You’ve decided you want to do something about your money this year. Great! You might even have a few goals in mind. Even better! You might want to get out of debt, save more money, or give more. All great ideas!
But to be honest, those all sound a bit fuzzy — when February rolls around, you might not have gotten any closer to those amorphous goals. Start turning your ideas into reality by getting SMART about your goals!
What’s a SMART money goal, you ask? It is…
- Specific: Be very clear with yourself and your partner — what exactly do you want to accomplish? Who’s involved? Which Envelope will it affect?
- Measurable: Put a number on it. Aim to save $300, and celebrate half way at $150. If you just want to “Save more,” it’s hard to stay motivated.
- Attainable: Set a goal you really think you can achieve. If you have $10,000 in student loan debt you want to pay down, it might be more realistic to bite off a chunk of that for this year. You’ll work on the next chunk next year.
- Relevant: Does this seem worthwhile? You’re going to spend energy working toward this goal, so make it count! Pick something meaningful to you. If you want to give more, choose a cause or organization close to your heart.
- Time-bound: Give yourself a deadline. Enough said.
Turn those weak goals into SMART goals like this!
- Weak Goal: Get out of debt.
SMART Goal: Pay off my Visa card balance (specific) of $1000 (measurable) with $100 per month from reduced Groceries spending (attainable) so I can start the end-of-year holidays with no credit card debt (relevant). Deadline – October 31 (time-bound).
- Weak Goal: Save more money.
SMART Goal: Add to my retirement savings account (specific) with the maximum contribution of $6000 (measurable) by signing up to have $500 of my monthly paycheck directly deposited (attainable) so I can retire in my own home (relevant). Deadline – December 31 (time-bound).
- Weak Goal: Give more.
SMART Goal: Donate to my local cancer charity (specific) 10% more this year than last year (measurable) with earnings from my side job (attainable) in honor of my aunt who battled cancer (relevant). Deadline – the annual fundraiser on July 15 (time-bound).
Now it’s your turn! What are your SMART goals for this year? Tell us in the comments!
Once you’ve decided, create a Goal Envelope in Goodbudget to start saving up.
P.S. Check out more tips about how to make SMART goals in this Wikipedia article.