By Ryan Laspina
Analyst, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
Whether you are a college student or in the workforce, budgeting is essential to maintain your financial strength. Budgeting can help everyone achieve their financial goals: people who live from paycheck to paycheck, people who have large bank accounts and anyone in between.
Creating a budget is time-consuming, so make sure you set aside an appropriate amount of time to get started.
When you sit down to create a budget, the first thing to do is set some financial goals for yourself. Create a set of short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.
Setting Short-Term Financial Goals
A short-term financial goal is a goal you can reach within a few weeks to a few years. Short-term goals include paying off small loans, purchasing school textbooks with cash (not credit), or lowering your cell phone and utilities bills.
Determining Your Medium-Term Financial Goals
A medium-term goal should be reached within three to five years at a slow and steady pace. Medium-term goals include paying for and completing college, saving money for a new car or building your savings account to a certain amount.
Planning Your Long-Term Financial Goals
Long-term goals are financial goals for the distant future and could even take most of your lifetime. Ideally, plan your long-term goals for at least three years into the future. Examples of long-term goals include saving for a down payment on your “forever” home, funding your retirement, or paying off all of your student loans and personal debts.
Creating a Budget Takes Work, But It’s Worth the Effort
This three-tiered approach of setting goals allows you to budget for your immediate future while also setting yourself up for financial success later in life. Reaching short-term goals will feel good and motivate you to keep pushing forward to eventually meet those medium-term and long-term goals.
Setting goals is an important aspect of accomplishing hard tasks. Budgeting will always be necessary (and tough). However, it can be made a lot easier by creating realistic, measurable goals and sticking to them.
Budgeting might seem like a chore, but putting in the necessary time and effort to set a budget will likely pay off as you go through life.
Ready When You Are
At American Public University, students are priority one. We are committed to providing quality education, superior student resources, and affordable tuition. In fact, while post-secondary tuition has risen sharply nationwide, the university continues to offer affordable tuition without sacrificing academic quality.