7 pitfalls to avoid to achieve your dreams (even the wildest ones)

What's your dream? Whether it's traveling around the world, buying a computer, new ski gear or even starting your own business, you'll need willpower--and cash.

OK, this is often where things get tough. They’ll tell you Save! and sure, you want to. But I can hear your next question loud and clear: How can I possibly do that?

Saving is less complicated than it seems. Don’t make much money? It doesn’t matter. What’s important is to maximize your savings (read between the lines: avoid unnecessary purchases).

It all starts with planning. Take the time to outline:

  • Your goals: what your dream is, how much it costs, when you want to achieve it by, how much you need to save in how much time
  • Your current expenses: cellphone, movies, candy bar at lunch, etc.
  • Your actual earnings

Once you have a game plan, you can start to make it happen it while dodging the 7 pitfalls. And the best way to avoid them is to learn to recognize them.

Pitfall #1

Count on money you just might receive for your birthday or a future babysitting job. You can add the money into your budget once you get it, not ahead of time.

Pitfall #2

Forget to budget on an annual basis. Teens usually work seasonally or part-time, and your budget needs to account for this. Your income may fluctuate, but your cellphone bill is the same every month.

Pitfall #3

Put “too much” money aside. You may end up having to dip into our savings for basic needs and undo all your efforts so far.

Pitfall #4

Spend a lot of time at the mall or window shopping online. To help yourself out, try to limit opportunities to spend.

Pitfall #5

Have too much money on you (or your debit card) when you don’t need to buy anything. Take with you only what you absolutely need.

Pitfall #6

Impulse shopping. You see something you like and just have to have it? Take a deep breath and ask yourself if having it will help you, or prevent you from achieving your dream. When you make impulsive purchases, you satisfy an emotional need. To make a rational decision, you need to give yourself time to think.

Pitfall #7

Planning (making a budget) and discipline (sticking to it) are essential to your success. To stay on track, use tools that can help you like My budget - This link will open in a new window. and Savings goals. - This link will open in a new window.

Good luck with your project! And don’t forget that when you save, you’re giving yourself the best luxury of all: the ability to achieve your dreams (even the wildest ones).

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