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Happy summer! As the first half of 2019 ends, take a step back and see how far you’ve come this year. Mid-year is the perfect time to reevaluate and refocus on your annual financial goals.

A lot of questions have come our way lately about saving money, particularly for big life milestones. Here’s a recap of a few savings topics we’ve been focusing on:

April: Saving BEFORE spending:

Prioritizing saving over spending can be very tough for a lot of people. It’s completely understandable. Bills pile up every month just waiting to be paid. You hold off until payday finally rolls around. Then as soon as that money hits your bank account, you start spending.

You pay the utility companies, mortgage lender or landlord, credit card companies, student loan servicing companies, cell phone company, and all those monthly subscription services. Then it’s the Amazon ordering, Target runs, restocking the fridge and cabinets, online shopping, happy hours and date nights. Before you know it, your bank account is in dire need of another reload. And saving anything at all seems like an impossible task.

What if you could break the endless cycle? Pay your own savings accounts first, before you start paying everyone else. Automate things if that’s what it takes to build the habit. You’ll find that you’ll make the necessary adjustments to your lifestyle. Your own financial goals are important. Move them to the front of the line!

May: Travel funds: Saving for your next big adventure

We totally get it. There’s nothing more exciting than going on a grand adventure with your friends, family, or loved one. Travel changes the way we see the world and gives us perspective in our lives. If travel is what you love to do, more power to you. Get out there and explore!

There is absolutely zero shame in spending your hard earned money on travel, so long as you plan for it in advance. Let’s face it: paying for big trips can be costly. Here are a few simple steps to making funding those adventures doable:

  • Plan it out: How much can you really put aside each year for travel? The easiest way to figure out that number is by setting it as a goal in your financial plan and seeing how the rest of your financial picture is affected. 
  • Start a travel fund: Make this a separate account away from your everyday bank account. That way it provides a barrier to accessing the funds for other expenses.
  • Automate your contributions: We are big fans of automated savings of any kind. Automate your contributions to your travel fund account if at all possible. That way, you’re paying yourself before you pay everyone else. Kudos to you!
  • Stay within your budget: While you surf the web and monitor your travel apps for the best deals, make sure the money you’re spending isn’t going to exceed how much you’ve saved. There are loads of places you can go without racking up debt. Aim for those for now, and hold off on the more expensive trips until your savings allow for it. 

Best of luck and Bon Voyage!

June: Motivations behind saving money

What motivates you to save? Buying something special, spending time with your loved ones, traveling to new and exciting destinations, or something else entirely? For us, it’s the prospect of exploring the world with our family.

Whatever it is that motivates you to take a money minute, keep those goals front and center. Take a moment to check on your financial accounts each day. Log on and see how things are looking. Check your credit cards, bank accounts, and investments. Consider ways you may be able to cut down on a little unnecessary spending. Refocus on what you’re looking to accomplish in the near future and years from now.

Want to add more personal finance education to your life? Subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter, The Monthly Interest and follow The McKay Wealth Blog.