Keeping Your Finances In Check

Managing our money and keeping our finances in check might feel overwhelming at times. Keeping track of your finances is an important part of reaching your financial goals. The Harvard

Medical School has identified a key factor in people’s success in reaching their goals by shifting their thinking to a more positive approach. An example of this is mentioned by Melanie Dabb, Utah State University Extension Assistant Professor, in the article Tips for Sticking to Your Financial Goals and Budget (2022); instead of saying I have no money to save, start saying I will save a little here and there.

Another tip, is setting a self-motivating goal. When you take the time to identify why you create your budget and the goals you are trying to reach, it will help you stick to your plan and keep you working towards your important financial goals.

Try writing your goals out as SMART goals. When writing SMART goals keep them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART). Dabb has provided some more information on how to write a SMART goal:

• Specific: set goals that are specific. Instead of saying I want to save money, say I will set aside $20 from every paycheck for savings.

• Measurable: you need to be able to measure your goal to evaluate if you are meeting your goal or not. An example of this could be I want to get $2000 built up in my savings account, and you can measure this by the amount you have saved in your savings account.

• Achievable: this step is important because, in order to achieve your goals, it needs to be something you can realistically do.

• Relevant: your goal has to be important to you and your well-being to help you achieve your goal.

• Time-Bound: by putting a time frame on our goals, we are more likely to achieve our goals; remember to make your time frame realistic for you and something you can manage.

• SMART Goal Example: I will set up an automatic withdrawal to have $50 from every paycheck put into my savings account before my next paycheck.

Dabb also has some last tips for helping you stick to your budget, identifying your triggers and barriers that lead to spending more money than your budget allows, and keeps you from reaching your goals. Doing this will make it easier for you when you are tempted to throw your budget and goals out the window. By creating your own financial SMART goals, you are one step on the road to helping you on your financial well-being journey. Link to Dabb article:

For more financial information and resources on estate planning, budgeting, savings, and more contact Carrie Krug, Richland County Extension office at 406-433-1206.


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