The unpredictable nature of the past year has taught us that you can never
be too prepared, especially when it comes to your money – and what better
time to set a financial goal than the fresh start of a new calendar year?
When it comes to achieving a financial goal, whether it’s growing your savings, managing debt, or starting a rainy day fund, there’s no
quick fix. It takes time and diligence, which can make it more difficult to
stick to. That’s why it’s important that any resolution you make is
actionable, tangible, and trackable so you can set yourself up for success
in the New Year.
Below, we’ve listed four tips to help you get started with setting your
#1: Put pen to paper.
Once you have your resolution in mind, be sure to write it down in a
notebook or on a sticky note. Keep it somewhere visible to you, like next
to your computer monitor, on your refrigerator, or taped to your bathroom
mirror, so it’s always top of mind. The act of writing your goal down –
financial or otherwise – makes it more tangible, and seeing the words every
day can encourage you to keep working towards it if you feel like you’re
#2: Set short-term goals.
A long-term goal can be daunting, which is why it’s important to set
short-term goals and focus on the simple things you can do to reach them.
For example, if your goal is to save $1,000 by year end, don’t focus on the
final number. Instead, determine what it will take each month ($80), week
($20) and day ($2.75) to reach it, and start there. You can also approach
the goal by paycheck. If you get paid bi-weekly, know how much money you
have to put aside every other week to stay on track. You can start building
your savings with PFCU
Regular and Higher Yield Savings Accounts
Consider planning small rewards, like a latte from your favorite coffee
shop, for when you reach each short-term goal. Not only do you deserve it
for your hard work, but small rewards can help you stay motivated all year
#3: Track your progress.
A major reason most New Year’s resolutions fail by February is that people
don’t track their progress. Keep a written or digital money diary to keep
note of the headway you’re making towards your goals at regular intervals.
For some people, a spreadsheet that lists each date you need to make
payment on your debt or to a savings account works best. For others,
digital or physical calendar reminders to transfer funds to your savings
account, for example, are preferable. Figure out what works best for you,
and stick to it! When all is said and done, you’ll have a physical record
that shows how much you were able to accomplish. You can even reference
this log when it’s time to up the ante for your next set of resolutions in
#4: Check in with yourself.
Another reason we neglect our resolutions is because we get discouraged or
overwhelmed if the goal becomes too unrealistic. Sometimes this causes us
to quit altogether. Be sure to have regular check-ins with yourself to
gauge whether or not your goals are sustainable – and if they’re not, think
of ways you can adjust them so that they are. To reference the previous
example, if saving $20 a week is stretching you too thin, don’t stop saving
altogether, but adjust your goal to $10 or $15 a week for a few weeks.
You’ll still be tracking towards your goal in the end, but will have more
wiggle room in your budget. Remember – life changes day by day; your goals
Setting financial goals can seem like an overwhelming task, but ultimately you are the one that benefits when you accomplish them.
Start small, don’t be too hard on yourself, and think of how fulfilling
it’ll be at the end of 2021 when you can look back at all you’ve