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  • Writer's pictureKayla

How to Set Realistic (and Still Exciting!) Financial Goals

Set achievable financial goals without sacrificing fun!

Financial success is something that many people aspire to achieve, but it requires more than just wishing for a prosperous future. Setting realistic financial goals is a crucial step toward creating a solid foundation for your financial well-being. In this article, we will explore the importance of setting realistic, achievable financial goals and discuss practical, real-world ways to do so without sacrificing the fun!

Shameless Deep Dive — Reflect, Organize, Prioritize

Take a moment to consolidate all of your spending into a single comprehensive overview. This step will require a candid dive into your budget, income, and spending behavior, which can sometimes be an uncomfortable process. However, this introspection serves a dual purpose — it not only brings attention to existing financial habits but can also cause you to acknowledge aspects that may be beyond your control, or which are harder to work around. Embracing this holistic approach can be a pivotal step toward gaining a clearer understanding of your financial landscape while also allowing you to prioritize what matters most to you.

Establishing a budget can help you gain control over your finances and achieve both short-term and long-term goals. Plus, an effective budgeting strategy can help you plan for the fun stuff, too!

Begin by pinpointing and tallying your income, essential bills, and discretionary spending. Organize the essential and non-essential expenditures into distinct categories for a clearer overview. This systematic approach ensures a comprehensive understanding of your financial inflows and outflows, setting the stage for more effective budgeting and financial planning.

Budgeting as a Form of Self-Care

Taking a closer look at areas where you might be overspending and delving into your financial behavior with curiosity and self-compassion can be a surprisingly cathartic process! There can be so much self-judgment where money is concerned, but overcoming any hesitation and looking at your financial life with clarity and objectivity can be an excellent way to relieve yourself of money frustration, and to give yourself grace. The more you engage in this process, the greater understanding you'll develop, leading to improved decision-making. This, in turn, can help make more wiggle room in your budget, which can allow you more freedom to do the things you enjoy while still making progress toward your overall goals.

People use various methods to organize their spending habits, but what matters most is finding the method that feel most “right” to you, and which works well with your lifestyle and goals.

  • Some opt for cash envelopes, physically separating money for each category to prevent overspending

  • Tracking expenses through apps or spreadsheets can help visualize where money goes, and can be an easy way to let a tool do most of the work in keeping track of things

  • Automatic transfers to savings accounts or investment accounts can also simplify the process — many folks who do this find that if the money goes straight to its budgeted or intended destination, they run much less of a risk of using those funds elsewhere and losing progress toward their bigger goals

Additionally, rather than fighting against impulsive purchases, consider incorporating them into your financial plan. Allocate a portion of your income to a discretionary account specifically designated for such indulgences. This strategy allows you to enjoy occasional treats without disrupting your essential expenses or long-term savings goals. 

By working with your natural inclinations instead of against them, you can maintain financial discipline while still allowing room for spontaneity and enjoyment!

Take Charge...Compassionately

Develop practical and satisfying habits to reduce future expenses by carving out space for both debt repayments and savings. A realistic budget and thoughtful plans for spending will make it much easier to reach your goals without feeling like you're giving up a ton of freedom in the process. By creating new habits that make you feel satisfied and set up for success, you pave the way for more effective debt management and a more robust approach to planning for your financial future.

If you find the financial goal-setting process overwhelming, consider seeking advice from a financial advisor. A professional can provide personalized guidance, help you set realistic goals, and assist with creating a plan tailored to your unique circumstances.

The Bottom Line on Realistic and Feel-Good Financial Goal-Setting

Setting realistic financial goals is a crucial step toward achieving financial success and stability. By reflecting on your current situation, defining short-term and long-term objectives, prioritizing your goals in a way that doesn’t feel punishing, creating a realistic and fair budget, building an emergency fund, and regularly reviewing and adjusting your plan, you can pave the way for a more secure financial future. Remember, financial success is a journey, not a destination, and by taking these steps, you're investing in your financial well-being.

Need help finding the financial path that works best for you? Let’s chat

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