Do You Save With a Specific Goal in Mind?

My husband and I are savers. In the beginning I saved solely for piece of mind. My parents are wonderful people who put me through college, but after graduation I was determined not to ask them for money. I wanted them to focus on themselves and their retirement and not worry about me. When I met the goal of security, by placing a hefty sum of money in an emergency fund, I continued to save, although I suddenly wasn’t sure what I was saving money for.

That question was answered almost immediately… I needed a new car. When I went to the car dealership I plunked down a large down payment and paid off my vehicle in full in less than a year. While my salary rose ever so slightly I put the majority of my new-found money in the bank and simultaneously paid off my car. Back then I wasn’t sure what I was saving for, but never-the-less I saved a chunk of my salary and watched my little bank account grow.

When the time came to purchase my first house at the age of twenty-three I was ready. I knew I’d own a house eventually, but I didn’t plan to purchase it at such a young age. I ran the figures, created a ton of spreadsheets and jumped in with both feet. I couldn’t have done it alone, but with the help of my husband’s salary we sealed the deal.

Again our salaries grew and we continued to pay down the mortgage on our home and saved the rest as best as we could. At the time I didn’t have a specific goal in mind, but as with all of the times before, I knew that saving money was the only goal I needed.

So when I took a walk on a beautiful, sunny afternoon while on vacation in North Carolina I had no idea that I was about to set eyes on our second home. When I came back and told my husband about the beach house he said, “The time isn’t right. Let’s continue paying down the mortgage on our first house. Let’s not think about buying another home right now.”

But we decided to take a look inside anyway. It was perfect. The price was high, but not out of our reach. Since we’ve always held open and honest conversations about money we pulled out Excel and started running the numbers. We talked about the money in the bank and decided that we didn’t want a bunch of mutual funds that we couldn’t live in or enjoy. So at twenty-seven and twenty-eight respectively we bought our second home.

Because my husband and I talk openly and honestly about money, we haven’t fought about financial topics in years. The root of our discussions focus primarily around the goal of saving. We don’t always know why we are saving money, but we know that saving money today will provide us with opportunities in the future.

The next big goal might be another rental property, working fewer hours or early retirement, but regardless of the focus we know that we need to save money today. After all our goals might change over time, but we’ll never be ready if we don’t save now.

2 thoughts on “Do You Save With a Specific Goal in Mind?”

  1. O_O Huh. We are total and complete opposites when it comes to this. I always save FOR something. All my money has a purpose and all my purposes have end dates and final amounts.

    None of it is set in stone, but I like to have at least a general idea for planning purposes. I like knowing that I’ll have the money for X saved by this time and Y saved by that time and in ten years I’ll have been able to do A, B, C, and D.

  2. When I was a kid, I just saved to save. I loved the feeling of just having money.

    As an adult, I have always saved for a purpose. I saved for house, retirement and kids college funds and each had their own specific investment.

    This is wise in order to maximize tax benefits and ensure the right types of investments are selected.

    However, saving is always better than not saving, whether you have a specific goal or not. Sooner or later, you will need the money.

    Your post has pointed this out brilliantly.


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