How to Set SMART Financial Goals for the New Year

Between New Year’s resolutions and a fresh tax year, it’s time for all new financial goals. Since we started a new business last year, our goals are primarily related to new contracts, products and increasing revenue. Which all sounds well and good, but we’re going to have be smart about it.

Really SMART. As in, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and within a Time Limit.

Open-ended goals just weren’t working for us. We need to have a timeline and a plan for measuring success. It’s like that for all goals or resolutions, really.

Are you setting goals for your budget this year?

Whether you’re setting resolutions to save more money, take a vacation or paying off debt, here’s a smart way to reach your goals:

Specific: Be very specific about what you want. If you’re setting finance goals for your own family, be sure they are well defined. Set a dollar amount to save or pay off. Choose a specific item to cut out of your budget. Saying we wanted to “increase business” wasn’t cutting it for us. We had to be more specific about it — making a detailed list of projects we wanted to work on, for starters.

Measurable: The goals have to be something you can define and know when you get there. With financial goals, measurement is pretty easy. Just set a dollar amount to save, pay off or cut from your budget.

Achievable: Goals must be realistically achievable. If you’re not saving anything right now, setting a goal to save $1000 per month is only setting yourself up for failure. Start small; you can adjust your goals later in the year as you begin to achieve them.

Relevant: Take care to set goals that are relevant to you and your life. If you only want to save up for something because you think you should want it, you won’t be motivated to truly make it happen. Choose appropriate goals that are on task to get your finances where you want them this year.

Time Limit: Attach a time limit to your plans. When ideas are just loose and unplanned, they’ll stay that way. You can even break it up a bit — set a small goal for the month, larger goals for the season, and work up to your overall goal for the year.

Whatever your goals are for your own family’s budget, we’re here to help you get there! With money saving ideas, frugal living advice and — thanks to Women & Co! — a little boost from Thank You Points. Citi’s Thank You points can be used on a variety of rewards to lower your expenses. Fill your gas tank, dine out or plan a family fun night on us.

This giveaway has ended. Congratulations to Christine and Courtney, winners of 10K Thank You points towards gift certificates or rewards.

Two Inexpensively readers will receive a code worth 10,000 points — redeemable for rewards and gift cards valued at $100 or more! To be entered to win, simply leave a comment here and share one of your goals or resolutions for the new year. You can also earn additional entries by:

  • Subscribing to our site by email or RSS
  • Following Inexpensively and Women & Co on Twitter
  • Tweeting about this giveaway: Start your New Year off right with SMART goals and $200 from @Inexpensively!
  • Sharing this giveaway (Pinterest, blog, forum, public Facebook note)

For your extra entries to be counted, be sure to leave an additional comment directing us to your entry. Only one additional entry per method (i.e. While multiple tweets are appreciated it, only one will count as a drawing entry.) The contest runs until 1/15/13 at 11:59pm est. Two winners will be notified by email on 1/16/13 and each receive a code worth 10,000 Thank You points. Codes must be entered into a Thank You account by 3/1/13, but you will have up to 3 years to redeem your reward.

I was provided with Thank You points for my family and this giveaway by Women & Co to facilitate this post, but all opinions are 100% mine.


  1. Christine W says

    One of my goals is to save more money in my son’s college account this year. Thanks for the chance!

  2. Sara says

    One of my goals this year is to write a book. It’s been in the makings for awhile but this is the year I’ll make it happen!