BOSTON (CBS) – The U.S. savings rate as of April is 4.0%. Better than a year ago but not as good as I would like to see it.

Saving allows you to get out of debt and to reach your financial goals. You want to try and save 10% of your net pay. To do this you want to try to save on everything you purchase – merchandise or services.

If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, and close to 50% of you are, you are feeling pretty good about your money management skills right about now. But to achieve your goals you’ll need to save.

If you want to go beyond spending to saving you will need to scrutinize every purchase you make. And that can be painful. A new car, health insurance, a pack of gum, new shoes, bakery cupcakes, a dinner out, the movies. Every purchase should be justified.

You have to decide if it’s a need or a want. Do I need what I am about to purchase or do I want it? And for some folks just the asking is enough to help you change your mind about buying anything frivolous.

Usually works for me but not always. There is an 8 year old little person in my life who can easily sway a decision in her favor!

A woman who had attended one of my seminars created a savings plan. She started with saving $2 a day which she found easy to do. After a couple of months she increased it to $3 a day, then $4 and now she is over $8 a day with a goal of $3,000 this year.

So if she doesn’t stop for a coffee and muffin in the morning she puts $4 in her savings. If she pumped her own gas that day and saved 10 cents a gallon she puts that $1 in her savings. If she skipped the movies with friends and invited them over to watch a DVD she tucked $8 into savings. Last year she saved over $2,000.

One more thing: Beware of false savings. Let me explain. You are out shopping – shopping as in recreation for its cooler at the mall then it is at home kind of shopping, and you find something that is wonderful and it’s on sale and you can save 50% and the fact that it’s on sale seduces you into buying it.

You really didn’t save anything! You spent money!

So if you’re lacking the thrift gene try shopping naked. No credit card and just enough money to buy lunch or an ice cream for everyone. Remember the “Devil made me do it” routine. Well you just fell for it!


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