Saving money is something that tops many to-do lists. Actually meeting those savings goals, however, can be a struggle. These helpful tips will put you on the path of to saving your hard-earned money and reaching your financial goals.

 1. Set your priorities.

“Define what’s important to you,” advises Jonathan Hill, AimBank’s Lubbock market president. “As you’re making decisions throughout the year financially, ask yourself, ‘Does this financial decision get me closer to a priority I’ve already set, or does it get me further away from that priority?’”

Whether your goals are something large like a down payment on a house or a shorter-term goal like an upcoming vacation, making all purchasing decisions with your priorities in mind will make it easier to walk away from tempting impulse purchases that will take you further away from that goal.

 2. Create a budget

Once you’ve set your financial priorities, it’s time to create a budget with your established goals in mind. Many people shy away from budgets because they feel restrictive, but remember that a budget is a living document that can be changed as unexpected expenses arise.

They key to your budget results in savings? “Consistency,” says Hill. “This is a marathon, not a sprint. If you make a mistake one month, that’s ok. Just get up and keep going. Finance is just like anything else in life – a consistent commitment to it is what makes a difference long-term.”

3. Utilize financial software like budgeting websites and apps.

Since we know that budgeting can be an overwhelming prospect for many, we’ve asked Hill to share his top picks for making the process more manageable.

His number one budgeting software recommendation is You Need A Budget (YNAB). What makes YNAB different is that it only allows you to budget money you already have, making it a realistic budgeting tool. When budgeting, YNAB has you create line items for your expenses as well as your financial so that you can see your progress toward your financial goals.

Right now, YNAB is offering a 34-day free trial. During your trial period, be sure to take advantage of the many video tutorials and classes they offer to better understand how to use their tools and put your money to work for you.

Two other helpful options he suggests are Mvelopes and Mint. Mvelopes is an envelope-style tool that helps to organize your money so that you can better control how you spend it. They offer a free trial and both monthly and annual payment options. Mint is a free budgeting tool that also allows you to pay your bills and sends helpful payment and low balance reminders.

 4. Take advantage of high yield savings accounts.

For short-term goals and emergency savings, consider depositing your money in a high yield account like AimBank’s high-interest AimElite Savings Account or a CD in order to see a significantly greater return. According to CNBC, you can earn up to 155 times more interest just by storing your savings in these kinds of high yield accounts. You can open a CD or AimElite Savings account at AimBank for as little as $1,000. For current interest rates, contact your local branch to speak with a personal banker to help find the right account for you and your savings goals.