New Year's resolutions

Set and achieve your money goals in 2018

Arrow hitting a target

Whether you want to take a holiday, upgrade your car, grow your super, start investing, or be more organised with your money, you're more likely to achieve your goals if you have a plan. Here are some ways to set and achieve your money goals in 2018.

Take aim at your financial target

If you're serious about reaching your money goals this year, set your target so you know where to aim. Work out what financial goals you want to achieve, then break them down into realistic steps that will lead you there. Think about your short-term goals, as well as those larger, long-term goals.

When setting your goals, make sure you consider your current financial position by taking into account your income, debts, savings, insurance, investments and superannuation.

Use our asset stocktake calculator to work out your current financial position.

Asset Stocktake Calculator

Ensure your goals are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. Setting timely goals means giving yourself a timeframe to achieve them. It also helps to visualise your goals, so put pictures on your fridge of what you want to achieve.

Make a plan for your money

Set up a budget for 2018 and use it to turn your plans into action. A budget will help you to map out your finances and work out where your money is going. Start with the essential costs like rent or mortgage, food, bills and transport, and then allocate money for the debts you are trying to pay off. Decide what proportion you will allocate to savings, considering any goals you want to achieve and your timeframe for reaching them. Anything left over can be added to your savings.

Our budget planner makes it easy to work out your money.

Budget planner

It's important to be realistic when setting your budget. Look at your spending habits, and then you can see where you can cut back to help you achieve your goals.

Track your personal expenses on the go.


Knock out your debt

If you want to get on top of your debt in 2018, break down what you owe into manageable chunks by prioritising what you can pay first.

Smart tip

Know where you stand on debts by getting a free copy of your credit report and correcting any details that are wrong.

You could start by making extra repayments on your smallest debt first. Once you have paid that off, move on to the next smallest, and so on. If you start small, by the time you get to your biggest debts you will be well equipped to knock them out.

Another option is to pay off the debt with the highest interest first.

Financial counselling is a free service you can use if you need help sorting out your debts. Financial counsellors are independent and confidential. 

Case study: Carol starts with the smallest debt first

Woman Looking At Computer (1)

Carol set a new budget for 2018 using MoneySmart's budget planner. She allocated money every payday to go towards paying off her debts, and set up an automatic transfer for each debt.

Carol then prioritised her debts in order of size and committed to allocating any spare change she had to paying off the smallest debts first. If she sticks to her plan, Carol will have paid off multiple debts by the end of the year.

Home in on your savings

Having savings will help cover you in case of an emergency, and will also help you to reach your bigger money goals. Set up an automatic recurring payment to regularly transfer money into a high-interest savings account that is easy to deposit into but hard to withdraw from.

We have lots of tips to help you zero in on your savings if you're:

Check out our savings infographic to see what other people are saving for and how they are reaching their savings goals.

Work out how much you need to save each pay to reach your goal.

Savings goals calculator

Focus on your insurance

The new year is a great time to review your insurance policies to make sure you are getting the best deal and your assets are adequately covered.

If you've been with the same insurance company for a while, ring around to others and see if you can get a better deal on your policy. Make sure any new items you have bought in the last year are covered. See our tips on mobile phone, tablet and laptop insurance.

Take charge of your super

Bring your funds together

2018 could be the year you get on top of your super. If your super is spread out across multiple funds, you are probably paying multiple sets of fees that are reducing your balance. Your super is your nest egg for your future, so why not start the year by consolidating your super into one fund so you pay less fees and grow your lump sum faster.

You might also think about contributing extra to your super in order to grow your balance. See our page on super contributions for more on how to do this.

See how much extra contributions could grow your super.

Super contributions optimiser

Learn about super

Get to know your super in 2018 by checking your investment options and what, if any, life insurance your super covers. Our page on how super works is a great place to start.

Case study: Paul commits to consolidating his super

Man On Park Bench

Paul has held several jobs over the years and realised that his super was sitting in three different super funds. He was being charged three sets of fees which was reducing the total amount he had in super.

Paul has decided that 2018 will be the year to take action. He did some research and decided which fund to keep, then started to follow the steps on MoneySmart's consolidating super funds page. Once his money is in one fund, Paul will review his investment options and life insurance cover through super.

Invest in your future

If your debts are under control and you've built up some savings, 2018 could be the year to think about investing to get your money working harder for you.

Boost your investment knowledge

Never invest in something you don't fully understand; take the time to read up on the types of investment options you're interested in. ASIC's Investor Toolkit will show you where to start.

You might also consider reading money or investing magazines, or following finance and investing experts on social media.

Invest for your time frame

It's best to choose an investment based on how long you are prepared to have your money tied up. Growth assets like shares and property that usually have better long-term returns, can be more volatile in the short term. We have guidance to help you choose your investments.

Stay in your comfort zone

Regardless of how long you're prepared to wait for a return, if your investments could cause you to lose sleep, then they are not worth the risk.  You need to feel comfortable that your investment choices fit your risk tolerance. Find out more about risk and return.

Setting and achieving money goals will help you move towards financial freedom. By putting a good plan in place and committing to keeping your money on the right course, you can make 2018 your best year yet. 

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Last updated: 16 Oct 2018