12 SMART Goals Examples for Saving Money

Financial stability can take a lot of work to achieve. Our money is often disappearing faster than we can save it. But with the right plan and dedication, you can start to make real progress toward increasing your savings.

Developing SMART goals will put your best foot forward in improving your financial health. In this post, we’ll cover several SMART goals examples for saving money.

What is a SMART Goal?

SMART goals are instrumental in the goal-setting process. For those not in the know, SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

Let’s dive deeper into each SMART component:

Specific

A SMART goal should be clear and well-defined. Having detailed plans will boost your chances of accomplishing them. For instance, say your goal is to save money. While this is a fantastic goal, it needs to be more specific.

What actionable steps will you take to squirrel away more money? Recognize that specificity will keep you on course to goal achievement. You’ll eventually arrive at your desired destination.

Measurable

If you want to achieve success, you must know what your goals are and how to measure them. A straightforward way to monitor your progress will help you determine whether or not you’re on track with meeting your objectives.

Attainable

Rather than setting unattainable goals, be realistic about your financial resources when developing your goals. It will help you save more money if you have the time and space to set up a successful objective.

Relevant

Question yourself, “Why do I want to save more money?” You may want to save for the future, pay off credit card bills, or buy a home. Making your goal relevant will spark motivation to stay the course no matter the hardship.

Time-Based

Set a specific timeline for your success. If you don’t create an end date for yourself, you can fail to reach your objective. That would be a worst-case scenario so that you can be sure that each goal is time-bound.

12 SMART Goals Examples for Saving Money

Here are 12 examples of SMART goals to help you save more money:

1. Track Spending

“I will track my spending for the upcoming four months and look for ways to save money. I want to identify where I am overspending and where I can reduce my expenses.”

Specific: The person will identify areas to reduce expenses and avoid overspending.

Measurable: Pay close attention to how much you are spending weekly.

Attainable: This goal is achievable by setting aside time each week to review your expenses.

Relevant: This relates to saving money since it specifically focuses on identifying areas for potential savings.

Time-based: You will give yourself four months to complete this goal.

2. Create a Budget

“I’ll strive to create a budget and learn to manage my finances better by the end of three months. I want to control my spending with a realistic budget to save more money in the long run.”

Specific: Creating a budget and learning how to manage finances is a clear action plan.

Measurable: You can check how much money you saved within the given time frame.

Attainable: Managing a budget is doable with the proper knowledge.

Relevant: Budgeting is an essential part of saving money.

Time-based: Goal completion is expected within three months.

3. Invest Wisely

“I want to ensure that I’m investing my money in the right places. Over the next 12 months, I will research different investment opportunities and set aside $500 every month to invest in my chosen option.”

Specific: This goal describes what you need to do (research and invest) and how often you need to do it (every month).

Measurable: You can track your progress in researching different investment opportunities and the amount you set aside each month.

Attainable: Researching and investing a portion of your income is certainly achievable.

Relevant: Investing prudently allows you to receive the best return on your investment.

Time-based: Twelve months is required to accomplish this particular goal.

4. Pay Off Debt

“I want to pay off my credit card debt by the end of 9 months. I’ll create a budget and track my expenses to determine where to cut back and save more. I’ll also compare different payment options to find the best rate for paying off my debt.”

Specific: The person has explicitly stated their goal of paying off their credit card debt.

Measurable: The person can track their expenses, compare different payment plans, and assess their progress towards paying off the debt.

Attainable: This SMART goal is realistic and achievable with budgeting and tracking expenses.

Relevant: Paying off debt is a goal pertinent to achieve financial freedom.

Time-based: The person has set 9 months to reach this goal.

pay off debt

5. Build an Emergency Fund

“I want to build an emergency fund of $1,000 by the end of 5 months. I’ll save a minimum of $200 per month and transfer the money into a separate savings account. Doing this will give me peace of mind knowing I have money for unexpected emergencies.”

Specific: The goal is easy to understand. The person knows they need to build an emergency fund of $1,000 after 5 months.

Measurable: You will make sure you save at least $200 every month.

Attainable: This is achievable with the right dedication and commitment.

Relevant: The goal is essential to ensure financial stability in times of emergencies.

Time-based: There is a 5-month deadline for reaching this goal.

6. Save for Retirement

“I’ll save 10% of my monthly income for the next two years and invest it in a retirement fund. I want to support a comfortable retirement and financial security for years to come.”

Specific: You’re saving 10% of your monthly income and investing it in a retirement fund.

Measurable: Track your progress by logging your monthly deposits.

Attainable: This goal is realistic if you can commit to regular monthly payments.

Relevant: By saving and investing in a retirement fund, you will secure your future financial stability.

Time-based: You should be able to achieve the goal by the end of two years.

7. Shop Smarter

“I will review my weekly grocery items and cut back on unnecessary purchases. I will research the best deals and discounts to get the most bang for my buck. By the end of the month, I’ll have saved an extra $50 through smarter shopping.”

Specific: You have precise actions to take—review weekly grocery items and research discounts.

Measurable: Make sure you have saved at least $50 by the end of the month.

Attainable: Assuming you are committed to this goal and consciously shop smarter, $50 is a reasonable amount to save.

Relevant: This goal directly contributes to your main objective of saving money.

Time-based: Expect goal attainment after one month.

8. Protect Your Credit Score

“I want to improve my credit score by paying all bills on time and avoiding unnecessary debt. I will check my credit score every three months and make sure I’m doing everything I can to protect it.”

Specific: The individual aims to improve their credit score by paying bills on time and avoiding unnecessary debt.

Measurable: You will monitor your progress by checking your credit score every three months.

Attainable: This SMART goal is feasible if the individual is diligent about their credit score and pays bills on time.

Relevant: A good credit score can save money in the long term.

Time-based: This is an ongoing goal where you check your score quarterly.

9. Cook Food at Home

“Within three months, I will cook dinner at home 5 nights per week and bring my lunch to work three days a week. I hope to save money on eating out and gain more control over the food I consume.”

Specific: Cooking meals at home and packing lunches are necessary to save money.

Measurable: Track the number of times dinner is cooked at home and the number of times lunch is brought to work.

Attainable: This goal can be met with creative meal planning and prepping.

Relevant: Cooking at home is an excellent way to save money while still getting the nutrients you need.

Time-based: You will pursue this goal for three whole months.

10. Carpool or Take Public Transportation

“I’ll aim to save gas money by carpooling or taking public transportation at least twice weekly for 6 months. This way, I can save money on gas and parking while helping the environment simultaneously.”

Specific: The person will carpool or take public transportation at least twice a week for 6 months.

Measurable: You can count the times you carpool or take public transportation each month.

Attainable: Anybody can accomplish this goal if they are able to sacrifice comfortability.

Relevant: By carpooling or taking public transportation, you’ll save money on gas and parking.

Time-based: Completion of this target is expected after 6 months.

11. Reassess Insurance Needs

“I plan to review my current insurance policies and talk to an independent broker or financial advisor at least once a year. I will get the right coverage at the best price and ensure my policies are up to date with any changes in my life.”

Specific: This statement focuses on reviewing current insurance policies and talking to a financial advisor.

Measurable: You could count the number of times you speak to a financial advisor each year.

Attainable: This is achievable as it requires taking small actions regularly.

Relevant: This goal is essential to get the right coverage and save money.

Time-based: There is no end date for achieving this goal because it’s ongoing.

12. Prioritize Needs Over Wants

“Over the course of four months, I will save money by focusing on needs instead of wants. This means I will only purchase items that serve an essential purpose in my life and will make a conscious effort to reduce purchases of things that are not necessary.”

Specific: The individual aims to save money by focusing on needs rather than wants.

Measurable: You will only purchase items that serve an essential purpose in life and will reduce purchases of things that are not necessary.

Attainable: This is a reachable goal because the person actively tries to reduce spending.

Relevant: This goal is crucial because it helps the individual responsibly save money.

Time-based: The goal is time-bound since it has a four-month deadline.

Final Thoughts

SMART goals will keep your finances organized. Every goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based to obtain success.

Since everyone’s circumstances differ, don’t be afraid to start small with an achievable goal, such as saving $10 weekly. And remember to automate your savings so that you can track progress and feel secure about your savings.

Photo of author

Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.