If you’re anything like me, you most likely see the big picture or the long-term likely outcomes. And in personal finance, this certainly isn’t a bad thing. Preparing for long-term goals like retirement is a smart financial move. However, sometimes we get so caught up in the “end goal”, that we forget to reach milestones and goals that can help us right now. This post provides 15 short term financial goals that you can achieve this year, while still working on your long term goals.
15 Short Term Financial Goals
This post was written by our fabulous staff writer, Kimberly Studdard. It may contain affiliate links.
1) Have A $1,000 Emergency Fund
One of the easiest and best short term financial goals that you can achieve this year is to have a $1,000 emergency fund. Now, I’ll be honest when I say that I personally have saved more than this because $1,000 wouldn’t be enough for my family.
However, $1,000 is better than nothing. And should an emergency come up, it’s a lot easier to spend $1,000 when you’ve prepared for it.
You can save your $1,000 a few different ways:
- With your tax refund
- By saving a specific amount each week
- Taking the 52-week challenge
- Using a bonus/extra pay month to save
No matter what you choose, this is one of the easiest goals to reach and should be a priority if you’re not a big saver.
2) Set Up A Budget
The next easiest of the short term financial goals that you can do (this weekend!) is to set up a budget. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and it’s okay if it changes from time to time based on your lifestyle.
However, setting up a monthly budget will show you:
- what you have coming in and
- what money you’re spending on regular bills, household expenses, and even impulse shopping…
By setting up a budget, you’ll be able to see if you need to make more money, cut out unnecessary spending, or if you can find room to save more money.
3) Get A Side Hustle
Once you’ve created a budget, you may realize that you have more month than money. This may mean a second job or finding a way to get your income and expenses to match. But don’t panic. Side hustling has grown over the years, and there are many side hustles (including part-time job opportunities) that can work for you.
No matter your schedule and how much time you have to dedicate to side hustling, you can find a side hustle that fits you and your needs. There are dozens of side hustles both online and offline, and we talk about many of them on this site!
- 40+ Side Hustle Ideas That Anyone Can Do
- 36 Side Hustles You Can Start Now to Earn More Money
- The 10 Best Side Hustles For Introverts
- 50+ High Paying Side Hustles for Single Moms
4) Read Personal Finance Books
Want to know one of the best things you can do for yourself? Learn. And if you want to do better in your personal finance journey, the best place to start is by reading some books that can put you in the right direction to meet your goals.
Here are a few of my favorites:
- The Total Money Makeover – by Dave Ramsey
- The Latte Factor – by David Bach
- Get Money – by Kristin Wong
- Broke Millennial – by Erin Lowry
- Your Money or Your Life – by Vicki Robin
5) Automate Your Savings
If you’re looking to start an emergency fund or boost your emergency fund, you can do so by automating your savings. If you work a job that has direct deposit, you can typically ask them to transfer a certain percentage of each paycheck to your savings account.
And, if you’re self-employed, you can use a tool like Catch.co to help you start saving automatically.
Debt is a hindrance to your finances. So this year, vow to automate your debt payoff and stop worrying so much about it. You can start small, say $10 a week in addition to your minimum payments. But just adding a little extra every week can pay off your debt much quicker. And I can almost guarantee that you won’t even miss the money. Out of sight, out of mind.
7) Automate Your Investing
I wouldn’t recommend this route if you’re intense about paying off debt and saving money. However, if you’re…
- near the end of your debt payoff journey,
- have a nice savings account, and
- just want to boost your financial goals…
…try automating your investing.
8) Avoid Impulse Spending
Are you a spender by nature? Do you find yourself to be a shopaholic? Do you often buy things you don’t need and then regret it? If you answered yes to any of those questions, it’s time to eliminate your impulse spending.
A few ways you can do this are:
- Create a 30-day wait-list for big purchases. If you haven’t thought about it within those 30-days, you don’t need it.
- Avoid window shopping and online shopping (at least until you can control yourself).
- If you DO go window shopping, don’t bring your wallet.
- Give yourself a small personal budget so you don’t feel guilty about the items you do want. It’s okay to treat yourself (within reason), and setting a budget for yourself can help. However, don’t go over this budget.
- Get professional help. Sometimes there are other reasons for impulse shopping, and it could range from emotional trauma to anxiety. If things get too bad, take that money and invest it into a therapist or counselor that can help you.
If you’re a loyal customer, chances are you can be saving on your monthly bills like cable, car insurance, your phone bill, and more. While you can call these companies yourself, you can also use a site like BillCutterz that negotiates your bills for you. Whichever you prefer, but either way, you slash your bill payments.
10) Set Up Autopay For Bills
Did you know that you could save money just by setting up autopay on some bills? For example, if I set up autopay for my internet, they actually take off 10% of the bill each month. That’s a savings of $7 just for setting up autopay.
I would only recommend this for bills that don’t fluctuate too much, but it can be a great achievement to know that you can afford your monthly bills on autopay. And who doesn’t like to save money on the things they need anyway?
11) Get Rid Of One Expensive Habit
- Do you smoke?
- Pay for a golf membership when you only go twice a year?
It’s time to ditch those expensive habits and memberships. They can save you some serious money short term and long term. For example, the average smoker spends about $2,000 a year on cigarettes. Imagine what you could with that extra money!
12) Prepare For Taxes Next Year
If there is one system you don’t want to mess with, it’s the IRS. So instead of making things complicated for yourself next year, start preparing for your taxes right now.
- Keep receipts,
- stay accountable, and
- update your W-4 if you have had some changes in your life that you want to account for.
Also, now is the time to start thinking about if you want to self-prepare or hire a CPA, especially if you’re self-employed or have had some big changes in your year (like marriage, a baby, or home-buying, just to name a few).
13) Open a Roth IRA
Now, notice how I didn’t say “fully fund your Roth IRA this year”. However, you can open a Roth IRA this year and get started in investing if that’s a goal for you. The cap is currently $6,000 a year for anyone under 50 years old and $7,000 if you’re over 50. But, if you’re just getting started, anything is better than nothing saved/invested at all.
14) Have A No-Spend Day/Week/Month
Technically, this is two short term financial goals in one, because the money you save from a no-spend day, week, or month can also be thrown into a savings account. Or, you can take the money you’ve saved and invest it into other things, like a sinking fund or investing in something like a new business or venture.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your family is to have insurance. Health insurance, disability insurance, and even life insurance can make a huge difference should anything happen to you. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many different companies that will offer you the best price and offer you the coverage you want. You just have to compare them.
Wrap Up: Short Term Financial Goals
Your short term financial goals don’t have to be difficult to reach or expensive to start. In fact, it’s the opposite. These 15 short term financial goals are just a few of the goals that you can reach in a year or less.
Will YOU get started today? What will it be? Let’s talk in the comments below!
AUTHOR Kimberly Studdard
Kim Studdard is a strategy consultant and course launching expert. When she isn't spending time with her daughter and husband, or crying over This Is Us, you'll find her teaching other mompreneurs how to scale their business without scaling their workload.