Many of us find saving hard, and we might need help to stay on track, whether we know it or not. Sitting down to plan your financial goals is the best place to start.

This will help you consider what you’d like to achieve and understand the steps you need to take. You can then set a savings strategy that’s not only realistic, but based on your broader life plans.

Here’s how to get started.

1. Decide what you want

You might be saving for a car, a holiday or objective, such as stocking up your emergency fund. You may have a few goals: short, medium and long-term, depending on your life stage. Think about what you want to achieve and why. Knowing how your goal fits in with your broader life plans can help motivate you.

2. Put a goal on a timeline

If you have a few goals, think about which ones you want to achieve first and make your savings plan. Think about how much of your savings you want to put toward each goal and how long it will take to reach them. Be realistic, so you don't get stuck down the track. 

3. Understand the cost of each goal

If you have a long-term goal that is more abstract, such as increasing your super, you might find it hard to put a dollar figure next to it. Even so, it's worth making an estimate so you can get a rough idea of how much you need to save.

Put a reminder in your calendar to check or update the cost of this goal. You might want to adjust your savings as circumstances change to make sure you will reach it.

4. Set realistic timeframes

Once you have put your goals on a timeline, you might like to set a date to check in on how you're tracking. This can help you to update your goal when you need to. It could also give you the chance to think about putting more money towards your goal, if you're able to. 

5. Divide your savings across your goals

Once you know how much you can save each month, you can work out how much to put towards each goal. Make sure you can meet your bills and every day expenses first, then allocate your money. You might like to set up a recurring payment to into savings on or soon after pay day so you aren’t tempted to spend it. Some people have different accounts for different goals, helping to separate their money. 

Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.