Almost everyone knows the importance of saving money. The COVID-19 pandemic caused our lives to change drastically. Some people were in the unfortunate situation of losing their jobs and struggling to pay for basic necessities. Now is the time to find your saving money motivation and reach financial goals like starting an emergency fund.
A creative way to visualize your goals is by creating a money vision board. You might have heard of vision boards before. But you may not be familiar with one that’s specifically about money. We’ll learn more about what this financial vision board is, why you should create one, and much more.
What Is a Money Vision Board?
A vision board is basically a collage of phrases and pictures representing goals you want to accomplish. Your hopes and dreams are visually represented. Instead of just writing down your goals, you gain inspiration and motivation through this visualization to help you reach your goals.
A financial vision board is different in how your goals associated with it are all tied to finances in a way. Think of all the goals you have that are related to money. Taking a European trip, the home of your dreams, and that new video game system all rely on money to make them a reality. So you take your goals of increasing your income, saving money, or getting out of debt and put them into a visual form.
Another difference in using this financial freedom vision board is that they are often used to track your progress. For example, if you want to save $2,000 towards an emergency fund, you create a thermometer to track your savings progress. Or you could use a payoff tracker if your vision is to become debt-free.
Why Should You Create a Money Dream Board?
The primary reason that you should create a dream board for your financial goals is simple. We are more likely to accomplish our goals if you can picture them. And a dream board works that way. The old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” is true when it comes to goals.
Even if you write down your goals, keeping them in a notebook that you don’t crack open every day will not keep them top of mind. Plus, creating a vision board goes beyond just writing your goals down. It reminds you of your reasons to save money and gives you the saving money motivation boost you need to keep moving towards your goals.
How to Create a Vision Board
The purpose of a money dream board is to create a physical representation of what you want to achieve. Goals, particularly ones that are related to finances, are ones that many people struggle to reach. Using this type of vision board, you’ll have a better chance of keeping motivated.
So once you know what financial goals you want to achieve and how you plan to accomplish them (i.e., creating a budget), take one more step by creating this vision board. Here are the steps you should take below:
Create Your Financial Goals
The foundation of your vision board is the financial goals you want to accomplish. Make sure that you have very clear goals, so you know exactly what success looks like. A method that is used in goal setting is the SMART goals method. SMART stands for:
It’s much easier for you to create this vision board using this goal-setting framework. That’s because when you can measure a specific goal where its success is realistic for your situation, and there’s a deadline, it’ll be easier to create a visual representation.
An example of a SMART goal could be the following “I want to save $5,000 to put towards a down payment on a new car by May 31, 202X.” With this goal, you can also work backward to figure out how much you’ll need to save to get there.
Decide a Board Design Method
Most of us think of a vision board as a collage of images pulled from magazines and other print sources posted on bulletin boards. But that doesn’t have to be the way you go about creating yours.
You could create a digital vision board. Many people nowadays may like using this method instead. You could put it together using a tool like Canva.com, a PowerPoint slide, or whatever you prefer. You can find inspirational images all over the internet to create your digital board.
Pinterest is a great resource for finding images to use for your vision board. In fact, many people use Pinterest to create their vision board. Search on the platform to find examples that may help generate ideas for your own.
Or print the images you find on the internet and Pinterest to create a physical vision board. Either method you use is fine. Your financial freedom vision board is about your life and no one else’s. Collect images that represent your feelings when you accomplish your goals.
Gather up Your Supplies
Once you’ve decided on your board design method, it’s time to gather your supplies. If you’re putting together a physical board, here are some items you may need:
- Poster Board or Cork Board – Pictures can be glued to a poster board, then hung on the wall. Or you can use a corkboard and use thumbtacks to put up images.
- Magazines – You’ll need to have some old magazines to find visual inspiration like phrases and pictures to represent your goals.
- Online Images – An alternative to using magazines is finding images online to represent your goals. As mentioned, Pinterest is a great online platform to use to find things for your vision board.
- Scissors – If you’re cutting images from magazines, you’ll need a pair of scissors to handle the job.
- Tacks or Glue – You’ll use thumbtacks to post your pictures on a corkboard or glue if it’s on a poster board. You’ll probably want to use a glue stick because it’s less messy.
If you’re using a digital vision board, then you’ll need to find an online graphic design tool to use. You could also create your board digitally, then print it out to hang up or place around your home.
Find Images and Quotes That Help You Envision Your Financial Goals
Now you’re getting to the fun part! It is where you’ll go through the internet or magazines to find pictures and sayings that represent your goals. Think about how it will feel about going on that cruise vacation, retire in a golf course community, or whatever your goals entail! Your vision board should be like looking at a gateway to your future life.
Don’t forget to include the appropriate financial chart to track progress on your goal. For example, if you’re trying to save $1,000 toward a summer vacation you could add a measurement chart that you fill in as you make progress.
Create Your Collage
Remember how much fun it was when you were in elementary, and you got to make a collage in class? You’ll want to channel those feelings as you start putting together your vision board. Be sure that every piece of your poster board, corkboard, etc., is covered with an inspiring image or quote.
It’s possible to end up with more inspiration than you have space for. As long as you’re happy with how your vision is represented, that’s all that matters. Once you’re done, take a moment to review it. Make sure that there’s not anything else you want to add. Your vision board should make you feel motivated.
Make It a Habit to Review Daily
Your vision board will provide you with reasons to save money every day if you used it properly. To do this, you should look at it daily. Make sure that you place it somewhere that you’re bound to see. Your financial vision board represents the accomplishment you will feel and things you will have when your goal is reached.
One great method to go about is creating a daily ritual out of reviewing your vision board. For example, every morning when you first get out of bed, you go over to where you keep your vision board. You can take a few minutes to look at the images and think about what each of them represents. Say a few of the affirmations or quotes that you found out loud or in your head. Then simply go about your day as usual.
Creative Ways to Save Money
The purpose of a vision board is to help you take committed action to help you move towards your goals and desires. The “committed action” is what should be stressed here. You need a plan of attack to become debt-free or save for your first home. You know the importance of saving money to reach these goals. Now here are some fun ways to save money that you can add to your action plan.
Use Windfalls and Unexpected Income Towards Your Goals
This is one of those creative ways to save money that doesn’t require you to cut back on anything. Do you get a bonus from your job each year? Save it. Is the government giving you back $1,500 in tax refunds? Put it towards your emergency savings or credit card debt. You get the picture. Anytime you receive unexpected income such as a cash gift, product recall refunds, birthday money, etc., you should use those funds to reach your goals faster.
Coin Saving Strategy
When you go to the convenience store to pick up a soda or candy, save your change. Place all your coins in a separate container. Once it’s full, head to the bank and deposit the money in your savings or wherever it needs to go towards your goal. This is one of the classic fun ways to save money that people have been using for decades.
Try a No-Spend Day
Pick out a day or more each month that you vow not to spend any money, other than regular bills that are due. Once you’ve managed to practice that, keep moving up until you can handle a week of not spending money! Your brain will start training itself, and as you progress, the more money you could potentially save. Try out a no-spend challenge with some friends to make it more fun and get competitive with how long you can go without spending any money. It is a particularly helpful exercise if you are an impulsive shopper.
Start Meal Prepping
Starting to make your meals at home will cut down on your eating out costs and benefit your health. Preparing your meals in advance typically consists of planning out what you will eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks throughout the week. You’ll go to the grocery store once to pick up everything you need (don’t forget your coupons). Then you’ll spend a day, typically on the weekend, preparing all your meals. They’ll be stored in the freezer or fridge, and you’ll simply need to grab it on the way out to work or heat it up when you need a meal.
Set up your account so that a certain amount is automatically moved to your savings every time you get a paycheck. What don’t you see you can’t spend right? Paying yourself first will make it easier to achieve your goals.
Don’t forget to automate all your bills too. Missing a credit card due to date not only means that you have to pay a hefty late fee, but it will also affect your credit score. Worry less about paying your bills on time by setting up automatic payments. Almost every provider has a way for you to do this. After all, they want to get paid on time too.
If you’re using a budget, try out a mobile app that syncs to your bank and credit card accounts. That makes tracking your expenses a breeze.