Examining the Effect of Expressing a Quantitative Goal on Consumer Savings


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge the helpful comments of Loren Geistfeld and Marian Lupo as well as the administrative and financial support of Columbus Saves and Ohio State University Extension.


We examine the effectiveness of implementation intention plans for achieving regular savings with small-scale, exploratory field research. A series of surveys required participants in a community-based savings campaign to form implementation intentions concerning timing, mode, amount, and source of income for savings during the next month. Baseline and two follow-up responses from treatment and control groups showed implementation plans that require individuals to express discretionary quantitative savings goals are less effective than those that require a generalized, nonquantitative commitment to save. This result has implications for savings programs, many of which consider an expressed quantitative goal to be crucial for success.