Inside: Feel stuck in the rat race of paycheck to paycheck living? Try these 7 money goals to finally get ahead in life and reach your biggest dreams.
The mailbox is full of bills, a kid just had a trip to urgent care that you’ll be paying for soon, and the car is in need of a repair. Now you are just hoping that there’s enough food in the pantry to get you through to the next paycheck.
But you know that you’re just going to find yourself running out of money again next time.
So what can you do to get ahead, when you feel like every day you’re just falling further and further behind?
Let’s talk about some money goals that you can set for yourself to make this mess a little neater. Don’t be discouraged! These are goals that people in nearly any financial situation can take use.
Here are 7 Money Goals to Get Ahead in Life.
What is it? A financial fast is a period of time where you try not to do any unnecessary spending at all.
You choose the rules that match your situation the best.
- Clearly you’ll still need to pay the bills. If there are bills you struggle to pay, make a point to call. Set up a payment plan or ask about forgiveness if you are in a financial bind.
- What about food? Do you already have food hidden in the pantry and freezer that could be used for a period of time (with just a bit of creativity)?
- How long is the right period to challenge you a bit, but not discourage you?
If you have full cabinets, you might try a month. If that sounds too daunting, go for a week. Or even just a couple of days.
At the end of that time, take a break and evaluate how it went.
- Did you learn that you can totally get by without spending? -or-
- Did you feel panicked and ended up binge spending instead?
If it’s that last one, this probably isn’t the method for you. And that’s ok! There are other options for you.
The main point of the financial fast is not to postpone spending until the magical date you allow yourself to spend again. There’s no point in buying the DVD player on the 26th instead of the 12th. Instead, the financial fast should teach you that you can probably do without the DVD player.
[Tweet “Tired of living paycheck to paycheck? Here’s how to pull yourself up. #money”]
Put “Found Money” to Work
We all have random bits of “found money” that we receive from time to time. Anything from finding a $5 bill on a sidewalk to receiving a refund check to change from the bottom of your purse.
What do you do with your found money? Many times we give ourselves a little splurge with this cash or just fold it into our checking account (where it winds up being spent on heaven only knows what).
But if you are intentional about this money and have already made a decision about where it will go, those pennies can add up to something great.
To start with, have a designated place to store your found money. It can be a mason jar, a piggy bank, or a dedicated bank account you open for just that type of stash. Just don’t fold it into your wallet with your regular spending money.
[Tweet “Want to stop living paycheck to paycheck? #financialgoals”]
Now decide how you will put that money to work! What do you hope to accomplish right now? Some options include:
- create a sinking fund
- pay off debt (which you should always make a priority!)
- save up for a Christmas/birthday account
- save up for a vacation
- create a rainy day fund
- save until you have enough to invest
- use it to leave random acts of kindness around you
- begin to fund your biggest hopes and dreams
While most people can do better with their budget, it doesn’t hurt to increase the size of the pie you are cutting from.
Everyone should have more than one source of income. You might feel like you have a stable job, but people have been surprised by a totally unexpected lay off.
Getting more money doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to be a lot. You can earn small amounts from various sources. Every bit helps!
There’s a variety of side hustles out there. You can do everything from getting a part time job to babysitting (regularly or just occasionally). The internet offers so many different ways to earn money.
- general transcription (Unlike medical transcription, general transcription does not require any type of special schooling.)
- Swagbucks (I’ve talked about this one many times, but it’s such an easy way to earn Amazon money that I use it regularly and think you should, too!)
- Check out this post for a list of ideas to bring in extra cash.
Unfix Your Fixed Bills
We all have bills that we just automatically pay every month without thinking much about them. But many times those bills could be lowered with a few phone calls.
It literally pays to shop around once every couple of years on big bills such as:
- insurance (car, home, life)
- utility bills (look for another electric suppliers or trash services)
- phones (cell phones or landlines)
Even if you don’t want to switch companies, knowing the savings another company would give you is sometimes enough to make your current company bargain with you.
Read Spring Cleaning Your Finances to learn more.
If your dryer goes on the fritz, you can purchase a new one, hire a handyman, or learn how to fix it yourself. With a wealth of knowledge available on YouTube, it’s a great idea to try your hand at fixing the problem on your own.
If it works, you’ll have learned something new, feel great about yourself, and you can pocket the money you would have otherwise spent.
If it doesn’t work, that’s ok. You’ll still spend the same money with the repair guy.
Always Have Two Money Goals
When with a money goal that feels tedious, it’s hard to stay focused on seeing the goal through to the end. But having a second (more fun) goal can be just what you need to stay on track.
For example, let’s say that your tedious goal is to pay off debt. With the average credit card debt around $10,000 (source), it’ll take a while to get that paid off. Knowing that you can take a fun vacation once your debt is paid off will keep you going.
[Tweet “Setting two #money goals at once can help you better accomplish both of them.”]
The B Word
You probably don’t like it, but this list wouldn’t be complete without using the word “budget”. If you can’t handle the thought of telling every single dollar what to do, make a mini budget.
What part of your budget would you like to get under control? Do you eat out more than you’d like? Keep track of how much you spend on dining out all week. Then next week, challenge yourself to save some of that money. Pick an amount that seems doable, but stretches you just enough to keep yourself interested.
If you tend to use your debit card for most of your spending, I recommend Mint.com. It automatically categorizes your spending so you can see where your money is going at a glance. It takes little effort on your part to set up, but the info is worth it.
If you’re more the spreadsheet type, here’s a free copy of my budget!
Even if you only choose a couple of money goals from this list, you can slowly begin to improve your situation. Small change can become big change over time if you have a great attitude and the drive to succeed!
Check out the free 30 Day Money Challenge. I’ve designed this to help you find $500 to put into an emergency fund or sinking fund.
What money goals do you set for yourself?