Making S.M.A.R.T. Money Choices

Submitted by the HealthNet Federal Credit Union

Submitted by the HealthNet Federal Credit Union

Are you being smart about your finances? When it comes to money, it’s easy to get in over our heads. The latest smart phone comes out and we don’t hesitate to buy it. The refrigerator broke and we have to replace it. Or you found the perfect car with all the bells and whistles that will make life just a little bit easier.

Whatever it is, we’ve all been there and made those impulse decisions or had to make an unexpected repair. So the question is, are you being S.M.A.R.T. with your money? We are all tempted by those impulse purchases, but can you afford them? With simple preparation, the unexpected can become manageable—even when the impulse hits! When it comes to our finances, before we can accomplish anything, we have to set some goals. If you say, “I want to save enough to buy a home,” take the steps to know what all that entails. There are many calculators available today that can help. How can we be smart about our financial goals? Get specific.

S – Specific. “I’ll only go out to eat once a week” is more specific than “I won’t eat out as much as I used to.”
M – Measurable. “I will call my credit union to consolidate my credit cards” is measurable; “I will make payments on my credit cards” is not.
A – Achievable. “I will add $25 to my savings account each pay period” is more achievable than “I will move $200 to savings each pay period” if you don’t have the money.
R – Realistic. “I want to go on a cruise next year” is more realistic than “I want to go on a cruise next month.”
T – Time Bound. “I will set S.M.A.R.T. financial goals by the end of the month” sets a more specific time frame than “I will set S.M.A.R.T. financial goals before I start looking for a new car.”

Whatever your financial goals may be, you have to start somewhere and you’re not alone when making hard choices. Set aside some time to think about what it is that you want to achieve and do a little research.