Set your goals for National Money Smart Week!
Last week was Money Smart Week.
It’s like January 1st for your finances! A week where we can all reflect on our money saving – or not saving – habits, loans and other debts, and budgeting skills. Then, we can make a resolution; not the “I’m going to hit the gym for 3 hours every day for an entire year and never come near to chocolate,” kind of goal. But a SMART goal. One that is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely!
What’s the point of making a goal if you can’t accomplish it? At UND Financial Wellness, we believe when this method is followed, the likelihood that you will accomplish your goals will increase greatly.
Let’s first do some brainstorming. Where in your financial life do you need a tune up? Perhaps you know nothing about your student loans or how you are going to pay for school. Or, while it may be hard to believe from looking outside, summer is just around the corner. Have a plan for summer employment or summer classes? Maybe you are scrambling to find money for groceries and to pay rent at the end of the month. Whatever it is, you know your struggles – don’t hide them, use this week as a time to make changes!
When you determine this goal, make sure it is specific. A goal such as “I want to pay for more of my school instead of using loans,” has little merit. While the overarching idea is spot on, it lacks specifics to make it accomplishable. You can’t fix every financial problem in one sitting; instead, take one problem and create a solution. To revise the previously stated goal, let’s try, “I will pay half of my tuition out of pocket.”
How about a measurement? If you are trying to pay for half of your tuition, what is the dollar amount? To revise this goal, “I will pay $2000 out of pocket for my tuition,” Setting your goal so that you can measure it is vital to tracking your progress and success.
Now that you have a specific goal that can be measured with simple math, ensure that the goal is attainable. When trying to pay $2000 out of pocket, don’t plan on picking dollars off the money tree in your backyard. Determine if this goal is attainable. For the tuition goal, does this require some extra hours of work in the summer or applying for scholarships? Include this in your goal so you have the means to accomplish this. “I will pay $2000 out of pocket for my tuition by working 40 hours a week this summer.”
We can have all sorts of financial goals. Some people may hope to travel the world or own a house. For our goals for Money Smart Week, we want to focus on something relevant to our lives. As students, our financial resources are likely tighter and many of our goals are focused on necessities. Purchasing a large house or planning an extravagant trip may not be relevant to our lives at this point. Instead, a goal focused on what is pertinent to our life, such as tuition, is most important.
Finally, make your goal timely. To check up on your progress and ensure success, set a deadline. For example, “I will pay $2000 out of pocket for my tuition by working 40 hours a week this summer and saving $500 each month from May to August.”
Now that you have the steps to make healthy decisions, determine what it is that you want to change in your financial life, and take a stab at it! Track your progress and revise for your circumstances! If you need help, feel free to make an appointment: http://www.UND.edu/financial-wellness
Good luck and Happy Saving!
*Blog written by Kaitlin Bezdicek. Kaitlin is a student at UND and a peer educator for Financial Wellness.
The task for last Friday was to visit the Student Involvement Office in the Memorial Union and contribute to the “Before I Die” Project. I was really glad to see this as one of the options for the Dimensions of Wellness because I have been in the involvement office before and read all of the bucket list statements but never signed the board. I have wanted to but I was almost “too scared,” but this challenge made me buck up and do it. I am really glad I wrote what I wanted to say because it’s something kindof personal, so everytime I see it it makes me happy. I haven’t told any of my friends that I have written on the board yet and I don’t think I will tell. Also reading everybody else’s dreams was really inspirational also. I was definitely like “Omygosh I want to do that too!!”, multiple times. This was overall a great experience.
Activity: Before I Die
Date: January 25th 2012
I went to the Student Involvement center yesterday to write on the “Before I Die” chalkboard. This was the first wristband I was going to earn so I was a little unsure about the process but the girl at the help desk was very friendly and made sure to point me in the right direction.
There were a lot of goals and dreams written up on the board, a lot more then I thought there would be. It was a little overwhelming reading all the things that my peers hope to do sometime in their life time. I have a few things that I would love to achieve in my life but I had to think of the top one. I chose “To travel through Europe.” I feel like its something that a lot of people have as a goal but even if its not original its something that I would love to do in my life. My ancestors are from England and Ireland so it would be fun to see those countries, and also to see Italy, Greece and Spain. I would want to make sure that I could go to each country for an extended amount of time so I could really soak everything up.
The “Before I Die” board was really inspiring to see all the goals everyone has and wishes to achieve. I think that being a student and having the pressure to graduate as soon as possible can get to us and make us forget what life is really all about. Having an education and a job are very important things but if we aren’t emotionally happy with our lives we cant expect to be our full potential.