How to Start Saving for Your Dreams

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of The Co-operators. All opinions are 100% mine.

We All Have Dreams Worth Saving For

There are so many dreams I have, ones I have been able to accomplish and ones I am still working to achieve. I believe that hoping for things and endeavouring for those things is one of the most fulfilling aspirations.

However, when pursuing a dream that involves a financial expense, a lot of emotions are involved and anxiety can surface. But, with a plan and expert advice, you can find reassurance in how to move forward to reaching your goal. One of the things I’ve learned in my financial literacy journey is that it’s never too late to start saving.

When a goal or a dream involves a financial commitment, having support that builds your financial literacy is extremely beneficial. Financial literacy is what helps ease anxiety while at the same time directing your planning efforts more accurately. To help reach your savings goal, leaning on the expertise of financial representatives of The Co-operators team is a great place to start: learn more here

Before I create a financial plan for a specific savings goal, I ask myself a few questions:

  1. How long should I save for this goal? (short-term vs long-term)
  2. What are my monthly expenditures, averaged over the past half a year?
  3. What is my monthly income, averaged over the past half a year?
  4. Do I currently have a budget in place, and if so, when is the last time I updated it?
  5. Would it be feasible to save a lot over a short period or save a little over a long period?

How we budget is a very personal thing, and a lot of factors need consideration when you begin planning. Understandably, you may feel apprehensive about creating a savings goal that fits your needs. The Co-operators helped me to understand that budgeting is an essential financial skill to develop. It’s completely understandable to have lots of questions when it comes to how to save. To realise your goals, it’s important to have a plan.

Coming up with a savings plan is not one-size-fits-all; every person has distinct needs and considerations. Having help in the planning process can also ease the anxiety of creating a savings goal. From personal experience, talking with a financial representative helps put your mind at ease and even get you excited about your future.

Budgeting is a financial skill; mastering it will increase your financial literacy. That is why consulting a financial representative, as you can find at The Co-operators, is a way to make investing, saving, or planning for retirement less daunting.

The Co-operators offer a five-step approach to help you reach your savings goals:

  • Step 1: Define and prioritize your goals
  • Step 2: Determine how much you need to save
  • Step 3: Decide how much you can spend
  • Step 4: Debug your list
  • Step 5: Deposit your savings automatically

You can get more details about this approach and use The Co-operators savings goal calculator on their website: cooperators.ca

In our household, we are saving for our children’s post-secondary education. While at the same time, the desire to travel more with our kids is something we want to include in our budget and savings plan. Our family would love to visit Japan!

Our monthly budget emphasizes saving money by spending less on eating out and more attention to meal prep. The more we save, the more we look at other ways to spend less, like cutting out cable television and opting to enjoy streaming services. We also prioritize the needs of our family and watch out for overspending due to things like the fear of missing out. We learned that by spending less money buying coffee while we are out, we create luxury from home with better coffee making tools (leading to the unexpected joy of becoming an amateur barista).

These are some of the particulars of our household, like mindfully recording our expenses or knowing what amount we can afford to put into a savings account each month. Everyone has different goals and dreams – if it requires a financial commitment, there is a savings plan out there that will work for you.

If you need help creating that plan, consulting a financial representative from The Co-operators may be what is best for you. Whether it is saving for now or the future, finding what works for you or your household can help give you financial peace of mind and encouragement to fulfill your goals!

Emily Smith
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