Setting Short-Term Financial Goals

Many financial goals would be possible in our lives if we didn't eat, drive or pay rent. We'd have all sorts of money left over each month if we chose not to pay the utility bill or we never talked on the phone. As completely unrealistic as those scenarios are, a little planning can go a long way.

In the professional world, short-term is defined as goals you can accomplish within a year. Anything longer than that takes more planning and effort. Generally we're thinking ahead to some special purchase or event. In just 12 months, with self-control and forward-thinking, there is so much we could accomplish with our budgeting.

There are many financial situations that can be planned for in the short-term. You may be trying to cut household spending by a certain amount each month. Maybe the family wants to buy a boat or a camper. Or maybe you just want to get out of debt and live in the clear. All of these are attainable within that year if you set some reasonable goals.

1. Sit down with your budget. If you take a look at where your money goes, you can discover simple ways to keep it in the bank. When you're seriously trying to save, or just trying to cut spending by a certain percentage, analyzing the numbers puts it all in perspective.

2. Make a reasonable decision. I would love to put aside $100 a month into savings for a couple of special projects. Realistically that can't happen every month with the budget we have now. Instead of getting frustrated or not putting anything into savings, we can find a smaller amount that won't put us in financial trouble right now but will still add up considerably in the long run.

3. Practice self-control. But I just need a little money to spend this weekend. I'll put it back when I get paid next. It's something really important. It just means one more month of saving, right? Excuses can totally undermine everything you're trying to accomplish with your money. Instead, look to Christ and the fruit of the Spirit which is longsuffering to motivate you to your goals!

4. Determine a savings technique. Figure out if you need to start a savings account that you won't touch until it's reached your goal amount. That may not work for you personally because you prefer watching the cash pile up in an envelope. Everyone is different and views money, bank accounts and numbers in a different way. Whatever technique works best for you, use it consistently and watch your savings grow.

4. Have your goals in plain sight. If you're saving for a vacation, put a picture of the destination somewhere that you can see it all the time. Write "Camper" on a piece of paper and tuck it into your checkbook. Having a visual keeps your goal in the front of your mind and helps prevent lack of self-control.

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