Skill #2 Targeting
Skill #2 Targeting
If tracking is all about clearly identifying how you spend your money, targeting is all about identifying goals, targets and priorities.
You might want to reduce your credit card debt from £973 to zero. Or you might want to save up £1000 for a holiday. You might simply want to carry £100 spending money in your wallet to go on nights out.
To improve your ability to manage money you need to have specific goals and priorities and focus on them.
To set clear goals you need accurate information about your income and expenditure. Hopefully you have a clear view of this now from your setting up your Money Dashboard as we've already discussed.
As far as money is concerned there are three targets to focus on.
- Targets to increase something (earn more)
- Targets to decrease something (spend less)
- Targets to maintain something (save more)
In any case your goals should be specific. You might set a target of saving £1,000 over the next 12 months to pay for next Christmas so you don't spend the next six months paying off credit card debt.
Christmas credit card debt is the most common burden for families in the UK, Australia and the US!
If you've tracked well, it is now a clear target for action.
Exploring your dashboard to help you set targets
Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to check out your Spend Report & explore your dashboard. Your spend report is designed to help give you some general insights into your spending patterns. Think of it a bit like a ‘conversation starter’ to help you start getting value from Money Dashboard & identify areas you could begin to make changes in.
Find out how you can dig into the details or your spend report to uncover areas of your finances to investigate further.
Why not find out how you can use your dashboard to answer more questions like:
1. I want to explore how my spend changes over time
2. I want to know how much I spent on a particular category in a month
3. I want to see how much I spent & how often I shopped at a particular merchant
Exploring your transactions
Transactions are the backbone of Money Dashboard. Think of your transactions screen as a bit like a bank statement on steroids. You can search, edit, tag & split your transactions. Way more functions than your bank (& across all your accounts to boot).
Use the transactions screen if you want to:
- Find a particular payment
- Understand how much you are spending at a particular merchant
- See how many times you pay for little things on your card (and how much they add up!)
Even just scanning through it can be an incredibly powerful tool for helping you change your spending habits.
BONUS: Spending Targeting Challenge
Want to find out how much you actually spend at Starbucks / Amazon / on takeaways / [insert other thing you worry you might be spending too much on] over the last couple of months?
Find out the answer in under 2 minutes.
- Login to Money Dashboard
- Open the transactions page
- Set the date filter to “last 3 months”
- Type your keyword e.g. Amazon into the description filter
- Click "results summary" & you will see the total value & number of transactions in this period