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smart goals

Life is getting busy and you need cash for things like nights out with friends, lunch money, school trips, prom, clothes, cars, and college.

It is time to take control of your money and learn money management skills. The smarter you are about your money, the more money you will have!

The more responsible you are with your money now and the more you know about saving, spending, budgeting, and borrowing, the more likely you’ll be able to make smart decisions about money in the future.

Earn, Plan, and Save

First and foremost, if you want money, you need to earn it. Maybe your parents already give you an allowance, but maybe you want more. If you don’t get an allowance, maybe you do chores for neighbors to make money. Or better yet, you have a summer or part-time job.

The question is: What you do with the money once you make it? Do you spend it as it comes in? Do you put any (or all) towards savings? Do you even know where all the money went once it’s gone?

The first step to taking control of your finances is to figure out where your money is actually going every month. The best way to do this is to keep track of what you are spending your money on, and how much you’re spending. Next, you need to set SMART financial goals and, lastly, you need a plan for your money, also known as a budget.

Saving is much easier if you know what you are saving for and how much money you need. The best way to do this is to set SMART financial goals.

Specific: What exactly needs to be accomplished? Who else will be involved? Where will it take place? Why do I want to accomplish this goal?

Measurable: How will I know I’ve succeeded? How much of a change do I need to make? How many accomplishments or actions will it take?

Achievable: Do I have, or can I get, the resources needed to achieve the goal? Is the goal reasonable for me? Are the actions I plan to take going to bring me success?

Realistic: Is it worthwhile for me right now? Is it meaningful to me? Will it delay or prevent me from achieving more important goals? Am I willing to commit to really achieving this goal?

Timely: What is the deadline for reaching the goal? When do I need to take action? What can I do today?

(continued on to Creating a Budget)...

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a non-profit organization providing free credit counseling, low-cost debt management services and homebuyer education to first time house buyers as well as those re-entering the housing market. Available on desktops, laptops and mobile devices, ACCC's online home buyer course provides help for first time buyers and the certification required to close on certain loans. ACCC's online home buyers course provides everything buyers need to know about purchasing a home – from working with realtors to preparing for closing. In addition to a first home buyers course, ACCC also offers counseling for consumers considering reverse mortgage solutions, with information about qualifying for a reverse mortgage and answers to questions like "How do reverse mortgages work?"

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