visual goals for finances

Why You Need Visual Goals For Your Finances

“This article was originally published at HiCharlie.com

Let’s talk money goals. What are yours?

If you have a big, audacious financial goal, it can seem really overwhelming — maybe you’re wondering how you can keep yourself motivated, or how to tackle the goal in the first place.

What if there’s a fun way to do it that also gives you the opportunity to  unleash your creativity?

Visual Goals FTW

Yup, I’m talking about turning your goals into a visual masterpiece. Aspiring Rembrandt or not, being able to see your goals can increase your chances of achieving them.

Whatever your goal is, achieving the dang thing can see scary. I know when I had a goal to save for a down payment on a house, I had no idea how I was going to set aside tens of thousands of dollars. However, creating a visual goal serves two purposes — you see the tangible effects of your goal and break it down in a realistic way. It’s like eating an elephant: you eat it one bite at a time.

What do I mean by visual goals? Simple: you’re creating a way to track the progress of your goals alongside the overall goal. There are a myriad of examples online, like debt payoff charts you color in, or coloring pages for savings goals.

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Let’s look at an example: you decide you want to set aside $10,000 to replace your roof. You can create a large poster replica of your home and draw roof shingles where each one represents $100 towards your goal. Every $100 you set aside, you get to color in one roof shingle.  

Or let’s say you want to save $2,000 for your next family vacation. It can be hard to imagine with bills to pay off and everyday expenses piling up. Instead, break it down starting with a drawing of your dream spot.How about $5 or $10 dollars here and there? Soon, those $5 or $10 dollars will stack up — and you’ll get a buzz every time you color in another palm tree on the picture of an island you drew to represent your dream vacation.

Sound silly? Get this:

People who write down their goals are 33% more likely to achieve them. Visual goals can absolutely help you work towards them.

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Turn it into a game

Setting visual goals can be fun because it gamifies the saving journey.  Make a cool poster or a chart that you keep in your where you see it everyday, you want to fill it up or have it all colored in. Every time you pass by you’ll think, “How can I color in that flower petal faster?” or, “OMG only $300 until I get to color that bike tire in!”

Even creating the visual goal tracker can be a game in and of itself. First, you’ll need to think about what you want it to look like and then find a way to break it down into parts you can color. It’ll also force to you crunch numbers to see what the final goal amount is, and what each milestone will be. (And determining reasonable benchmarks! As in, if you’re looking to pay down debt, what’s more realistic: $50 or $100 increments?)

Ultimately, you’ll start to think of money as something other than a source of worry. Come on, you’re coloring in a poster or creating a piece of art. It’s not just about being good or bad with your money, it’s about finding a fun way to track your accomplishments as you work towards your goals.

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I’m Convinced. How Do I Create One Of These Things?

There’s no right or wrong way to create a visual goal. As long as you make it clear what your overarching goal is and breaking it down in increments, let your inner Picasso shine!

For example, Amy Jones from Map Your Progress creates posters of swirls that join together to form one large image. If you use one of these or something similar, each swirl would represent part of your savings or debt slaying goal.. Your overall goal is achieved when the whole thing is colored in.

Start by determining what your goal is — get specific in the dollar amount. Maybe you have credit card debt to pay off, or you want to set aside money for your 10th-anniversary trip. Once you determined the total amount, break it down into smaller chunks. For example, f you’re setting aside money to pay off $5,000 worth of credit card debt, divide that amount by 50, so each part of your visual goal represents $100.

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Not into coloring inside the lines? Get as creative as you want.

Here are some examples to get your artistic juices flowing:

  • Build a Lego castle and as you pay down your debt, take out one block until it’s totally demolished.
  • Print some cute labels and stick them onto a bunch of jars. . As you fill them up with literal cash (or use something like buttons to represent the money), change the labels or screw on a lid to indicate that jar is filled.
  • Create a large thermometer (like the ones you see for charities when they set donation goals) and set it on an easel in your kitchen for your family to see.
  • Create a spreadsheet in your planner or bullet journal — there are TONS of templates out there.
  • Use a wall in your home and great an image using sticky notes. Take down a sticky note until it’s all gone!

You know you have the drive and the determination. Now go attack those financial goals.

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