Whether you’re saving for retirement or trying to get out of debt, achieving your financial goals may be challenging. During the holidays, it’s especially easy to slip off track by dipping into your savings accounts and purchasing gifts with credit cards, which will put you further behind in your savings and deeper in debt. Below are a few tips for getting your finances under control and reaching your long-term goals.

4 Tips for Achieving Your Financial Goals

1. Set Reasonable Expectations

Working toward ambitious goals is admirable, especially if you’re determined to be diligent with your finances. However, if your goals are unrealistic or impossible, you’ll probably get discouraged and lose your motivation. When creating a debt payment or savings plan, set reasonable expectations, with short-term goals and room in the budget for the occasional indulgence.

2. Pay Off Your Balances Every Month

Once you’ve paid down your credit cards, use them only for short-term loans. Paying off your entire balance every month means you won’t be paying interest, and the activity will significantly boost your credit score.

3. Use Automatic Payments

Once you’ve decided how much you can allocate to your debts and put into savings, schedule automatic transfers and payments every month. This can keep you from dipping into your money and lets you forget about your financial planning.

4. Use Separate Savings Accounts

If you’re putting money aside for a mortgage down payment or saving for a new car, put those funds into a separate bank account dedicated exclusively for that purpose. Having your funds divided into various accounts will keep you from dipping into it accidentally and make it easier to track your progress.