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Is your brain buzzing with ideas and plans? Visualizing your goals can be the first step to achieving them. Whether your ambitions are big or small, long-term or short-term, follow these steps to craft a savings strategy so you have the dollars to make your dreams come true.

Step 1: Brainstorm

Grab a pen and paper, and let your imagination roam. Think about goals you have now, where you think you’ll be in 5 years and where you want to be in 20 years. Maybe it’s a car, house, wedding, college tuition or taking a trip to Europe.

Step 2: Crunch the Numbers

Estimate the amount of money you’ll need for each goal. Perhaps you have a goal of saving $1,000 for a new high-tech TV or $2,500 for a new refrigerator. Or, maybe you’re working to build your emergency fund. Sometimes it’s hard to know how much to save for big goals in the future. Knowing the numbers can help you be more specific with your timeline and savings strategy.

Step 3: Prioritize Your Goals

Make a list with your goals ranked in order of importance and include the cost and timeframe for each. You might decide to focus on one goal at the top of your list, or save for multiple goals at the same time. Just be careful not to shortchange long-term goals like saving for retirement while you’re focused on short-term needs and wants.

Step 4: Set Your Strategy

Look at your income and monthly expenses to see how much you can save every month. Think about ways to trim your spending and make a list of actions you can take to boost your savings. Here are a few ideas:

  • Drop unnecessary cable, phone or streaming services.
  • Sell items you no longer need and put the cash into savings.
  • Contribute to your savings account when you pay off a loan.
  • Set up automatic transfers or direct deposits into your savings.

Step 5: Use the Right Tools

You can maximize your savings by choosing an account to match each of your goals. Making the right choice depends on your timeline and how accessible you want the funds to be. You can supercharge your short-term savings with a SaveFirst Account, certificate or Money Market Savings Account. An IRA or 529 college savings plan may offer tax advantages to help you save for long-term goals like retirement and college tuition. Not sure which savings product is best suited to meet your savings goals? A financial advisor at Navy Federal Financial Group can help you identify the appropriate savings options for your goals.1

Step 6: Make It Your Own

The best way to save money is any way that works for you. Tailor your savings plan to your specific goals, maintain realistic expectations and keep your eyes on the prize to stay motivated. Visual reminders—a savings chart on your fridge or images of your goals taped to the bathroom mirror—may help, and so can Navy Federal. Learn more about saving for short- or long-term goals with some of these savings techniques.

1Nondeposit investment and insurance products are offered through Navy Federal Financial Group, LLC (NFFG) and through its subsidiary, Navy Federal Brokerage Services, LLC (NFBS), a member of FINRA/SIPC and an SEC registered investment advisory firm. Brokerage and advisory products are offered through NFBS. These products are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guaranteed or obligations of the credit union, are not offered, recommended, sanctioned, or encouraged by the federal government, and may involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal.

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Navy Federal Credit Union is federally Insured by NCUA. Nondeposit investment products are not federally insured, are not obligations of the credit union, are not guaranteed by the credit union or any affiliated entity, involve investment risks, including the possible loss of principal, and may be offered by an employee who serves both functions of accepting member deposits and selling nondeposit investment products.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.