We are officially halfway through 2021, and wow, what a year it’s been. If you’re like many of our clients, you may have taken this midway point as a reminder to take a careful look at your financial situation and make adjustments to your long-term financial goals. Often with financial planning, we talk about long-term goals, but the reality is we all have short-term goals and wish lists – or "wish gardens" – we’d like to see achieved.
Perhaps you’ll find the midway mark of 2021 to be a great time for creating short-term goals to fill up your wish garden. With socially distanced guidelines starting to ease and travel restrictions lifted, we’ve seen an incredible demand for a shift back to normalcy. Along with this demand comes the added necessity that careful thought, planning, and structure be devoted to making sure you can achieve your short-term goals without negatively impacting your long-term financial objectives.
our 5 Tips for Creating Short-Term Goals For Your Wish Garden
1. Create a Budget:
Pull together your 2020 and year-to-date 2021 spending and credit card history to get a sense of where your money has been going over the past 18 months. If you’re like most Americans, you probably didn’t spend as much during the global pandemic compared to what you would typically have spent. Determine what expenses are likely to come back into the picture now that restrictions have started to ease (i.e., gym memberships, travel, eating out, etc.). Will your ongoing cash flow give you the ability to reincorporate these discretionary items into your lifestyle, or will you need to begin making adjustments?
2. Allocate Separate “Buckets” for Short-Term Goals
Based on your budgeting work, consider setting up separate checking or savings accounts that can be used to help fund your short-term goals. Perhaps you can redirect where your various income sources are deposited so that these buckets have the ability to grow (i.e., plant the seeds so your wish garden can grow).
Separating “buckets” tied to short-term goals is a great way to visualize what money you have available for various discretionary purchases. Learn more about Bucket Budgeting.
3. Give Yourself a Semi-Monthly Allowance
Rather than spend 100 percent of your monthly take-home pay, consider giving yourself a semi-monthly allowance. Furthermore, consider taking that allowance in the form of cash instead of using credit cards, so you know you aren’t overspending during the month. Using cash is a tried and true way of ensuring that you aren’t racking up debt on a lifestyle your income can’t support. Spending a fixed dollar amount or allowance is a terrific way of being intentional about your money.
4. Research Before Buying
Not everyone is a coupon cutter, and sometimes it’s more of a headache than it’s worth. With today’s advancement in technology, there are numerous online resources available to help make a dollar go further than you ever thought. Don’t be afraid to do some research before making purchases. Many sales are seasonal. Look for deals around holidays and special sale events like Amazon Prime Day. If a significant sale is just around the corner, consider holding off to fulfill more of your short-term goals.
5. Travel During Non-Peak Seasons/Weeks
Take a look at the savings you might incur if you were to take your much-needed vacation during a non-peak time. Traveling during non-peak seasons is particularly important for families traveling with children since the costs can add up quickly. There are considerable savings to be achieved if you’re willing to take a vacation a week or two on either side of what you might consider being the “ideal” time for your family trip. You may also consider booking airfare during non-peak times to obtain reduced rates.
As a financial advisor, I work with our clients to help them feel empowered and knowledgeable about the financial decisions they are making each day. We invite you to learn more about our firm, our team, our processes and services, and the clients we currently serve.
Investment Advisory services offered through Birchwood Financial Partners, Inc. an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.
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