BOSTON (CBS) – According to a Fidelity survey, done in December, 52% of Americans listed “saving more money” as their top financial resolution. Paying off debt (19%) and spending less (19%) came in second and third.

Consumers keeping those financial resolutions has also increased to an all-time high, with 62% saying they stuck with their resolutions in the past.

Our national savings rate is about where it was last year. Currently it’s 3.6% (as of last November). Consumers are also getting the importance of having an emergency fund.

Almost every goal we establish or decision we make as adults has a financial component. If the goal is to buy a house you do need some money saved to start the process.

What about a comfortable retirement? You need money to have a comfortable retirement. The average monthly Social Security check for this year is close to $1300! Could you live on that?

Can you buy gas for the car, pay the electric bill, pay the rent, buy your medication and eat for $1260 a month? Maybe if you are living in a trailer in Florida!

To save more you really do need a plan. What are you willing to do differently to accomplish saving more? What lifestyle changes are you willing to make?

As a result of the Fidelity survey, they have put together a monthly plan for helping you keep your financial goals. For the month of January, they are suggesting you create a budget to help you save more. I like to call it a spending plan.

First, review your essential and discretionary monthly expenses and then compare them to your income. Review this information dispassionately and see whether it makes sense for you to cut costs, pay down debt, or save more. Use their Savings Planner as a tool to help you rev up your savings.

You can spend your money but decide to spend it more wisely and if you are able to save on everything you purchase you could have those extras dollars needed to achieve your goals.

In my research, I came across a website, Smarty Pig.

If our grandparents wanted something they saved for it. This is the concept used at Smarty Pig.

They debit your checking account each month and other people can also make contributions to your account as well. So if it’s a wedding you are saving for you can get help from your family and friends.

This is a smart way to save for Christmas as well. Start now and you will have the dollars you need next December. This is an online Christmas Club.

Saving 10% of your net pay would be a good beginning. Saving 10-40% on everything you purchase is a way to achieve that.

Looks for other saving resources. Look at the benefits our employer may offer. Do you have a retirement plan at work? Does your employer offer a match to the 401(k)? Start there! Find out what you are eligible for. Contribute at least 3% when you first start. Then consider increasing your contribution level every 6 months or whenever you receive a raise.

Does your employer offer any other automatic savings plans? So easy when someone else does it for you.

One more thing:  Always be sure to budget in some fun or you will never stick to your savings goal.


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