This is the Day 29 challenge in the #Money30, a month-long bootcamp for personal finance novices. You can read more about the challenge here, and follow along with us on Twitter, Instagram, or email us at email@example.com.
TIME BUDGET: 20 MINUTES
It’s Day 29 of the #Money30, and you’ve come a long way. You’ve done most of the money basics by now: Tracking your spending, making friends with the stock market, and discovering your money personality. Now it’s time to do one of the most important things in the personal finance handbook: Write down your money goal, and make a plan to get there.
As we discussed all the way back on Day 1, writing down or telling someone else about your goal is a great way to hold yourself accountable. Plus, if you know well ahead of time that you want to save $1,000 by the end of the year, or you want to pay off your credit card debt in the next 24 months, you gain a whole new perspective on what you need to do to get there. And maybe you'll think twice about buying that third drink at happy hour.
Personally, I’m in a comfortable place with my emergency fund, and I’m already saving for retirement through my employer-sponsored 401(k). Add to that that my bills are on auto-pay, I have a monthly budget in place, and no debt, and I’m in a good place to put aside some money for something fun.
For me, that means a trip (possibly to Peru) with a friend in 2017. A cursory search on TripAdvisor and other travel sites tells me a 10-day trip costs around $1,800 to $2,500, including airfare, hotels, souvenirs, taxis, food, and other odds and ends. I doubt I’ll go for as long as 10 days, but still, to be on the safe side I imagine I’ll want somewhere around $1,800 at my disposal.
If I plan to leave around March of next year, that’s 11 months to save, or an additional $164 per month set aside. That's not exactly breaking the bank—but for someone living in NYC on an entry-level salary, it’s a good reminder to cut out superfluous expenses.
The next logical question you'll want to ask yourself is where to save the money. Keep it in your current savings account? Invest it? Get it in cash each month and hide it in your closet? There's no one-size-fits-all answer. You need to decide what works best for you (and which way you'll be least tempted to dip into your #goal money).
So, what will you save for?
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