Just like tracking progress in your fitness or career journey, your finances need some milestones to follow, too. Successful long-term budgeting starts with knowing what you’re saving for and how much you should be saving monthly. That’s why it’s important to write down specific goals, so you can stay motivated along the way. And while your long-term budgeting plan might be set for 30 years, it’s easier to set short-term, attainable goals to help you get there. So, if your long-term budget means paying off your mortgage 5 years sooner, be sure to set a monthly savings goal that aligns with your big-picture plan.
Save Before You Spend
A simple tactic to stay in control of your savings is to pay yourself before you pay the bills. So now that you’ve set your goals and your monthly budget, you should have a better understanding of how much to put toward your savings fund. By using this approach, you’re more likely to stick to your plan and adjust your expenses accordingly without sacrificing your monthly savings. Make your long-term budget a priority and prove it to yourself by transferring money into your savings accounts before you move on to spending. Saving before spending can help rid the temptation to procrastinate on your financial plan.
Create a Vision Board
It can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, especially when the bigger picture doesn’t come into play for years down the road. Some say that seeing is believing, and creating a financial vision board can help with just that. Whether you’re looking to buy a house or save for retirement, it can be beneficial to put together a collection of images for display that helps you envision a future with these things. Be sure to place your financial vision board in clear sight, so your long-term budget remains top of mind every day!
Beware of Surprise Expenses
As the seasons' change, so will your budget. Some months, your long-term savings might take the back seat as short-term expenses take over. Occasions like birthdays, holidays, and emergency expenses can sneak up on you, but preparation is key. Account for these expenses as you plan your monthly budgets, and continue to prioritize your long-term goals. Small adjustments can lead to big rewards. Keep your eye on the prize and stick to your plan!
Cut the Credit Card Spending
It’s time to face the hard truth—your credit card balance. With racked-up debt, your long-term budget may feel unattainable. Manage your money wisely and only spend what you can afford on credit cards. A high balance can lead to more monthly payments, higher interest rates, and bigger fees. A good way to cut mindless spending is by setting limits on your credit card balance or switching to a debit card so you’re in control of every transaction. So before you impulse buy a new pair of shoes, consider the consequences on your long-term goals.
Track Your Progress
Now that you’ve put in the work, it’s time to review your rewards. Sit yourself down for an assessment at the end of each month to see if you’ve reached your monthly goals. If you’re not seeing an increase in your savings, it’s time to reevaluate your budget (or set stronger limitations on your spending habits). It may take a few months before you set the right rhythm when it comes to your budget, but a little tracking can go a long way!
It’s never too late to start saving for your future. All it takes is a plan and some self-discipline to get there. After all, a budget doesn’t limit your freedom, it gives you freedom! A little bit of effort can go a long way. Check out our savings account options or talk to one of our financial advisors to get started today.