Want it all (and all at once)? Tips to save for multiple goals

Do you know what you want – what you really want? And is it more than just one thing? You’re not alone. We had a chat to five people who are all chasing (or have chased) more than one goal at once and crushing it. Find out the techniques and habits they’re relying on to save for their multiple goals, including opening (and nicknaming) an account per goal among other (sometimes surprising!) strategies.

Lisa, 32

I’m aiming to buy a unit or a townhouse this year and then buy a new car shortly afterwards.

I don’t have any fancy saving techniques aside from putting a certain percentage of my earnings into a separate savings account. I’ve got the 20% deposit ready for the property. I’ve recently received expert advice about home loans, discovered my borrowing power, and I’m just waiting for my home loan pre-approval – then I’ll start actively looking. I’ll keep saving on top of the deposit so I can get a car after I buy the house. The idea is that by the time I buy the house, which will take a while, I will have enough to buy the car.

For anyone juggling multiple goals, my tip is to know exactly where your money’s going and calculate how much you want to save for each goal. Be realistic about it and create a timeline for when you want to achieve that goal. Lastly, look after yourself! Set aside money to enjoy yourself instead of trying to be too frugal; otherwise, it’ll be harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Patrik, 46

My savings goals were two-fold. I’m a first-time home builder, so the first goal was to be prepared for unplanned costs of that process. The second goal was to have a buffer for other financial surprises in life. So, in a way, I was saving for the unexpected. And it happened! My car pretty much died on me at the time I was settling my mortgage, but having some cash set aside to get it replaced made the whole thing almost a non-event.

I used three savings accounts and my credit card. First, my salary would go to my regular savings account. For daily expenses, I would use my credit card and then pay it (plus my rent) off in full from that regular savings account each month. Whatever was left over would then go to my short-term savings account. This account was for big one-time expenses (like replacing a dead car or paying a building inspector), but also things like initial deposits for the land I’d purchased and other builder costs. On average, I would aim to keep about two-and-a-half times my monthly wages in there. Anything extra than that two-and-a-half in this account would then go to a long-term savings account that would give me a higher interest rate, provided I didn’t touch it. I was using this long-term account to save for my mortgage.

To maximise your savings without having to change your lifestyle too much, I recommend spending a week or two researching and finding cheaper options for all your fixed costs like insurances, subscriptions and utilities. It worked for me.

Things I wasn’t using, I would cancel. Some of the savings were small, but added together over a year it was almost $2,000 without really doing anything different.

Bella, 22

My first goal was to save for my first home deposit (and I did it!). I knew the home I could afford would be tiny, but that’s all part of the first-home buyer experience. My other main goal is to have a family. Once the babies start coming that’s when I’ll need a bigger car too, so I’ve created separate savings accounts.

I’ve got four accounts within my banking app: I’ve named them ‘house deposit’, ‘rent’, ‘car’ and ‘spending’. I am pretty money-focused and I even have a spreadsheet for my personal life, just like I would when working professionally producing a job (I’m a producer). My partner thinks I’m nuts! Taking smaller steps like meal prepping and not wasting groceries, reducing the Uber usage, and doing more walking or taking public transport has really helped me, too.

I’ve learnt to make sacrifices to save, but my advice is to not go overboard, where you end up feeling down for missing out on life’s highlights.

Marc, 28

My two goals were to buy my first home and buy an engagement ring. And I pulled it off!

I set up multiple accounts and allocated how much I could spend (or save) each month. I was able to put 45% of my salary into a joint savings account with my partner to help us grow a deposit. And for the ring, I set up a new account where I transferred 10% of my salary into it each pay.

I’ve just settled the purchase of the home and moved into it with my partner – we’re both over the moon. As for saving for the engagement ring: I’m on track and ready to buy within the next week. I’m really stoked! 😊

My advice is to break your goals down and keep them simple. Understand the target and do the numbers to see what’s achievable. Time and patience has made it all possible for me.

Tips to save for multiple goals from Aussies who’ve done it:
  1. Calculate how much you want to save for each goal and make a (realistic) timeline for when you want to achieve them.
  2. Spend a week or two researching better deals on your fixed costs to find small savings that add up in the end.
  3. Be okay with making sacrifices to save, but don’t go overboard and miss out on the fun.
  4. Break down your goals, keep them simple – and be patient. You’ll get there.

Important information

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