You want to get the most from your money. As a financially savvy person, you have several long-term financial goals, but you’re also interested in focusing on short-term goals that can be achieved in the not-so-distant future.
This is important, because you want to make sure the moves you’re making now will support healthy finances down the road. Of course, knowing exactly what this means can be easier said than done. Keep reading to learn more about short-term finance goals and how to create them in a manner that sets you up for success.
What Are Short-Term Financial Goals?
A short-term goal is an objective that can be completed in the near future. While there’s no hard-and-fast timeline attached to this type of goal, they’re generally completed during a span of anywhere from one week to a few years.
What are financial goals — short-term and long-term? Generally speaking, an example of a short-term financial goal might be to save $50 by the end of the month, while a long-term financial goal could be to have $100,000 in a retirement account by the time you’re 40 years old.
What should your short-term financial goals be? While you can seek inspiration from others for money-related short-term goals, you need to come up with your own set of objectives that fit your life and personally serve you. The answer to this question is different for everyone.
28 Short-Term Financial Goals
What are examples of short-term financial goals? As previously noted, short-term finance goals are a very personal thing.
There’s no right or wrong objective, as long as it personally serves you and seeks to improve your financial situation. Here’s a look at 28 short-term goals examples to get you started.
Personal and Couples Short-Term Financial Goals
1. Donate $20 to charity each month for a year.
2. Limit buying coffee out to one day per week for six months.
3. Reduce discretionary spending by $100 per month.
4. Wait at least 24 hours before buying anything but essentials for a month.
5. Start an emergency fund and deposit $200 per month, until you’ve saved three to six months of living expenses.
6. Create a budget that allows you to save $100 more per month.
7. Track your monthly spending and use your findings to make a plan to spend 10% less.
8. By the end of the month, compare prices on car insurance to see if you can save money on comparable coverage with a different company.
9. Consolidate credit card debt and eliminate it entirely in three years.
10. Take public transportation instead of a car service once per week for the next six months.
Career Short-Term Financial Goals
11. Get a new job that provides a 10% raise by the end of the year.
12. Start a side hustle that allows you to earn at least $100 per week.
13. Negotiate a 6% salary increase at your current job during your next performance review.
14. Enroll in an online course in the next two months to make yourself more marketable.
Family Short-Term Financial Goals
15. Save $50 per month for each child’s college education.
16. Limit eating takeout for family dinners to once per week.
17. Put $200 per month in savings for a family vacation.
18. Deposit $100 per month into a savings account for winter holiday gifts.
19. Cut spending by dividing chores — like house cleaning, car detailing or lawn care — among family members instead of hiring a professional.
20. Reduce your water bill by limiting showers to five minutes for every family member.
21. Save $15 per dinner out — for a family of four — by ordering water instead of soda, tea, juice and coffee.
22. Put $200 aside from every paycheck for six months to prepare for upcoming unpaid maternity or paternity leave.
Short-Term Goals to Prepare for the Future
23. Meet the maximum employer-match 401(k) — or equivalent — contributions offered at your company by July.
24. Make one extra mortgage payment by the end of the year.
25. Open an investment account and deposit $50 per paycheck until you reach $1,000.
26. Assuming your car is paid off, put the amount of your car payment into savings each month to build a sizable down payment for your next car.
27. Automatically deposit 10% of your monthly income into a savings account for the next two years to put money aside for a down payment on a home.
28. Pay down debt by putting an extra $50 per month toward your loan or credit card with the highest interest rate.
How To Achieve Short-Term Goals
The first step to achieving your short-term finance goals is setting the right goals. This requires careful thought and consideration.
Making your goals SMART — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound — is the best way to cross the finish line. This is important, because vague goals are made to be broken. For example, it’s hard to track an ambiguous short-term goal of trying to save more money. However, it’s much easier to monitor an objective of saving $100 in the next four weeks.
SMART goals leave no room to slack, essentially providing you with a roadmap to success from the start.
Achieving Your Goals
However, actually holding yourself accountable to achieve them is the hardest part. There are a variety of ways to encourage yourself to stick to your goals, including:
- Ask a friend to keep you accountable — or set goals together and keep each other on track.
- Use a goal-tracking app that will send you reminders.
- If you’re saving for a specific purchase, keep a picture of it where you keep your credit cards, so you’ll see it before you spend money.
How To Track Short-Term Goals
Setting short-term goals is a great way to improve your present and future financial health. Monitoring your progress is important, as seeing how far you’ve come will either motivate you to keep up the good work or encourage you to step it up if you’ve been slacking.
When you make your goals SMART, tracking your progress is actually built into the objective. Since the M in SMART stands for measurable and the T stands for time-bound, this makes it easy to see where you stand.
Ways To Track Your Progress
Even with a SMART goal, it’s important to schedule regular times to assess your progress. If you’re not sure you’ll be motivated enough to handle this on your own, find an accountability partner who will check in with you and offer extra encouragement to meet this goal.
Here are a few other ways to track your progress:
- Put a chart on your fridge or desk and fill it in as you make progress for a visual reminder.
- Input your progress to an app or spreadsheet every day at a specific time, like right before lunch or between eating dinner and washing the dishes.
- Keep a journal to draw, write or chart out your progress regularly.
Essentially, short-term goals are key to your financial health. The money moves you make today hugely impact your tomorrow, so choose objectives that are important to you — and make them SMART.
Amber Barkley contributed to the reporting for this article.