Short and Long-Term Goals for Saving
February 12, 2010
Maintaining motivation to stick with a tight budget is a common concern. Lori has no such problem. In fact, she is becoming increasingly focused and motivated to save for her own place as her account balance grows. I want to encourage her to use the same goal oriented approach for all of her spend/save decisions -- big and small. Saving will never be easier than it is now while living at her mom's and I am glad that she is able to experience the satisfaction of meeting and even exceeding her savings goals. The budget will be much tighter once she is in her own place, spending opportunities and challenges will multiply and she will need to be more vigilant and disciplined to avoid over-spending.
To help with the adjustment to a more thinly stretch budget once she is on her own, I want Lori to set some new spending goals now, ones that are not tied directly to moving into her own place, but directly address some deferred expenses that may soon become unavoidable. This will reinforce the goal setting process and provide additional measureable targets -- endless saving without specific goals can create stress and grind away at motivation. Her goal also needs to be realistic so that regular successes can reinvigorate and reinforce the process.
She has mentioned there are a number of things she would like to buy for the kids and I am sure she has a number of items she also has gone without for quite some time. I will ask Lori to set some reasonable amounts to spend on specific items for the kids and herself as well as a target date and begin to allocate some savings for these goals -- short term goals. I want her to continue the idea of setting and saving for a goal and then spending wisely rather than using a credit card. I also am concerned that Lori's car won't last much longer and while it may not be realistic to save enough to pay cash for a newer vehicle anytime soon. I will recommend that she begin to save for that eventuality as well -- hopefully a long-term goal.
I want Lori to have in place savings goals, target dates and, most importantly, a process in place that looks beyond the move to her own apartment and continues encouraging good money habits long after her move is completed.