Are you new to setting financial goals?

Many people believe that you have to be wealthy to set financial goals, but that’s just not true. There are many financial goals that apply to everyone, and if you don’t have a financial goal in mind, it makes it much easier to mindlessly spend your money without any real indication of where it’s going. But if you’ve never set a financial goal before, how do you get started? Luckily, the experts at Goal Plus are here to help. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you set (and keep) your financial goals.

Step #1. Identify your goals.

It probably goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyway: there’s no way to set your goals if you don’t identify what you want them to be! That means that you need to figure out what really matters to you. Do you want to be debt free in a year? Do you want to make sure that you have a nice nest-egg for retirement? Do you want to ensure that there is plenty of money in your child’s college fund? Do you want to save up for a down payment? Once you identify what you want, you’ll know which goals to set.

Step #2. Break down your spending habits.

In order to establish a plan for how you’ll reach your financial goals, you first need to get a clear understanding of your current financial situation, which includes your spending habits. If you don’t know where your money is currently going, how will you determine how much of it you can use to help you work towards your goal? Chances are, if you haven’t been keeping track of what you’re spending money on, there are probably a few things you’re spending too much on, like morning trips to Starbucks. Once you identify your not-so-productive spending habits, you can take steps to correct them.

Step #3. Make a budget you’ll actually stick with.

Budgeting is one of the most important aspects of reaching any financial goal, because it’s essentially the plan for seeing your goal to fruition. Budgeting involves writing down all of your sources of income, and then scheduling out all of the payments you have to make throughout the month. It’s also important to include other expenses, like gas, groceries, pet food, etc., in your budget, as well as a few dollars for entertainment (this is key for making a realistic budget that you’ll actually stick with). Once you’ve subtracted all of your expenses from your income, you’ll know exactly how much is left to put towards your goal.

Step #4. Turn your overall goal into mini goals.

Say you’re trying to pay off $20,000 in credit card debt. That can seem incredibly overwhelming, and make it all too easy for anyone to give up on their goal before they even start working towards it. There’s a good chance that you won’t reach that goal today, this week or even this month, but you can decide to put that extra $100 bonus you got on your paycheck towards a credit card rather than on more stuff you don’t really need. When you are able to break down your overarching financial goal into small, mini goals, it makes it easier to accomplish. And when you recognize and celebrate reaching each one of those mini goals, it gives you the motivation to keep going!

Step #5. Check in on a regular basis to make sure you’re on track.

Setting a goal and making a plan are both essential for reaching that goal, but having a plan is not the same as making sure that you’re sticking with it. If you’re not constantly keeping track of your spending, it can easily get out of hand. When you’re in the moment, spending an extra $10 on a fancy margarita may not seem like a big deal, but if you do that too many times, you can easily outspend your budget. Staying on track requires constant vigilance!

Now that you know how to set and stick with your financial goals, it’s time to find the tools you need to help along the way. The Goal Plus app is the ultimate financial planning app, and it allows you to set and customize your goals. Download the free Goal Plus app on your Android phone today! It’s free!