My top 5 saving tips. Typically, the best way to save money is not to spend at all…

1. An emergency fund is a must. Chances are you’ve already been told that you need an emergency fund somewhere in the ballpark of three to six months of your income. Yikes! Overwhelming, right? I recommend have a year’s savings readily available.

2. Establish your budget. The best way to jumpstart establishing a budget is to realize your spending habits. On the first day of a new month, get a receipt for everything you purchase throughout the month. Stack the receipts into categories like restaurants, groceries, and personal care. At the end of the month you will be able to clearly see where your money is going. Additionally, your bank or credit union may have this as an online-banking feature. Seeing what you spend in total on food, shopping, etc. can be humbling!

3. Budget with cash and envelopes. If you have trouble with overspending, try the envelope budget system where you use a set amount of cash for most spending. And once the cash is gone, it’s gone.

4. Don’t just save money, save for your future. There IS a difference!. As you begin to #ThinkLikeASaver, don’t simply spend less. Save with a purpose, such as college expenses, retirement, or for emergencies. If you’ve taken the America Saves pledge, you’ve already chosen a savings goal which means you’re ahead of the savings curve!

5. Save automatically. Setting up automatic savings is the easiest and most effective way to save, and it puts extra cash out of sight and out of mind. Automatic savings means you have a process in place to save at regular intervals, whether that’s monthly, weekly, or daily. Use apps like Acorn and Clarity setup auto savings and forget about them. After 1 year you will be surprised.

Instruct your employer to direct a certain amount from your paycheck each pay period and transfer it to a retirement or savings account (or both). Traditionally, you can set this up using your employer’s direct deposit, ask your HR representative for more details and set this up today.

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