I recently wrote a lesson on building a budget that sticks for PerkStreet’s free financial coaching email series, StreetSense. And while building a budget is the foundation of your financial success, enabling you to control your spending and reach financial goals, it raises another question: What goal should I start with?
Focus On One Goal, Not Two or More
Recently I caught myself trying to complete several major financial goals simultaneously, and there’s something to be said about focusing all of your financial energy on only one goal at a time. By concentrating on one goal, you’ll:
- See real progress fast, which will help you press on toward the finish line.
- Be less overwhelmed or overburdened by several looming goals.
- Increase your efficacy in tackling your one goal by reducing distractions from others.
Pick A Goal, Any Goal
A major financial goal is something that helps you or others prosper financially. Your major financial goal could be to give like you’ve never given before. Or maybe you need to get rid of some debt! It’s important to have a goal of any kind, but you should choose wisely: Some goals should come before others (see Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps for help deciding where to start).
Getting Rid of Debt
This is atop many-a financial goals list. I suggest using the debt snowball method, paying off your smallest debts first and largest debts last. You’ll see quick wins that motivate you to keep going!
Whether you’re investing for retirement or to build your overall net worth, investing is a great financial goal. Make sure you consider a few different investment options before you start.
At a certain point in your life, you should try to give more than you necessarily feel comfortable with. That doesn’t mean you should break the bank, but it does mean that you intentionally and systematically give a lot of money to the causes you believe in. If you’re at this point, congrats! I think you’ll find that giving is one of the best financial goals you can work towards.
Saving for College
Right now, my wife and I are saving for her college education. Tuition isn’t cheap, and instead of going into debt, we’re using our PerkStreet card to get cash back on her college tuition payments. We’ve saved a bunch of money by using PerkStreet. Check out our exhaustive review of PerkStreet for more ways we save money by using our cash back debit card!
Building an Emergency Fund
I simply love our emergency fund. We’ve had to use it several times and found it to be a great source of comfort when a bill of gigantic size dive-bombs into our mailbox. This is a worthwhile goal. (Trust me.)
What are some of the harder financial goals you’ve set for yourself? How did you go about it? What was the experience like? Let us know in our comments section below.
John Frainee is a Customer Columnist here at PerkStreet, and the webmaster and a writer for the ever-growing blog, The Christian Dollar. John enjoys exploring how faith and finance interact, spending time with his wife and family, and meeting readers from all over the web. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Bible and Christian Counseling and loves encouraging others in their financial pursuits. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.