Lately, I’ve been trying to be better about budgeting and knowing where my money is actually going so that I’m spending, saving, and investing well. But this blog post isn’t about budgeting overall, even how to create a budget, or the spreadsheet I’m working on to track my budgeting on a yearly scale (let me know if you want to see more on either topic), but why I’ve found it helpful to create a list of things I want to save up for.
I’ve never been good at goals. Thinking long-term can give me anxiety and awareness of the paradox of choice, so I’ve found it helpful to break big goals down into bite-sized chunks.
This is a lot like saving up for something. You don’t just buy a house in a day (and if you do can we become best friends?), but you save up daily or monthly or yearly and make smart choices to get there. Even on a smaller scale, buying that cup of coffee at a local coffee shop is likely the equivalent of 1/25 of that new purse you’re eyeing. While coffee is great (and I drink it often), breaking down your choices like this can help you prioritize what matters most to you. If the coffee is your priority, by all means, no judgment!
Here are a few examples of goals and the bite-sized pieces that can help you get started –
|I’d like to make X amount of money on this blog.||Write at least one blog post a week.|
Keep a list to brainstorm topics and update it daily.
Instead of spending ten minutes scrolling Instagram, I’ll open my laptop and work on a new post.
|I want to learn how to code.||Open up the code of a website you’re on to see what it looks like.|
Start on a site like Code Academy with the basics.
|I want to hold that fancy yoga pose the girl next to me does.||Practice five minutes a day.|
Ask your yoga instructor for help and for recommendations on getting stronger in that pose.
|I want a new pair of shoes that I’ve been eyeing for months.||Instead of getting fast food this month, I’ll set all of that money aside.|
No, writing a lot on my blog won’t inherently make me money, and no, practicing yoga for five minutes won’t make me able to do crow pose, but I definitely won’t make progress if I don’t consistently put in the effort.
The why is important too. Do you want to do that yoga pose because the girl can do it and you want to show off? Or do you want to be stronger and more flexible? Do you want to learn how to code to brag? Or do you want to add a skill to your resume and create a blog of your own? While I can’t judge your motivations for you, having meaningful reasons why you want the things you want can help you actually get the things you want.
And even though, for the sake of keeping with previous examples, coding isn’t an item to purchase, each action toward succeeding is an investment in yourself and your future.
Here are a few things I’m saving up for:
- A pair of heeled combat boots like these ones from Frye or these Doc Martens.
- A nicer vacuum.
- Being more on top of my personal emails and not letting my inbox get overwhelmingly full.
- Becoming more fluent in Spanish.
- Actually knowing more about investing and having more of a hand in what my portfolio looks like.
- Researching and donating to non-profits and causes I care about.
- The home I want to eventually have.
Saving is a tricky thing. There is no right way, and everyone has different constraints that make it easier or harder to do, but it’s important to try.
Is there anything in your life, physical or not, that you’re saving up for?