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I Have Too Many Savings Goals!

Written by Jacqueline Lively

Monday, June 24th, 2019

You've set aside some money in your budget as "savings".

That's great, but what happens when your long list of savings goals stretches farther than your money? How do you juggle them? How do you know what money goes where? While there's no one-size fits all solution, there are ways to be more effective with your planning. Here are some steps that can help you get there:

Write a List

Start by making a list of what you want/need to save for and when you'd need it by. Do you have a large expected expense coming up? Are you looking to make a large purchase (furniture, car, etc) or are you looking to escape somewhere on vacation? You might want to also include creating an emergency fund, if you don't already have one.

Here's an example of a list:

Goal

Deadline

New Phone

September 1

Vacation

December 15

Annual Car Insurance

January 1

 

Determine How Much Money You Need


This can be the scary part: figuring out the totals. You'll need this to calculate how much to save each month. For emergency funds, experts recommend saving 3 to 6 months of expenses. For other goals, you can research or get quotes online. Estimations are fine but then I'd recommend over-estimating, just in case. The extra money will come in handy if prices increase or if there are unexpected added expenses.

To figure out how much to set aside each paycheque, divide each amount by the number of pay periods between now and the deadline. Once this is completed for each goal, add it all up to reach your monthly savings target:

Goal

Amount

Deadline

Remaining Pay Periods

Savings Target

New Phone

$1,000

September 1

3

$333

Vacation

$1,500

December 15

9

$167

Annual Car Insurance

$1,500

January 1

10

$150

Grand Total

$4,000

   

$650

 

Prioritize


Similar to debt repayment plans, there are different ways to prioritize and allocate your money based on your needs. Choose what works best for you. You can rank your goals based on:

  1. Obligation—Needs before wants.

  2. Significance—Prioritize your goals that are more aligned with your personal values.

  3. Urgency—Focus on the closer deadlines first.

  4. Price—Order your goals by price, and save for the lowest value (snowball) or highest value (avalanche) first.

Use Designated Savings Accounts 

Once you have your monthly savings target, the next thing to do is create a dedicated account for each of your goals.

By having everything separated, it's easier to see the progress you've been making. Before doing this, check with your bank to make sure there are no fees for this. Not sure which account to open? For emergency funds, I'd recommend putting the savings in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), so your money can grow tax free. For everyday savings goals, use a high-interest, non-registered savings account, which typically has no restrictions on withdrawals.

Automate

Through your bank, you may be able set up a recurring transfer to your savings account. The "set it and forget it" method ensures you pay yourself first and makes sure your savings goals are accounted for.

The key to saving for multiple things at once is a good savings plan. By having a plan and sticking to it, you'll have your money focused on the things that are most important to you.

 

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