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If you’re like me, setting goals and keeping them is not your nature.

I have learned the hard way that having specific goals help me get more done instead of doing several things at once and getting nowhere.

One very productive way to write a goal is to use the SMART method.

Create SMART Goals

  • Specific: Choose a specific goal. Don’t say ’save more’, but instead choose ‘put aside 5% of my paycheck into a savings account.’
  • Measurable: How do you know when you reached your goal? If you are saving an emergency fund up, consider setting aside 3-6 months of living expenses.
  • Attainable: Work on 1 or 2 goals at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed. 
  • Realistic: Make sure your goal is something you can do and truly believe in.
  • Time Based: By setting a deadline, you can work backwards and break down the steps into mini goals.

Action is Better than Perfection

Try to go ahead and pick one thing to actually do to improve your finances. It can very hard to really analyze what you need to reach your goals.

What to Do For Some Common Financial Goals

Here’s the essence of personal finance problems that many people encounter:

  • If you’re in debt, find out how bad it is. Are you $500 in debt or $5000? The amount determines your basic game plan. Try to come up idea to raise money to eliminate debt. Use a debt snowball to get out of credit card debt.
  • If you’re low on savings, start an emergency fund.  Set aside $500 aside for when bad things happen, because they do.
  • If you don’t your retirement fund started, then get started today. Put something away consistently every paycheck. Even if it’s $50/month at first, sock some money away for your future.
  • If you want to maximize your finances, read as much as you can about your options. If you still want more help, contact a fee-based personal finance advisor.

Personal finance can be as complicated as you want or it can be much easier.  It really depends on how you tackle it.

Take it step by step: automate your savings, set up free and automatic bill pay, and set aside some money for retirement.

You can also tweak and improve your finances, but getting started is the biggest thing to do.  My husband is a focused individual by nature, so it's easier for his to cut out the white noise and work on a specific goal at a time.

I'm not like that, so I do it a bit differently. I'm more likely to achieve my goal if I focus on one thing. I have also decreased the stress in my life.

It has helped me immensely as I have tried to improve my finances over the last couple of years.

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

11 comments add your comment

  1. Baby steps!

    A great book on the subject of starting small is “One Small Step Can Change Your Life” by Robert Maurer, Ph.D.

    He asks “what small trivial step could you take to improve…”

    One client started by walking in place for one minute during commercials on TV and slowly worked her way up to the whole commercial break and then much longer.

    Start small and win big!

    Good advice!