Know where you are
Before you figure out where you’re going, you need to know where you are.
There are heaps of online budgeting tools and apps, many of them are free. Choose one that looks like it suits your lifestyle the most. For a good start, check out the tools on Sorted.org.
Prefer to use a pen and paper? Try carrying around a notebook and jotting down everything you spend. After a couple of weeks, add up the expenses into different categories, ie eating out, gas, phone, groceries. Don’t forget to include any automatic payments or direct debits you have going out.
Know where you want to go
Would you like to get that deposit together for your first house? Spend your retirement cycling across France? Get the kids through uni? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can figure out how to do it.
It’s important to have a mix of long-term goals (like paying off your home loan) and short-term goals (like booking a trip to Melbourne). Along with the super-serious goals, make sure you have some fun goals in there that excite and inspire you.
Write your goals down and put the date you would like to achieve them by. Put the list on your phone, office wall or even the back of the bathroom door – anywhere you’ll see them every day.
Fact: People who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.
Work out how to get there
Think about the steps you’ll need to take to reach your financial goals. It will probably involve a few smaller goals along the way, like:
Clear my debt.
Build up some emergency savings.
Save for a house deposit.
Buy a house.
Make a budget
Use the Sorted money calculator, an excel spreadsheet or your trusty notebook.
Remember: small steady progress is better than big lifestyle changes – just like a diet. Make sure you leave some money aside for fun stuff too, or you won’t stick to your plan.
One of the most sure-fire ways to financial freedom is to deal with debt.
This is intended as general information only. It does not take into account your financial situation and goals and is not personal advice. For advice about your particular circumstances please see a financial adviser, or make an appointment with a Kiwibank Wealth Adviser.