How to Budget and Save Money with Savings Goals
No matter what you’re saving up for, from a new car to your dream entertainment center, the best way to get there is to set a goal and make a plan:
- Figure out how much you need to save
- Decide what you can put toward your goal each month
- Calculate when you’ll have enough
- Stick to the plan
Of course, it’s not always that simple. As things come up, you might need to borrow from your savings to pay for something else. Or you might forget to make a contribution or two during a busy time.
An app like Simplifi by Quicken can help you create a plan and stick to it while giving you enough flexibility to handle anything that comes your way.
Creating, tracking, and planning to meet your goals
If you want to run a marathon, creating that goal is easy. All you have to do is say it: “I want to run a marathon.” Making it happen is the hard part. Training every day, building up your endurance—those things take time.
Saving up for a big financial goal is the same kind of thing. You get there bit by bit, saving what you can every month and not giving up. Fortunately, there are tools to make that easier.
When you create a savings goal in Simplifi, the app builds those monthly contributions into your spending plan automatically. It helps you remember to make them, and it makes sure you don’t spend that money by mistake.
It also shows you how far you’ve come, helping you stay motivated.
Better yet, once you’ve saved up enough to start putting your dream into action, Simplifi lets you spend those savings while still giving you credit for all that hard work!
To create a savings goal:
- Find “Goals” or “Savings Goals” in your menu
- Create a goal from the list or choose “Custom” to make your own
- Name your goal and fill in the amount
- Choose a date or a monthly contribution amount
- Select “Yes, subtract it” to include your goal in your plan
Create as many goals as you like. You don’t even have to set up separate savings accounts. Contribute to your goals from any account, at any time. Simplifi keeps track of it all for you, showing you how much of each account is earmarked for your savings.
Withdraw from your savings to spend toward your goal
Whether you’re saving toward a vacation, holiday gifts, or a new entertainment system, you probably won’t want to wait until you’ve saved up every dime.
Instead, you’ll buy your plane tickets ahead of time, start your holiday shopping bit by bit, or maybe invest in that gorgeous TV before you buy the surround-sound speakers.
Simplifi lets you track your spending from the money you’ve already saved without losing “credit” for having saved it in the first place, so you’ll always know how far you’ve come and how much you have left to finish out the project.
Each savings goal will show you the total amount you’ve saved toward that goal, how much you’ve already spent, and how much you still need to save to reach your target.
Withdraw from your savings to spend on other things
For better or worse, sometimes you’ll also want to take money out of those savings to spend it on other things. Maybe your car’s starting to have engine trouble, or maybe you just decided to adopt the stray kitten that followed you home.
Whether you want that cash for emergency repairs or vet bills, Simplifi’s savings goals let you remove money for anything you need and make up those contributions later.
You can even move money in and out of different savings goals when your priorities change.
Let’s say your vacation got delayed a year (as a totally random example.) You can move money out of your vacation savings and use it toward your entertainment system whenever you want to. If you can’t visit the Alps for a few more months, you can at least stream Netflix in style.
How to Withdraw from Your Savings Goals
Let’s say you’ve been saving up for that entertainment center, and you want to make your first purchase for the project: a new gaming console.
You still have a long way to go toward your final vision, but you want to go ahead and buy the gaming system now.
Here’s how to do it, without losing credit for what you’ve already saved.
1. Select your savings goal
In Simplifi, choose Goals from the menu and find your Entertainment Center savings goal in your list.
On the right-hand side, you’ll see a vertical row of three dots. Tap on the dots to bring up the goal’s menu of options.
2. Choose to withdraw from your goal
In that menu, choose Withdraw from goal. On the next screen, choose whether you want to Withdraw to spend for goal or Withdraw for another purpose.
In this example, we’re spending money on our goal by buying that game system a little early, so we’ll choose Withdraw to spend for goal.
3. Complete the withdrawal
Simplifi will show you how much you’ve saved and spent on that goal so far. Choose which account you want to withdraw the cash to and the amount you want to withdraw, and tap Withdraw.
Remember, your cash was already in that account. You’re not literally withdrawing money or moving it anywhere. You’re just telling Simplifi to keep track of the fact that you’re spending it.
When you choose to withdraw the funds, Simplifi will update both your savings goal and the display on that account automatically.
4. See your spending—and your progress
Now, when you look at that savings goal again, you’ll see that the progress bar has split into different colors.
- The dark blue on the left shows how much you currently have available in that goal.
- The purple bar in the middle shows how much you’ve spent.
- The light blue on the right is what you still need to save to reach your original target.
If you need to withdraw money for other things, the process is basically the same. Simplifi just tracks it differently because you’re moving the money out of that goal for something else.
Life can be unpredictable, and sometimes priorities change midstream. That’s okay.
With Simplifi’s savings goals, you’ll be more prepared no matter what surprises come your way—including the good ones.
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