5 Ways I Plan to Save $50,000 in 2023

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  • 2022 was truly a banner year for my finances.
  • I'm dreaming of a home purchase in 2024 -- if I can swing it.
  • To achieve my savings goal, I'm saving money one month at a time, increasing my income streams, avoiding big purchases, and giving myself wiggle room.

Dream big or go home

I've spent most of my adulthood worrying that I wasn't good with money. In some cases, I made bad decisions (like letting myself get talked into buying a house in my 20s, which was a terrible idea). A lot of the time, I was without enough financial resources to do more than tread water (and no matter what anyone tells you, you can't budget your way out of not making enough money). However, I spent 2022 making some big financial moves. I started working with a financial planner. I doubled my income. I got out of debt. In short, I'm ready to swim.

At the beginning of 2022, I had a vague plan to buy a house in 2023. But I've now spent all of 2022 watching mortgage rates rise, and I've also got a much clearer idea of how much homeownership actually costs. (It's a lot.) So I'm thinking I'll try for 2024 instead. I don't have a crystal ball, and I have no idea what the housing market will look like by then. But I'm not the kind of person who sits around and waits for things to fall into place for me. I know there's one big step I can take between now and then to make homeownership more possible, be it in 2024 or later: saving money. To that end, I'm hoping to save $50,000. Here are five ways I'm approaching this big financial goal.

1. Break it down to monthly goals

If you're facing a big task, a good way to approach it is by breaking it into smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, if I want to clean my apartment, I don't run around trying to do everything at once. Instead, I might start by dusting the living room, then vacuum the rugs, and scrub the bathtub. One piece at a time…and that's how I intend to save money, too. If I know how much money I need to save per month to reach my goal, it seems much less overwhelming than to focus on the big number for the year. Plus, if I have a shortfall one month, I can increase my goal for the following month, or figure out where I went wrong and make up for it (such as by working more hours or taking on more projects).

2. Increase income streams

As I refine the kind of paying work I'm targeting, I can approach potential clients based on that, and be more sure that I will both enjoy and succeed at whatever projects I take on. For example, I have a number of talented friends who are aspiring fiction writers, and I've consulted with and edited for a few of them. I enjoy reading fiction and working with authors to improve their work, and in 2023, I hope to continue to have the flexibility to accept such projects.

3. Make fewer large purchases

I definitely spent some money in 2022, and I certainly don't regret it, as many of the purchases I made (such as a new clothes dryer and a desktop computer) improved my quality of life and made me a more productive worker. That said, I'm hoping I don't have to spring for as many large purchases in 2023, thereby giving myself more money to save to meet my goal.

4. Get a head start…

I know the title of this article references the year 2023, but the truth is, I've already begun to save up my house fund. I finished my debt payoff more than three months ahead of my original goal, which means I'm not waiting until the clock strikes midnight, Jan. 1, 2023, to get started saving. I hope to start 2023 with a solid percentage of my goal met.

5…and leave some wiggle room

And just like my above point, I will not be racing the clock on saving down to Dec. 31, 2023, at 11:59 p.m. If I am able to try buying a home in 2024, I will likely be looking to do so in spring or summer. Rental leases often run from summer to summer, and I live in a part of the country that gets very cold and snowy winters -- I will not want to be seriously looking at houses or contemplating a move in those weather conditions. By waiting until spring at the earliest, I will buy myself more time to save and more time to adjust my monthly goals or income streams as needed.

I'm no stranger to big money moves after the year I've had. And I like having a goal to shoot for -- it's important to keep your dreams at the front of your mind if you want to achieve them. If you've got a money goal to chase, consider taking steps like mine to succeed.

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