What if someone told you that you had to save $10,000 in six months?
For the majority of people that goal is unreasonable at best and nearly impossible at worst. And a lot of that sort of goal oriented chatter, while seemingly smart and important on the surface, actually can prove to dissuade the masses from being able to save.
Now, why would setting a goal like the aforementioned one be a bad thing?
The truth is, when it comes to money, is we typically and routinely set ourselves up to fail because we set unrealistic expectations and goals and thus begin to slowly fade when that $10,000 goal, for example, looks more like $500 in that same time period.
Think of it in terms of weight loss.
If you have to lose 50 pounds and you put a three month time frame on it, but only lose a couple of pounds instead, what may happen? You’ll probably throw in the towel (literally or figuratively) and assume that because you didn’t hit 50 pounds in 90 days that you feel far too defeated to continue.
At least not at the moment or right away.
The tiered approach to saving money often is the best way to get from point A to point B, while setting goals that are small and then building from there. If you want to save a $1,000 over the course of 12 months, then so be it. But the most advisable way to look at saving money on a smaller scale that turns into smart money habits would be more of a short term time frame with a money number in mind.
So take that $1,000 and make it four or five months, rather than stretching it out. The longer goal time frame could lead to procrastination on some level. Once you hit that target, then reset it and do it again or simply make a loftier goal. Any setback is just an opportunity to try again, like the cliched but accurate falling off the bike and getting back up and trying to ride one more time, over and over if necessary.
None of this is going to happen without a budget and also paying attention to your spending and adjusting it accordingly in order to make sure you even have an opportunity to save. The bottom line is if your expenses or spending outweigh your income, then nothing is going to change, especially setting, achieving and maintaining any goal.