The S.M.A.R.T. Way to Save for Large Purchases

By Jenny Schaub, Program Coordinator, Hancock County Saves, OSU Extension Hancock County

Summer just ended and I’ve already started thinking about next year. Taking a beach vacation will my “big purchase” for the year, which leaves several months to plan ahead to save for this expense. But am I prepared? Do I have a timeline? Do I have a SMART goal set? My answer to all of these questions is a resounding “YES!” But what is a SMART goal?

A SMART goal is a clearly defined action plan that will get you to a specific and measurable result. In essence, SMART goals are roadmaps based on your choice of starting and ending points. Statistically, our society believes that goal setting is important, but less effective unless you write them down. It has been shown that if you write down your goal you are 80% more likely to reach that goal. While there is never a guarantee that you will definitively reach your goal, what a SMART goal doesdo is provide you with specific and actionable items with a clearly defined timeline. Using my beach vacation as an example, let’s walk through how to set up a SMART goal for yourself:

SMART goals help to focus energy, time, and strengths on achievable and realistic goals – eliminating wasted time and efforts. Having a specific, written goal will help you to plan for those big purchases. Whether it’s a family vacation, new car, new appliance, or down payment for a homeHaving a specific and actionable road map to get there will help steer you to that destination.