How to Set Financial Goals

How to set financial goals (and succeed at them)!!! Great tips that will help you decide what to set and keep you motivated! (Paying off the house is our BIG goal right now!)

We recently set a pretty big financial goal. It’s a little scary, a little exciting, and a lot “I can’t believe we are doing this”!

Goals and planning are important. A budget is a plan and we’ve talked before about how I think a budget is a key to financial success. Today I’m going to share how to set financial goals and some of the though behind our plan for the next 18  months.

How to Set Financial Goals:

Discuss the Options

Sit down and discuss big saving projects you have or if there are any loans you need to pay off.

Mortgage, loans, car funds, remodeling project, college funds, retirement fund, emergency fund, investment opportunities, and travel are all ideas to get you started.

Pick a project

We are debt free with the exception of our mortgage. We recently purchased a new to us mini van and still have a little money in a car fund that we are slowly adding to. We have a fully funded emergency fund/living expenses. We have no known major expenses coming our way. Sure, our retirement fund and kids’ college accounts could use more but we went for paying off the mortgage.

Look at the Numbers

When we knew paying off the house was a huge goal of ours I spent some time looking at the numbers, seeing how much time we had left paying off the house as is and then started seeing when we’d be done if we put all of my paychecks towards it. Talk about motivating.

Seeing the numbers and looking at dates on the calendar made it seem real and possible!

Pick a Start Date

Decide when you are going to start and just do it! Big goals are hard. You can spend a lot of time thinking about them instead of acting. That will get you nowhere. Go for it.

Know it Will Be Hard

It’s not going to be easy. It wouldn’t be a BIG GOAL if it wasn’t. Expect challenges, prepare yourself for them, know it’s not going to last forever and commit to it 100%!

Have an End

Goals are hard to keep after when the going gets tough and hard to keep momentum going if there is no end in site. You can have two types of ends:

  • a time – a date in the future when you’ll be finished
  • a dollar amount end

I have both in my head. I know how many months it will take to pay off our mortgage and we also see the dollar amount decrease each month.

Celebrate the Milestones

Saving up $10,000, $25,000, or $100,000 is daunting! It might seem like you’ll never get there. To help keep the end in site and the momentum going, break your goal down and celebrate the mile markers along the way. It doesn’t have to be anything big, you are on a budget after all. Have a family game night, complete with homemade ice cream, have a picnic at the park, rent a movie and pop some popcorn. Do something your family would enjoy that doesn’t cost much (or any) money.

Visual Reminders

Keep the goal in front of you! Don’t shove it in the back of your mind where you will forget it.

  • Make a paper chain with one ring for every thousand dollars. When you put in $1,000, remove a chain.
  • Draw in outline of whatever you are saving for or paying off and section it into parts. Each time you are a thousand dollars closer to your goal, color in a section.

Having even simple visual reminders and being able to see the progress can keep you motivated!

Plan a Party

Plan something fun that you want to do when your goal is 100% met! Go out to your favorite restaurant, take a day trip to the zoo or amusement park, buy everyone’s favorite foods at the grocery store that haven’t made the budget cut the last year. Make it fun and something to look forward to!

Don’t expect it to be easy, but with these 9 steps on how to set financial goals you can select a goals and start tackling it! We can cheer each other on. Do you have any tips for successfully setting financial goals? Any goals that you are trying to nail this year?

How to set financial goals (and succeed at them)!!! Great tips that will help you decide what to set and keep you motivated! (Paying off the house is our BIG goal right now!)


You might also want to check out these posts:10 super easy ways to drastically lower your grocery budget! I've saved thousands of dollars doing these over the years. GREAT ideas!

The Secret to Financial Success! Sitting down and doing this as a couple and actually following through as made a world of difference. You'll want to start today!

Financial goals can be scary and exciting! This year we are focusing on paying off our house - here's how we are doing it!

5 steps to go from surviving to thriving

 Linking up to these fun parties!

13 thoughts on “How to Set Financial Goals

  1. Carrie Groneman

    GREAT post on money management, with savvy advice. I featured it on my fb page and I sure appreciate all the great things you are doing on your blog my friend. Keep it up, you are fabulous! Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Why thanks, Carrie! I blessed to have great parents who were/are wonderful examples when it comes to finances (and a lot of other things 🙂 ). I appreciate your comments and sweet words! Hope that you are having a great week. Looking forward to the next wedding update.

  2. Kathy @ SMART Living

    Hi Deanna! Just found your link on the “Inspire Me Mondays” on the link up party. Good for you for taking such a GREAT step toward financial freedom. I wish I’d done this at your age. My husband and I are older than you and it took us a while, be we are finally there. 100% debt free with no loans on ANYTHING including our home. We pay cash for everything (or use our cards and then pay them off immediately.) After living this way for about 5 years now I can honestly say it was the best thing we ever did for ourselves. As you say, it isn’t easy but it so very important. The best advice I can share with you is to hang out with other people with the same goal. If you get around others that spend a lot and have a bunch of “grown up toys” or live large you will be tempted to to do the same. But by picking your friends carefully you will all support one another. Good luck and don’t give up! ~Kathy

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Thanks, Kathy! I am super blessed to have parents that are amazing with finances. Seeing them budget, pay for everything in cash, be generous, and be diligent about where their money goes has been super motivational! We paid off my husband’s car and student loans after we got married and until we bought our house were debt free. I’m looking forward to getting it paid off and hopefully continuing to save up for if we ever move.

      Great advice! So true, if you are around people who spend it’s easier to want more things for yourself and compare what you do and don’t have. Thanks for the encouragement. 1 month done off of our 18 month plan!!!

  3. Rachel

    This is so encouraging. I hate writing down all of my goals and debt and getting sad just looking at it all! But this sounds easy enough to follow and keep up with. Thanks!

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Thanks, Rachel!Baby steps and having goals you can achieve in a reasonable amount of time help keep you motivated! Once you start seeing your smaller debts disappear I bet you’ll get more and more excited! I just checked 1 month off of our 18 months to paying off the house and that feels pretty nice. 🙂

  4. Christie

    These are some excellent tips on setting financial goals. It’s always important to have a goal! Thanks for sharing at Totally Terrific Tuesday! I hope to see you again tomorrow night. The party starts at 10pm!

  5. Pingback: Examples of Financial Goals to Change Your Year - From This Kitchen Table

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