10 Financial Goals Examples for Students to Set Now

Financial Goals For College Students & High School Students Too!

Today’s topic is about financial goals examples for students. Because it’s never too early to start financial planning.

Whether you are a high school student looking to get an early jump on your finances. Or, a college student juggling plenty of money challenges.

Just by the fact you found this article. And are thinking seriously about your financial future. Is a step in the right direction.

But, there is much, much more. So, let’s first talk about 10 financial goals examples for students. Then how to set SMART financial goals. All to improve your financial outlook right now…

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Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Financial Goals Examples For Students

Here is my top 10 list of financial goals for students:

  • Understand spending triggers
  • Live within your means
  • Create a budget
  • Create money processes
  • Save money if you can
  • Manage debt wisely
  • Get serious about a career path
  • Make money
  • Invest in yourself
  • Start investing

We will dive deeper into each one of these important financial goals for students in a moment. But first,

I want to talk about the 3 types of financial goals for students.

  1. Short-term financial goals
  2. Medium-term financial goals
  3. Long-term financial goals

Short-Term Financial Goals Examples For Students

A short-term financial goal is something you want to complete very soon. This is defined as up to, but no longer than 1 year.

Some examples of short-term financial goals for students might include:

  • Track your spending
  • Never use a credit card
  • Save money for something you value

All of these goals can be accomplished immediately. Or, very soon. That’s why they are short-term goals.

As a student, most of your financial goals will fall into the short-term type. But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think longer-term.

Bringing me to the next type of goal…

Medium-Term Financial Goals Examples For Students

First of all, medium-term financial goals can go by other names. Sometimes they are called mid-term financial goals. Also known as intermediate-term financial goals.

Regardless of what they are called, medium-term financial goals take longer to complete than short-term goals. Specifically, they should be achieved in 1 to 5 years.

Good examples of intermediate-term financial goals for students might include:

  • Getting a paid internship
  • Finding a full-time job after graduation
  • Paying off student loans

When you are young, several years may seem like a long time. And it is.

But it never hurts to think ahead. When it comes to these financial plan examples for students.

Finally, the last type of financial goal…

Long-Term Financial Goals Examples For Students

What is the time horizon for long-term goals? It is something you want to accomplish with your finances in more than 5-years.

Why not dream big here. I like to say if you can envision. And plan for it. You can achieve it.

You might set a goal that is too tough. But, better to do that, try, and fall a little short. Rather than not set these goals at all.

Challenging long-term financial goals for students may include:

  • Buying a home
  • Earning $100,000 per year
  • Becoming financially independent

Okay. Now you understand the 3 types of financial goals: short-term, medium-term, and long-term. And, have a few examples of each.

Next, I want to circle back to my top 10 list…

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Top 10 Financial Goals Examples For Students

And go through each of the top 10 recommended financial goals examples for students. That I listed at the beginning of the article.

Most noteworthy, these financial goals are mostly short-term in nature. Why is that? You may be asking.

Well, as a student. And in your earlier years of life. You need to start laying a firm financial foundation right now. In the short term.

If you do. Then your mid and long-term financial goal-setting process will start to fall into place with time.

On the other hand. If you don’t…

You will always be playing catch up with your finances. And may never realistically set and achieve important financial goals as an older, but still young adult.

Most importantly, I don’t want that to happen to you!

So, here’s my top 10 list of financial goals examples for students.

The list may seem overwhelming. But, don’t let it be. Consider it a menu of options to choose from.

Just choose one or two financial goals from the list for students. Accomplish them.

Then choose another one or two. Just rinse and repeat as they say.

1. Understand What Triggers Your Spending

Especially when we are young, we have unlimited wants. As compared to our financial resources.

And letting emotions and feelings prompt spending is a bad money habit. So, be conscious of your spending and what triggers it.

Here are some situations that may prompt you to spend unnecessarily.

Examples Of Emotions That Prompt Spending

Stress: Stress from a big exam. Or, a difficult family situation to deal with.

Keeping Up: Trying to keep up with your friends. And their possessions.

Boredom: Or, you lack something better to do.

Thrill: The thrill of the buy. Because buying stuff makes you feel good about yourself.

Those are just a few examples that I can think of. You may know more.

A Tip For Dealing With Your Spending Triggers

Regardless, figure out what triggers your unnecessary spending. Identify it. Then try this tip.

Write down what you want to buy right now. But don’t buy it.

Put it on your calendar to consider buying whatever it is in 1 week.  After a week passes. See if you still want to make the purchase.

I bet that most of the time. After 1 week. Whatever you wanted at the time, won’t seem so important anymore.

Make this tip a money habit. And you will be more intentional about your spending.

Both right now. And, later in life.

2. Live Within Your Means

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This financial goal for students also applies to older adults. Because all of us need to live within our means. And better yet, below our means.

One’s means refers to income. But, as a student, you may have no income.

So, it’s nearly impossible to live at or below your means. When your means are zero. Then what should you do?

Try to reduce your costs of living as much as possible. Because when you have no income. Your expenses will quickly turn into debts.

We already talked about identifying and suppressing emotional spending triggers. So, here are some practical tips to spend less…

Tips For Spending Less Money

This list is mainly for current college students. But they make great medium-term financial plan examples for students in high school too. Such as:

  • Locate a less expensive place to live
  • Split costs with a roommate
  • Live with your parents after high school
  • Consider a community college for a year or two
  • Attend a state-funded university
  • Save on groceries by shopping sales

Here’s another tip. And anyone can benefit from this suggestion…

We buy all of our necessities online. And use the cashback app Rakuten.

We get cash rebates on our purchases. And for a limited time, Rakuten is offering $10 cash.

Just for signing up. And making your first purchase.

But, only buy something you need. And were going to buy online anyway. Not an emotionally triggered purchase.

You can learn more about Rakuten here.

Here’s another way to reduce costs…

3. Create A Budget

A monthly budget is the cornerstone of these financial plan examples for students. And financial goal setting.

It is nothing more than a list of your money coming in and going out. Also, the major sources of where that money is coming from. And where it is going.

I like to refer to a budget as a personal cash flow statement. And I wrote an in-depth article about creating personal cash flow statements.

The article is full of great tips. Not only the mechanics of preparation. But most importantly, how to increase your cash flow.

By making more money. And spending less money.

Because a budget is a tool to reduce costs. Since the first step to spending less money. Is knowing what you are spending money on.

So, set a financial goal to prepare a monthly budget. It is one of many good financial planning practices.

That you should carry out for the rest of your life. So, there is no time like the present to get started.

4. Create Money Processes

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There is much more to managing money than budgeting. So, I would encourage you to set up some other simple money processes.

These processes will stick with you as you get older. And help you, as your finances become more complex.

Here are some money processes you might want to consider setting up. All of these are financial goals examples for students.

Not every one of these will apply to your situation. So pick and choose from the ones that do.

Examples Of Money Processes

Be the chief financial officer (CFO) for your roommates at your college apartment. After all, someone has to pay the bills. And collect everyone’s fair share.

It might as well be you. And pick up some valuable financial experience doing so.

Automate bill payments. Never miss paying a bill on time. Late bill payments will negatively impact your credit rating.

Speaking of credit ratings. Make a practice of checking your credit score every few months.

You can check your credit for free using Credit Karma.

Does your financial situation require the preparation of an annual tax return? Then prepare and file your taxes yourself.

You will be amazed at how much you can learn by preparing your taxes. Including how what you do and where you live impacts your taxes.

And, it’s not that tough. If you use tax preparation software.

Try TurboTax. I have used it for years.

Once, you are no longer a student. Working and becoming more independent.

You will or should be doing all of these money processes anyway. Why not get an early start?

5. Save Money If You Can

First of all, if you have made it this far. You are thinking about all the right things.

So, see if you can save a little money. The potential financial goals examples for students for saving money are limitless.

Financial Goals Related To Saving Money

Here are a few saving goals you might want to consider. Set a financial goal to save money for:

  • An emergency fund
  • A down payment on a car
  • The clothes for your first job

The dollar amount is up to you. It doesn’t have to be a lot.

What’s most important? Creating the habit of saving.

No matter how small the amount. Because this habit will pay dividends in your future.

Money for things like this should be put in a safe place. Away from where you will spend it. And earning whatever interest on your savings that you can.

6. Manage Your Debt Wisely

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As a student, debt is part of life. So, it’s hard to avoid debt.

But, it’s important to manage it wisely.  That should be your primary financial goal.

Credit Card Debt

First of all, it’s not a bad idea to have 1 or more credit cards. Because you start building a credit history that will help you in the future.

And remember what I said earlier. Set up a money process to check your credit score regularly.

But please, if at all possible, pay the balance on your credit cards off every month. If you can’t commit to doing that. Then don’t use a credit card.

Because the interest rate on the outstanding balance will cost you a lot of money. Miss a payment. And your credit score will take a hit.

Student Loans

Oftentimes, students and student loan debt, go hand in hand. It’s like peanut butter and jelly.

So, make it a goal to understand your student loan debt. Because it will all have to be paid back eventually.

Don’t ignore it. Track it and forecast it. How much will it be when you graduate?

Then ask yourself some hard questions. First, am I pursuing a field or profession where the earnings will allow for the debt to be paid back?

Answer no to this question? Then seriously consider a different field of study. One with earnings potential.

Next question. Am I attending a school where the cost is within my future means to pay back the student loans?

If you answer no to this question. Then consider a lower-cost school. Or attend school while living with your parents. Or, both.

Because if you address these hard questions while you are a student. You will be glad you did in the future.

7. Get Serious About A Career Path

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Set a financial goal to choose a good field of study. That will lead to a financially rewarding career.

Give this some deep thought. Don’t float through your education hoping everything will work out financially.

Because it probably won’t. If you don’t have some type of financial goals focused on your business, job, or career plan.

Now, I know plenty of art, history, and sociology majors that have done quite well. But, I think they are in the minority.

So don’t kid yourself. Consider college majors with proven track records for higher-paying jobs.

You know the careers I’m talking about:

  • Finance
  • Nursing
  • Accounting
  • Engineering
  • Technology
  • Human resources
  • Entrepreneurship

I mean, it’s great to find and follow your passion. On the other hand, it’s important to pursue a career that can pay the bills.

Furthermore, it doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. Just be thoughtful and conscious about your decisions.

When those decisions relate to career planning. And job choices.

Finally, if you can’t see education through to economic productivity. Maybe paying for higher education isn’t the right choice?

Either way…

Start Building Your Resume

Put together your first resume. If you haven’t already done so. Even if you are a high school student.

It’s a very exciting process to see your accomplishments on paper. On the other hand, it’s quite sobering if your accomplishments are lacking.

But that’s okay. You have time to do something about it.

Make a personal goal to get involved in more school activities. What clubs and professional organizations can you join?

And a little work experience can go a long way too.

Not quite sure how to put together a resume? Or need some help to make it the best it can be.

Then consider MyPerfectResume. It’s a great online tool. To get you started down the right path.

And did I mention work experience a second ago? Let’s go there next…

8. Make Money

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So, many of the financial goals examples for students I have discussed thus far are tough. Especially when you have no income.

So set a financial goal to make some money. Here are a few options to consider…

Get A Part-Time Job

Work experience will help improve your resume. And you will learn a little about how businesses go about making money.

But most importantly, it will bring in some income.

So, make some money. And, improve the contents of your resume at the same time.

Consider an internship. As part of career planning. And for making some cash too.

But be careful. Because it’s tough to balance work and study. And, I know from first-hand experience.

I worked during my time as a student. Both as a high school student and as a college student.

Side Hustle

There are plenty of side hustles you can try these days. If a part-time job doesn’t fit with your agenda right now.

Whatever skills you have. See if there is a way to sell them online. Think about your side hustle as a small business goal.

Walk dogs, do freelance writing, or provide technology services. Whatever you can do there is a match-making site that can pair your skills with someone willing to pay for those skills.

One of my favorite ways to earn a little side hustle cash is to take consumer surveys online. It’s fast and kind of fun too. To let your opinions be known.

If that is something you would like to do. Try Survey Junkie and get paid cash for taking surveys.

Qualify For Scholarships

You are a student! So, scholarship money is designed just for your situation in life.

Be aggressive. Identify every possible scholarship opportunity. And apply for everyone where you qualify.

9. Invest In Yourself

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Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. And, as a student, you are uniquely positioned to do so.

Learn, Learn, And Learn Some More

Study hard. Learn all you can.

Get an internship in your chosen field. Join clubs and professional organizations at your school.

Learning is a lifelong process. But right now as a student, it is your primary job.

So, don’t take it lightly.

No matter the quality of school you attend. Or, for the teachers you have. Education is what you make of it.

Improve Your Financial Literacy

And while you are in the learning mode. Don’t forget about financial education.

Because our school systems tend to fall short in this area. So pick up a book on personal finance. Or, money management. And learn some more.

Here’s a book recommendation for you. It’s called the Minimum Wage Millionaire and was written by Bill Edgar.

The book is an excellent resource. Because it was written especially for students. And the financial opportunities that students have.

Okay. Last but not least. On my list of 10 financial goals examples for students…

10. Invest In Stock

I recommend you buy a stock. Now, I know you don’t have a lot of money for investing.

That is not the point. I want you to buy a stock mainly for the learning experience.

Choose a company you know. And buy 1 share. More if you can. Just to get in the game.

Investing in stock will prompt your interest. You may follow the company more closely. And you might be interested in the stock market news of the day.

Once again, just like saving a small amount of money. Investing a small amount of money starts to form a good financial habit.

A habit that you will carry into your later years. When investing to achieve important personal goals becomes critically important.

A Free & Easy To Use Investing App

Here’s a suggestion. I buy stocks for free using the Webull app.

It costs nothing to open a Webull account. And nothing to buy 1 or more shares (except the price of the stock).

The Webull app works on your phone. And is very easy to use.

So, no excuses. Make it a financial goal to invest in a stock!

You can learn more about the Webull app here.

Okay. That concludes my review. Of the top 10 top financial goals examples for students.

But before I wrap up, I want to provide a few thoughts on how to set financial goals…

SMART Financial Goals For Students

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When you choose your financial goals. And are ready to set them. I want you to use the SMART goal-setting system.

SMART is an acronym. It stands for the following:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

And this is what it means. I will use the financial goal example for students #10 to illustrate.

Specific Financial Goals For Students.

Specific: Write your goal down. And be as detailed about what you want to accomplish as possible.

For example, I will buy 1 share of Apple stock.

Measurable Financial Goals For Students

Measurable: Decide how you are going to determine when the goal is achieved. Fortunately, most financial goals are easy to measure.

For example, open your Webull account. And execute a trade to buy 1 share of Apple stock.

You will know when your goal is accomplished. It is easy to measure.

Achievable Financial Goals For Students

Achievable: Make sure the goal is something you can achieve. Otherwise, choose another goal.

For example, buying 1 share of Apple stock is achievable. Assuming you have the money. Or, will save the money that 1 share costs.

Realistic Financial Goals For Students

Realistic: The goal must also be realistic.

For example, the goal to buy 1 share of Apple stock AND earn a profit on that share of 1 million dollars is probably not realistic.

Time-Bound Financial Goals For Students

Time-bound: Give yourself a date to accomplish the goal. For example, save up for 1 share of Apple stock and buy it by June 30. Setting a date builds your commitment to getting your goal done!

So now, you have some examples of financial goals for students to set. Furthermore, you know how to set SMART financial goals for students.

Are you ready for more? Just in case…

Students Ready For The Next Step In Financial Goal Setting

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Pretty soon you will be ready to level up your financial planning game. And start concentrating on setting financial goals in your 20s.

In your 20s, the financial risks get higher. But, so do the potential financial rewards.

First of all, you will be making more money. And spending more money.

Furthermore, being in the habit of living below your means is critical. Investing in stocks and other financial assets becomes more important too.

A Top Finance Tool For Your 20s And Beyond

Finally, it’s a must to keep up with the best finance apps and tools. When you are ready, consider Personal Capital.

Personal Capital consolidates all of your spending and investments in one place. As your financial life becomes more complex.

It makes budgeting, spending management, and investing a snap. Best of all, Personal Capital is free to sign up and use.

Interested and ready to take your finance game to the next level. Then learn more about Personal Capital here. Because your 20s will be here before you know it.

But for now, let’s summarize and wrap up today’s article about money goals for students.

Financial Goals Examples For Students to Set Now: Summary

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Whether you are a high school student thinking about your finances for the first time. Or, a college student getting into the practice of financial goal setting.

Think about today’s financial goals examples for students to set now. For your convenience, here is a summary of my top 10 list of financial goals for students to consider.

Top 10 Financial Goals List For College Students & High School Students Too

  • Understand spending triggers
  • Live within your means
  • Create a budget
  • Create money processes
  • Save money if you can
  • Manage debt wisely
  • Get serious about a career path
  • Make money
  • Invest in yourself
  • Start investing

Use 1 or more of these financial goals for starting your financial plan.

And don’t forget…

SMART Financial Goals For Students In College Or High School

When setting financial goals as a student. Remember to make them SMART.

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Time-bound

Finally, I tossed out a few other possible financial goals for students during today’s discussion.

These other options for student financial goals didn’t make my top 10 list. But they are good goals to consider as well.

I mainly used these as examples when we discussed the different types of financial goals. Remember?

First of all, the 3 types of financial goals for students were: short-term, medium-term goals, and long-term too.

Furthermore, the younger you are. The shorter-term your goals will likely be.

Because setting a solid foundation in the short-term.  Is important for your long-term future.

Short-Term Financial Goals Examples For Students

Student financial goals to be accomplished within 1 year. Some perfect financial goals for high school students. Or, college students too.

  • Track your spending
  • Never using a credit card
  • Save money for something you value
  • Establish an emergency fund
  • Check your credit score regularly
  • Automate bill payment
  • Buy 1 share of stock

Medium-Term Financial Goals Examples For Students

Medium-term goals mean you have 1-5 years to achieve them.

This gives us financial goals for college students to start thinking about.  While these would be long-term financial goals for high school students.

  • Become the CFO of your college apartment
  • Save for work clothes
  • Save for a down payment on a car
  • Get a paid internship
  • Find a full-time job after graduation
  • Pay off student loans

Long-Term Financial Goals Examples For Students

Finally, it never hurts to dream big dreams. And, think long term. No matter your age.

Long-term financial goals mean setting and achieving goals in more than 5-years.

Other long-term financial goals students should consider:

  • Self-prepare your tax returns
  • Earn $100,000 per year
  • Buy a home
  • Become financially independent

Okay. That’s it for today.

I hope you enjoyed working through these financial plan examples for students. Regardless, good luck with your finances!

And don’t forget about personal goals. Since there is more to life than money. They are also very important at this stage of your development.

Remember. If you can envision it. And plan for it. You can achieve it! Whatever your “it” is.

More About Financial Goals And Financial Planning

Best Resources For Students To Achieve Financial Goals

During the article, I mentioned several of my favorite financial apps and tools.

They are summarized here for your convenience. Most are free to sign up and use. Or, offered at a very affordable price.

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

10 Financial Goals Examples For Students To Set Now!