We know -- saving money is hard! But it's not impossible, especially if you set some goals for yourself. The easiest way to do that is to think about what you want to spend your money on now and what you want to save it for later. Then divide your goals into two categories:
- Short-term goals
- Long-term goals
Short-term means a shorter length of time, like a few weeks or months. If you have a short-term savings goal, it means you hope to have enough money for the thing you want within that time period. Here are some examples:
- A new CD, DVD, or video game
- New shoes
- Movie tickets
Long-term saving goals take longer -- DUH! -- because the thing you want is more expensive, and usually span several months to maybe even years. Long-term goals may not even have a "want" or "need" item attached to them yet. You may just want to save money for a rainy day, an emergency, or a future need or want that you're unaware of now. Here are some examples of things you might buy using a long-term saving goal:
- A bike, skateboard, snowboard, or inline skates
- A computer
- Spending money for the family trip to Disneyland, Hawaii, or other vacation spot
- Science camp, a writing workshop, music lessons, or college
- A car for when you're finally old enough to drive
So, how can you reach your saving goals? By creating a saving plan and sticking to it! Each time you get some money, set aside a regular chunk of it no matter what. You could set aside 25%, 50% or even 100% of it, depending on the amount you feel leaves you with enough spending money.
For example, say you get $6.00 a week in allowance. In addition, you get $2.00 every Saturday for pulling weeds in your neighbor's backyard. And this week you got $20.00 for your birthday from Aunt Gertrude. If your saving plan requires you to save half of all money you receive, you must save $14.00 this week. The good news is that you still have $14.00 left over to cover your needs or use as "fun money" to buy things you want.
Once your plan becomes routine, you'll discover how easy it is to save. You just have to hang in there and continue to stash your cash even when you're tempted to spend it.
Next: Expect Expenses