“Sometimes, the simplest changes you make can go the farthest,” Clarke says. At the start of the year, try packing your own lunch at least three times a week to see how much you save. Keep that extra cash in a savings jar at home and directing it elsewhere.
Track Your Expenses
You won’t get a handle on how much you can save until you understand how much money you spend. Get in the habit of keeping track of all your expenses, especially small ones like coffee, snacks or drinks, Clarke advises. “These small expenses add up, and being cognizant of them will help you avoid unnecessary purchases.”
If you aren’t a fan of going through your statements each month, enlist the help of a savings app that will do it for you. Many personal finance apps these days are goal-oriented, and usually ask you to synch up your bank accounts, credit cards, retirements savings accounts to see what you are saving and spending.
Clarke defines short-term investment goals as those that clients generally want to reach within five years. Saving some money is better than saving nothing of course, but if you want to go bigger in that five-year timeline, you will need to look beyond a standard savings accounts.