A primary focus of conservation efforts to date has been the establishment of protected areas to meet global commitments for both terrestrial and marine ecosystems through international mandates such as the Convention on Biological Diversity. The technical ability to establish effective conservation reserves and protected areas based on biological data is increasing. Yet, most research to date has neglected considerations other than biodiversity, despite the widespread agreement that social and economic factors ultimately impact the success of conservation efforts. Research has demonstrated that the explicit consideration of costs results in more cost-efficient conservation decisions that are more likely to result in real conservation outcomes. With this research there has been an increasing call for inclusion of cost data to aid in cost-efficient decision making, but little guidance has been given on how to do this effectively. For example, no research to date has provided strong guidelines on what costs to include, what data and analyses are needed to estimate these costs, and how best to integrate costs into existing decision-support tools. My thesis will provide clear guidance on how to define explicit socio-economic goals and what data best align with these goals for incorporation into decision support tools. Additionally, it will examine how including costs into the planning process impacts conservation outcomes across multiple stakeholder groups and multiple conservation actions and will consider the implications of information gaps and uncertainties in data.