There are two types of people in January: those making New Year’s resolutions, and those rolling their eyes at other people’s New Year’s resolutions. We hear you if you’re over the fads. But if you’re a college student, your personal finances might actually be in need of a little “new year, new me”. When it comes to financial wellness, the toughest step in achieving your goals can be setting the right goals for yourself in the first place.
Instead of making a “resolution” for your money this year, make a SMART goal. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. If you don’t have any goals and you don’t know where to start, you’re not alone! Handling personal finances can be seriously daunting, especially when your schedule is already jam-packed with college classes, career planning, and social events.
So, where do you start?
In the wise words of Britney Spears, "You wanna live fancy? Live in a big mansion? Party in France? You better work b*itch."
Step 1: What are your life goals?
Do you have any short-term goals to lock down, like paying rent on time or saving for a special event? What long-term goals are important to you? You may be dreaming of graduating debt-free, moving out of state, or buying a car. Pinpoint a few reasons why getting your money right is important to you.
Step 2: Turn your life goals into SMART goals.
“I want to get in shape.” “I want to eat healthier.” “I want to save money.” Goals of this caliber are definitely not how Simone Biles won a ton of gold medals or how Kylie Jenner became a billionaire.
Step 3: Create a system to hold yourself accountable.
Your goal should not be graded like your blow-off class, because mediocre participation isn’t going to cut it. Now that you have turned life goals into SMART goals, it’s just a matter of tracking them!
1. Get a planner
2. Order a cool wall calendar
3. Download a budgeting app
4. Craft an excel sheet
5. Buy a piggybank (and write off the expense in the excel sheet)
6. Make a bullet journal
7. Create a unique system that works for you!
Big or small, simple or complex, short-term or lifelong…the first goal for a college student is to HAVE a goal. Hindsight is always 20/20, but with some SMART goals, you’ll be looking forward to a bright future.
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