If your New Year resolutions include a money goal, this quick and simple guide will help ensure you achieve your objectives.

Perhaps your money goal is to save more, go on a decent holiday, pay down debt or just spend less. When setting a money goal, the SMART approach is best. Your goal should be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-framed

Specific

Instead of simply “saving for a holiday”, include a date, venue and cost. It gives something solid to aim for. For example, “I will save £1,000 for a holiday in Spain in September 2020.” If you’re paying down debt it might be “I’ll pay £50 off my credit card every month, clearing the balance by the end of the year.”

Measurable

This helps you track progress. Instead of thinking you can afford to save for a holiday by cutting down on spending, a measurable goal adds a real cash amount. This might be “I’ll save £50 every month by halving the number of times I visit coffee shops.” Perhaps its something like “I’ll get the bus instead of a taxi which should save me £60 every month.”

Achievable

Can you meet your goal? There’s no point thinking you can amass 10 grand for a Vegas blowout if you struggled to scrape together £500 for last year’s holiday in Wales. Can you really save the desired amount each month?

Nothing will put you off your target if you fail to achieve the steps required. If you need to save £100 every month to reach your goal but can only manage £50, then adjusting your target date or goal amount might be a better option.

Use the Money Advice Service’s Budget Calculator to help you work out what savings you could make.

Relevant

If your goal doesn’t inspire you, then chances are its not going to be achievable. Aim for something that will make a difference; a holiday, paying off debt, saving for Christmas 2020. Think about what achieving the goal will mean; a chance to relax (holidays), sleep better (pay off debt), feel in control (save for Christmas)

Time-framed

Setting an end date for your goal gives you a timeframe to work towards. It makes it easier to see how much you need to save on a regular basis and lets you monitor your progress towards your goal from month to month.

Don’t forget your Credit Union offers regular savings as well as Christmas and Prize Saver accounts.