Steps to help you save more money in the new year
Saving more money is often near the top of the New Year's resolution list. Although that's a laudable goal, it's one that many won't accomplish.
One reason is that it's too vague. It's easier to follow through on a resolution that's specific and has a reason attached to it.
Do you want to build up an emergency fund so that even minor setbacks won't throw off your budget? Are you hoping to set aside money for a near-term objective like a summer vacation? Or are you aiming at a bigger target, like your kids' college education or your own retirement?
Once you've decided the reason why you want to save, you're on your way toward keeping your resolution.
Here are three steps to get you started:
1. Identify your reason and set a specific dollar amount and time frame. This will make the resolution more concrete: "I want to build a $1,000 emergency fund by June 30."
2. Do the math to determine how much you need to set aside to reach that goal. To reach $1,000 by the end of June, someone who gets paid every other week will need to save $77 per paycheck.
3. Automate the savings by setting up online transfers, or have the money deposited directly into a separate account.
For more information, visit the educational site of the American Institute of CPAs at http://www.360financialliteracy.org or the website of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, http://www.cfp.net , to learn from financial pros.
Also, consider regularly visiting blogs that offer tips on frugal living and savings strategies, such as http://www.consumerismcommentary.com , http://www.getrichslowly.org and http://www.onecentatatime.com for inspiration and advice.