Dream big or go home
- 2022 has truly been a banner year for my finances.
- I dream of buying a house in 2024 – if I can swing it.
- To reach my savings goal, I save money one month at a time, increasing my sources of income, avoiding big purchases, and giving myself some leeway.
I spent most of my adult life worrying about not being good with money. In some cases, I made bad decisions (like being convinced to buy a house in my twenties, which was a really bad idea). Most of the time I didn’t have enough financial resources to do more than tread water (and no matter what anyone tells you, you can’t budget for not making enough money) . However, I have spent 2022 making big financial moves. I started working with a financial planner. I doubled my income. I got out of debt. Anyway, I’m ready to swim.
At the start of 2022, I had vague plans to buy a house in 2023. But I’ve now spent all of 2022 watching mortgage rates go up, and I also have a much clearer idea of the real cost of home ownership. (That’s a lot.) So I think I’ll try for 2024 instead. I don’t have a crystal ball and I have no idea what the real estate market will look like by then. But I’m not the kind of person who sits around and waits for things to fall into place for me. I know there’s one big step I can take between now and then to make home ownership more possible, whether in 2024 or later: save money. To this end, I hope to save $50,000. Here are five ways to approach this big financial goal.
1. Break it down into monthly goals
If you’re facing a big task, a good way to approach it is to break it down into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, if I want to clean my apartment, I don’t run around trying to do everything at once. Instead, I might dust the living room first, then vacuum the carpets and scrub the tub. One piece at a time…and that’s how I intend to save money too. Knowing how much money I need to save per month to reach my goal seems a lot less overwhelming than focusing on the big number for the year. Also, if I have a shortfall one month, I can increase my goal for the next month, or figure out where I went wrong and make up for it (e.g. by working more hours or taking on more projects) .
2. Increase revenue streams
By refining the type of paid work I target, I can approach potential clients based on that and be more confident that I will enjoy and succeed in any project I take on. For example, I have a number of talented friends who are aspiring fiction writers, and I’ve consulted and edited for a few of them. I enjoy reading fiction and working with authors to improve their work, and in 2023 I hope to continue to have the flexibility to take on such projects.
3. Make fewer big purchases
I definitely spent the money in 2022, and I certainly don’t regret it, because many of the purchases I made (like a new clothes dryer and a desktop computer) improved my quality of life and made me a more productive worker. That said, I’m hoping not to have to make as many major purchases in 2023, giving me more money to save towards my goal.
4. Get a head start…
I know the title of this article refers to the year 2023, but the truth is that I have already started saving my house funds. I finished paying off my debt more than three months ahead of my original goal, which means I’m not waiting for the clock to strike midnight, January 1, 2023, to start saving. I hope to start 2023 with a good percentage of my goal achieved.
5…and leave room for maneuver
And just like my point above, I won’t be racing against time to save until December 31, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. to do it in spring or summer. Rental leases often stretch from summer to summer, and I live in a part of the country that has very cold, snowy winters – I don’t want to seriously look at homes or consider moving in those weather conditions. By waiting for spring at the earliest, I will gain more time to save and more time to adjust my monthly goals or income streams as needed.
I’m no stranger to big money moves after the year I’ve had. And I like having a goal to achieve – it’s important to keep your dreams in mind if you want to achieve them. If you have a financial goal to pursue, consider taking steps like mine to achieve success.
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