Financial Goals


Living within your means = spending no more than your income. You don’t have to be frugal in everything. Splurge on what’s important to you, as long as you make sure you aren’t trying to get your future self to pay for what you want. Dave Ramsey recommends that after budgeting, take out cash on expenses that are not fixed costs that come directly from your checking account. Then put these in envelopes labeled with their purpose (e.g., food, fun, back-to-school clothes & supplies shopping). This keeps it very clear how much is left, so you don’t overspend. Use a customizable budgeting spreadsheet for an accurate start. This is especially helpful for irregular wages.

Benefits: Budgeting can give you more clarity and peace of mind. It also saves you from late fees.

Emergency savings

Build up savings in an accessible regular savings account that is sufficient to cover one month of expenses. If you have a true emergency, such as an accident or sickness, the expense won’t have to go on credit or the slow generosity of strangers donating at the grocery store checkout. Don’t tell friends or family about your savings if you suspect they might ask for loans and if you don’t feel you have good enough boundaries to tell them it’s off limits. Just as their savings should be used for their own emergencies, not anyone else’s. Dave and others recommend that if you’re going to give, make it an outright gift. Otherwise, it could ruin a friendship or strain family ties.

Benefits: Savings gives you increased capacity to get through hard times with less stress and loss.

Decrease debt

Even if your goal is to eliminate debt, it is often helpful to consider debt for career training, such as a business opportunity, a modest-sized residence, or a car if you don’t have other reasonable commute options. You’ll end up in bad shape if you get into debt for lifestyle choices. If you want to pay off debt faster, increasing your income is an option to consider. You could take on side jobs, ask for a raise or bonus, or raise your pay rate. has some tips if this is something you're curious about.

Benefits: Escaping the trap of poverty or unfulfilling work can allow you to reach greater ease when it comes to finances and lifestyle.

Legal Will

Take this super-simple step of writing out whatever assets you have and who you want them to go to. Make sure to sign and date it. Give a copy to two people you trust. You can refine this later as many times as you want to, but make sure to sort out this first draft well. Nearly 6 in 10 U.S. adults don't have a will and according to a survey, 78% of millennials (ages 18-36) also do not have a will. To go an extra step, look up a template online for your state or province and include a living will. This can (a) ensure that the person you designate has decision-making power if you are unconscious and (b) will prevent your resources from being wasted on useless medical procedures if you were to be unconscious long-term.

Benefits: This could save a lot of probate expense, plus animosity if family members may argue about your assets when you pass.


This article discusses the ways to avoid identity theft. It breaks down the do's and don'ts when it comes to protecting your information. 

Benefits: Prevent fraud and the possibility of someone stealing your money.

Tax ease

Even if you're self-employed as a sole proprietor, you should separate your business expenses for ease of accounting. Consider hiring a finance accountant if facing your annual taxes intimidates you. The money you spend on this kind of service will likely be less than the tax deductions a consultant can help you find.

Benefits: Separate records can decrease the chance of audits.