Top 10 Good Things to Save Up For: Smart Financial Goals for Your Future

Deciding on good things to save up for can shape your financial future by giving you reasons to create good habits. Whether it’s an emergency, a down payment on a home, your education, or retirement, saving requires a plan and prioritization. In this guide, we’ll uncover ten wise financial goals to target your savings efforts, ensuring your money not only is there for immediate needs but also builds a foundation for long-term security.

Key Takeaways

  • An emergency fund is crucial for financial stability and should contain 3-6 months of living expenses; start small and build gradually, keeping the money in accessible, low-risk accounts.
  • When saving for a home, create a detailed plan, understand mortgage dynamics, and remember to save for additional expenses like maintenance on top of the down payment.
  • Learning and investing in education can significantly benefit your future; start an education savings account early, like a 529 or ESA, to minimize reliance on loans for higher education costs.

Building Your Emergency Savings

Imagine that you’re driving down the highway without a care in the world when, suddenly, your car sputters and dies. The mechanic tells you the repair will cost a hefty sum. Now, imagine you have an emergency fund set aside for situations like this. You won’t have to worry about dipping into your savings or maxing out your credit card.

An emergency fund is your financial safety net, created to cover unexpected expenses and protect against income loss. Financial experts suggest that this fund should contain 3-6 months’ worth of living expenses to cover necessary expenses such as home and car repairs, medical bills, or sudden income loss. Having an emergency fund in place before directing your savings towards debt repayment or retirement ensures that your financial plans are not disrupted by unexpected costs.

Starting Small with Your Emergency Fund

Getting started with your emergency fund doesn’t have to be daunting. You can start small. Even setting aside a small amount (even if it’s only $10 a week) can help you build the habit of saving. Small changes can add up quickly, allowing for the formation of an emergency fund. And the best part? You can automate this process. By setting up recurring transfers or splitting your paycheck between your checking and savings accounts, you ensure regular, effortless contributions to your emergency fund.

Remember, active tracking of your income and expenses through your checking account and putting money aside for annual bills and payments are key to achieving financial security and saving money. By focusing on the important things to save for, you can ensure a stable financial future.

Where to Keep Your Emergency Savings

Once you’ve started building your emergency fund, it’s crucial to store it in a place that is easily accessible and low-risk. This is not money that you’re trying to grow significantly; it’s money that you might need at a moment’s notice. Therefore, high-yield savings accounts, online savings accounts, or money market accounts are recommended for maintaining your emergency savings.

Online-only banks can offer better yields on savings accounts due to their lower operational costs compared to traditional banks. However, avoid keeping your emergency fund in checking accounts that offer low-interest rates and are too easily accessible, potentially leading to unnecessary spending. Also, look for accounts without annual fees to maximize your savings.

Growing Your Emergency Fund

Once you’ve got the basics down, it’s time to focus on growing your emergency fund. One effective strategy is to apply the 50/30/20 budget rule, where 20% of your income is earmarked for financial goals, including your emergency fund. Start with manageable savings targets and increase your contributions over time. This makes it more likely that you’ll achieve a well-funded emergency reserve.

Setting up automatic transfers and utilizing features like round-ups and surprise savings can ensure regular, effortless contributions to your emergency fund. Remember, the goal is to have enough money to cover your living expenses for at least three to six months. So, keep saving until you reach this goal!

Saving for a Down Payment on a Home

Purchasing a home is likely one of the most significant financial decisions you’ll ever make. It’s not just about having a roof over your head – it’s about securing a valuable asset for your future. However, this decision comes with a substantial upfront cost: the down payment. A down payment is crucial for securing property and covering associated expenses such as mortgage payments, homeowners insurance, and ongoing maintenance.

Therefore, saving for a home down payment is a wise investment. Besides the down payment, it’s also important to save an additional 1% to 2% of the home’s purchase price annually for maintenance projects to preserve the home’s value and functionality.

Crafting a Savings Plan for Homeownership

Saving for a home may seem overwhelming at first, but with a solid savings plan, you can make your dream of homeownership a reality. Start by determining your monthly take-home pay and categorizing your expenses. This will help set a realistic budget for saving towards a down payment.

When crafting a savings plan, it’s important to know the expected amount needed at closing, which includes not only the down payment but also additional fees like closing costs. Mortgage preapproval can provide a clearer picture of affordability and help set a realistic down payment savings goal. Don’t forget to factor in the flexibility needed for additional homeownership expenses beyond the mortgage, such as property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and potential costs for appliances, furniture, repairs, or renovations.

Understanding Mortgage and Market Dynamics

When it comes to buying a home, understanding mortgage types, interest rates, and market conditions is crucial. Mortgage interest rates critically affect the total cost of buying a home, with even minor reductions saving thousands over the life of the mortgage. Larger down payments typically secure lower interest rates, reducing the overall mortgage cost, whereas smaller down payments could mean higher overall interest payments.

A higher credit score can lead to lower mortgage interest rates, diminishing the cost of borrowing. Different mortgage types, such as FHA, USDA, and VA, offer differing interest rates and down payment requirements affecting home-buying affordability. By understanding these dynamics, you can make more informed decisions and save money in the long run.

Investing in Education

Investing in education is an investment in your future. Whether it’s saving for your child’s college education or investing in personal development courses for yourself, education can open up a world of opportunities. Setting up a college savings plan like a 529 account allows families and friends to contribute, providing a structured way to save for future higher education costs.

Starting education savings early maximizes the growth potential of contributions, reducing dependence on loans while preserving eligibility for other types of financial aid.

Setting Up an Education Saving Account

Setting up an education savings account is easier than you think. You can start with a minimal contribution, typically around $25. Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), also known as Coverdell accounts, allow funds to be used for eligible elementary and secondary expenses in addition to higher education costs.

Parents can even create a unique gifting link for their child’s 529 account, allowing family and friends to contribute towards college savings for occasions like birthdays and holidays.

Balancing Education Costs with Financial Goals

While investing in education is important, it’s equally crucial to balance education costs with other financial goals. Remember, options like loans and scholarships can help fund college costs, but similar aid isn’t available for retirement. Adjusting your vision for retirement, such as what retirement would look like with less saved, can help in prioritizing funding a child’s education.

Preparing for Retirement

Retirement may seem like a distant reality, but it’s never too early to start preparing for it. In fact, the earlier you start saving for retirement, the less money you need to reach your goals over time. Investing early in retirement accounts allows for more time for the accounts to grow, taking advantage of compounding returns.

Choosing the Right Retirement Account

Choosing the right retirement account can be confusing with so many options available. The two main types of Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) are traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Traditional IRAs allow individuals to save for retirement with tax-free growth or on a tax-deferred basis, while Roth IRAs offer tax-free withdrawals in retirement.

Alternatively, 401(k) plans are employer-sponsored retirement accounts that offer several tax advantages, including direct contributions from paychecks and tax-deferred investment growth.

Estimating Your Retirement Needs

Estimating your retirement needs is not a one-size-fits-all equation. It’s influenced by factors like cost of living, location, health, and desired lifestyle. You should consider saving at least:

  • 1x your salary by age 30
  • 3x by 40
  • 6x by 50
  • 8x by 60
  • 10x by age 67

Of course, these are just guidelines. The actual amount will depend on your personal situation and lifestyle expectations in retirement.

Debt Repayment Strategies

Debt is a reality for many of us, but it doesn’t have to be a lifelong burden. By implementing effective debt repayment strategies, you can free yourself from this financial burden sooner. Large consumer debts can prevent the accumulation of savings and the building of wealth.

Therefore, it’s crucial to focus on paying off high-interest debt as soon as possible.

Tackling High-Interest Debt First

High-interest debts, like credit card debt and payday loans, can quickly balloon if left unchecked. That’s why it’s important to tackle these debts first.

The avalanche method prioritizes debts by interest rate, focusing on paying off those with the highest rates first. By targeting high-interest debts first, the avalanche method reduces the total amount of interest paid, resulting in savings over time.

Using Debt Snowball or Avalanche Methods

Debt repayment strategies like the snowball or avalanche methods can help you gain control over your finances. The snowball method focuses on paying off debts from the smallest balance to the largest, building motivation by quickly clearing smaller debts. On the other hand, the avalanche method targets the most expensive debts first, focusing on those with the highest interest rates, which can lead to savings on interest paid. Both methods require a commitment to regular payments and a clear understanding of your debts.

Planning for Major Purchases

From buying a new car to buying the ATVs or boat you’ve been dreaming of, we all have major purchases we dream of making. But these large purchases can derail our savings goals if we’re not careful. That’s why it’s crucial to prioritize saving for such purchases and develop good savings habits.

This way, you can make your dream purchase without breaking the bank or going into debt, and even save more money.

Timing Your Purchases

When planning for a major purchase, timing is everything. Major appliances are often priced best during holiday sales, off-season periods, towards the end of the month, or just before or after new models are released. So, planning your purchase around these times can help you snag a great deal and save money.

Comparing Prices and Options

When making a major purchase, don’t just settle for the first price you see. Use comparison-shopping sites and apps like Honey that automatically check for the best price and apply discount codes. Consider the cost savings of buying in bulk for non-perishable items, but factor in storage space and how quickly you’ll use the items.

By comparing prices and options, you can ensure you’re getting the best deal for your money.

Creating a Personal Finance Buffer

Life is unpredictable. An unexpected repair, a sudden job loss, or a medical emergency can throw your finances into disarray. That’s where a personal finance buffer comes in. This is money set aside to cover unexpected expenses or to tide you over during periods of reduced income.

Having this buffer can provide peace of mind and reduce money stress.

How Much to Save in Your Financial Buffer

So, how much should you save in your personal finance buffer? A good guideline is to have at least three months’ worth of essential outgoings in an instant-access savings account. This means if your monthly essential expenses are $1,000, you should aim to have at least $3,000 in your financial buffer.

Accessing Your Buffer When Needed

Having a financial buffer isn’t necessarily helpful if you don’t know when to use it. It’s important to set clear guidelines for yourself on what qualifies as a true emergency, such as significant repairs or medical bills, to ensure that the financial buffer is used appropriately when needed.

Before accessing your buffer for a large, unexpected expense, consider alternatives such as payment plans to preserve your emergency funds for absolute necessities.

Funding Your Next Trip

Everyone deserves a break from the routine once in a while. Maybe you’ve been dreaming of lounging on a beach in Bali, exploring the ancient ruins in Rome, or embarking on a road trip across the country. Whatever your dream vacation looks like, planning and saving for it can make it a reality without straining your finances.

Travel Budgeting Tips

Traveling doesn’t have to break the bank. With some smart planning and budgeting, you can enjoy your dream vacation without going into debt. Start by calculating the total cost of your trip, including transportation, accommodations, and daily spending. Then, create a monthly budget to save up for it.

You can also use travel rewards credit cards to earn points on your everyday spending, which can then be redeemed for flights, hotel stays, and other travel expenses.

Smart Spending During Travel

During your trip, there are several ways to stretch your travel budget. For instance, you can pack a collapsible water bottle to refill instead of purchasing bottled water, saving on costs and reducing plastic waste. You can also explore free tourist attractions, which can create memorable experiences without impacting your travel budget.

With these smart spending money strategies, you can enjoy your trip without worrying about overspending.

Pursuing a New Hobby or Skill

Hobbies aren’t just a way to pass the time. They can also be a source of joy, stress relief, and personal growth. Whether you’re interested in painting, gardening, coding, or learning a new language, pursuing a new hobby or skill can be a rewarding experience.

And who knows? Your hobby might even turn into a lucrative side hustle one day.

Budgeting for Hobby Expenses

While hobbies can enrich our lives in many ways, they can also be costly. But don’t worry – with a bit of planning and budgeting, you can enjoy your hobby without breaking the bank.

Start by setting a budget for your hobby expenses. You can use free resources, purchase or borrow used equipment, or even create a gift wish list for supplies.

Earning from Your Hobby

Did you know that your hobby could become a source of income? From selling handmade jewelry or crafts online to offering photography services or cooking classes, there are plenty of ways to monetize your hobby. Just remember to be realistic about the costs involved, as hobbies generally require a greater investment up front, and ongoing expenses may not diminish over time.

Securing Your Financial Future with Investments

Investing is a powerful way to grow your wealth over time and secure your financial future. But for many of us, the world of investments can seem daunting and complex. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. With a basic understanding of different investment options and a sound investment strategy, you can take control of your financial future.

Getting Started with Investment Savings

Getting started with investment savings is easier than you think. The first step is to develop financial literacy. Understanding financial concepts, market trends, and investment options can help you make informed decisions. The Investment Essentials Course from Objective Measure is a great resource for this kind of training! 

It is important to aim to save 20% of your income for long-term investment goals. This will help you build a secure financial future. Remember, investing should be a long-term activity focused on:

  • Building wealth over time
  • Diversifying your portfolio
  • Taking advantage of compound interest
  • Minimizing risk through proper asset allocation

Balancing Risk and Reward

Investing always involves a certain level of risk. However, it’s crucial to balance this risk with the potential reward. Diversification, or spreading your investments across a broad range of assets, is key to managing investment risk.

Understanding that investments can fluctuate in the short term while staying focused on long-term goals can also help manage investment risk.


Saving up for your future involves more than just stashing away a part of your paycheck every month. It requires careful planning, goal setting, and smart financial practices. From building an emergency fund and saving for a home down payment to investing in education and preparing for retirement, every step you take brings you closer to financial freedom. So, are you ready to take control of your financial future?