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April 12, 2024

Spring Cleaning The S.M.A.R.T Way

Family smiling for photo in matching plaid outfits.

 

As the flowers bloom and the days grow longer, spring is the perfect time to rejuvenate not only our living spaces but also our financial goals. By applying the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound) framework to our financial aspirations, we can set ourselves up for success and make meaningful progress towards our objectives.

Let’s explore how each component of SMART can be applied to finance-related preparation and success.

 

S = Specific

 

When setting financial goals, it’s crucial to be specific about what you want to achieve. Rather than simply saying you want to “save money,” specify how much you aim to save and for what purpose.

For example, you might set a specific goal to save $5,000 for a down payment on a house within the next 12 months. Being specific allows you to focus your efforts and measure your progress more effectively.

Check out NerdWallet’s guide to The Best Budgeting Apps for 2024.

 

M = Measurable

 

To track your progress towards your financial goals, they must be measurable. This means establishing clear criteria for success and determining how you will measure your progress along the way.

Using the example of saving for a down payment, you can measure your progress by tracking your monthly savings contributions and comparing them to your target amount. Measurable goals provide you with tangible benchmarks to strive for and help you stay motivated.

Set your own definition of success with this Forbes breakdown

 

A = Achievable

 

While it’s essential to set ambitious financial goals, they must also be achievable given your current circumstances. Assess your income, expenses, and savings capacity to ensure that your goals are within reach.

If saving $5,000 for a down payment within 12 months is unrealistic based on your income and expenses, consider adjusting your goal to make it more achievable. Setting achievable goals ensures that you maintain a sense of progress and avoid becoming discouraged.

Get closer to your financial freedom goal with these 5 Frugal Tips!

 

R = Relevant

 

Your financial goals should be relevant to your broader financial aspirations and priorities. Consider how each goal aligns with your long-term financial objectives and values. If your goal is to save for a down payment on a house, ensure that it aligns with your overall goal of homeownership and financial stability.

By setting relevant goals, you can ensure that your efforts contribute meaningfully to your financial well-being.

 

T = Time-Bound

 

Setting a deadline for achieving your financial goals creates a sense of urgency and accountability. Determine a specific timeframe within which you aim to accomplish each goal.

For example, you might set a deadline of 12 months to save $5,000 for a down payment on a house. Having a time-bound goal helps you prioritize your efforts and stay focused on achieving results within a defined period.

Need help staying on schedule? Get up on your good foot with this guide from Medium.

 

As you go onto your spring cleaning journey, don’t forget to apply the SMART framework to your financial goals. By setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound goals, you can clarify your objectives, track your progress, and achieve financial success. So grab a pen and paper, and start setting SMART goals that will propel you towards a brighter financial future this spring!