Think Like A Saver

Who hasn't begun to panic when the bank account is getting low and it's not paycheck time yet? We have all had our pulses flutter a little when we see the total of the bills this month and wonder if there will be enough to cover them all.

With a little common sense, some clever ideas and the willingness to get out of your spending routine, you can begin to think like a saver.

1. Don't put off the idea of saving. I'm sure we could all admit to not setting aside money on a regular basis. But when things are super tight, extra in the savings account just isn't a priority. On the other hand, putting in small amounts - even a few dollars from every paycheck - will make a difference down the road.

2. Be aware of sales and discounts. Instead of walking into the store and hoping to find something on sale, do a little research. Combine sales with coupons, gift cards and other discounts like weekly savings to make your money stretch even further. Plan your shopping trips and errands around these special sales.

3. Set goals. And keep them handy. Figure out exactly how much you can save each month when you really put your mind to it. Then do some math - if you save that much for 12 months, how much will you have saved up by the end of 2010? Sometimes seeing actual figures jump starts your saving practices.

4. Keep the big picture in front of your eyes. If you're dreaming of a new home, keep a picture in the front of your planner. If you're looking at a new car, go to the showroom and get one of the brochures. When you have motivation in front of you, you're less likely to splurge on new clothes or sweets because you've got the big picture in mind.

5. Write it down. For just one week write down everything you spend money on - from bills to groceries to the little things you pick up each day. You might be shocked at where your hard-earned money is actually going. There may be a dozen different things you could cut down on (or just back on) and save huge amounts without feeling the strain.

6. Don't deprive yourself. We often think saving money means going cold turkey on buying anything that's not eaten or powering something. Instead, find the joy in little things like a coffee out once a week or an end-of-the-month dinner with your husband. You don't have to spend tons of money every time you shop to enjoy yourself, and you'll appreciate the time (and the savings) even more.

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