Sarah Toffoli: Most people know it's important to save money. They may have trouble getting started. Here are five ways to help you start saving today.
First, consider needs versus wants. Think about things you can do without or cut down on. Do you need to eat out once a week? Cutback to once a month and you will immediately save money. Think about other ones that you can cut out.
Second, be automatic. Put a portion of every paycheck into savings using direct deposit or a recurring automatic transfer from your checking account.
Third, pay yourself first. Decide on a percentage of your income to set aside at the beginning of each month rather than waiting to see what's left. This will also help you to spend money only on the things you need.
Fourth, pay your bills on time. You will avoid late fees and extra finance charges. And finally, put extra money into savings whenever you can. You may end up getting money that isn't part of your regular pay, such as a raise, or bonus, tax refund, or gift.
If you have paid off a loan, keep making those same monthly payments to yourself instead, you will be surprised at how fast your savings account can grow.