Saving large amounts of money can be a challenge. The good news is you can chip away at saving to reach your financial goals. If you’re looking  to put away major cash to get out of debt, save for emergency fund or a big purchase, it’s critical to create a clear savings goal. Here are some tips to set money aside to achieve your goal:

1. Get clear and break it down

First, choose the dollar amount that you’re looking to save. Then select a realistic timeframe to achieve this  goal and decide how much you can sock away each month. If the monthly amount still sounds too large, break it down into smaller amounts.

You can do this by either extending the deadline to give yourself more time to save or convert the monthly amount into weekly amounts. If the weekly amount seems attainable, start putting that amount away weekly in a savings account. You can watch how this amount will add up over time.

It also makes the big goal feel more manageable when broken into smaller chunks. It’s like a series of short term goals that are a lot easier to achieve. Taking this week by week approach can bring you that much closer to achieving your big  goal without compromising your lifestyle or cutting into your regular budget.

2. Make more money, honey

Making extra money always helps. Having a clear goal of how much you need to make can get the wheels turning and start sparking ideas of how you can earn more money to achieve your financial goals faster. If you get a new client, offer an additional service or take on a side hustle, having that boost in pay go directly towards your savings goal will catapult your saving ahead. As soon as the money hits your account, be sure to set it aside — or better yet have this money go straight to another account so you don’t see it.

If you set up an online account with Ally Bank or Capital One 360, you can make separate savings accounts just for that specific goal. You can automatically have that money sent to the account when you receive your paycheck. If you have to withdraw funds from Paypal, be sure to add the savings account on as well. This way you can funnel the money directly to that account when the money comes in. It eliminates an extra step and doesn’t allow the funds to languish in your checking account. This guards against possibly spending it on something else unknowingly.

3. Squirrel away a cushion or at least some padding

If your incomes varies from month to month, it can be hard to commit to a set amount to put away on a regular basis. Consider keeping extra money in your checking account so you don’t come up short when bills are due. You can still fund your goals without skipping a beat, too. For instance, you’ll still be able to cover your heating bill when it starts to spike a bit, when the weather getting colder or if a client leaves. If you want to build your cushion up enough, consider automating your savings goals. You won’t have to remember to transfer the amount each week, which makes things easier. And most things are easier when they’re on autopilot. Hands down.

The Bottom Line

A little effort and strategic planning can help you reach your financial goals when it comes to saving. You might be surprised to see how small amounts saved consistently can snowball into big amount over time. It can even motivate you to do this again in the future. Follow the tips above and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your savings goal before you know it.

Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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