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How to set and achieve your savings goals

Some people love setting goals to save towards. Others only save because we know we should, even if we don’t have a specific goal in mind.

Being mindful about why we’re saving and applying some psychological techniques could increase our savings significantly. According to MoneyHelper, people who set a money savings goal save faster than those who don’t.

Here are some steps to help you save more:

1. Identify what matters

The first step to setting meaningful goals is to picture your life in 1, 5 or 10 years from now and ask yourself:

  • what would you like to be doing?

  • where do you see yourself living?

  • how would that feel?

From there, write down the short, medium and long-term financial goals that will help you create this life. It could be to save enough for a deposit for a home or, if you’re thinking long term, it could be adding to your pension so you can secure a stable retirement. 

Whatever you choose, make sure you’re passionate about achieving these goals. They need to be things that excite and motivate you.

2. Name and date your goals

When you have some goals in mind, it helps to get specific.

Maybe you’ll refer to one as your ‘Getting the keys’ project, or your ‘Financial freedom’ fund. Doesn’t that make them feel more real? More personal?

Once you have a name for your goals, be sure to add a date or milestone too. It might be, ‘Getting the Keys in 2025’, or ‘Financial Freedom at 55’. Our savings goal calculator could help you see how long it’ll take you to reach your savings goal, to help give you a firm target to aim for. 

It may also help to work out how much you need to save each month to reach your goal. Use our Regular Saver Calculator to see how much you could save over 12 months with a Regular Savings Account. 

3. Create visual reminders

If you’re serious about achieving your goals, it can help to create visual reminders. Quotes, drawings or framed images are all great ways to bring your goals to life.

Display these reminders somewhere prominent – maybe in the kitchen, bathroom or by the front door. That way, you’ll always be reminded of what’s important to you and why you’re saving.

4. Make it automatic

Once you have a clear vision of what you want, lock in that enthusiasm by automating the act of saving.

Set up standing orders from your current account to your savings and/or investment accounts, using your goal name as a reference. Ideally, set the payments to leave your account on payday so you’re prioritising paying yourself first. There are savings accounts that will transfer the amount you select on payday via standing order for you.

When you tap into the emotion behind your goals, you might find yourself spending less. If so, you can top up your savings with whatever’s left at the end of the month.