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/TD Bank) - Saving money is hard. In fact, it has proven so difficult that a June 2011 Bankrate.com poll revealed that only 24 percent of Americans have a six-month emergency savings cushion.
However, making a few small adjustments to your spending, beginning with creating a reasonable and modest budget, can help you put good saving habits into practice.
Take action on your budgeting
Everyone says you need a budget, but how do you create one that someone can stick to?
"The first step is look at every financial statement and income source you have," says Brian Haier, Executive Vice President and Head, Regional Retail Banking and Direct Channels for TD Bank. "These include bank statements, recurring monthly bills, anything that you can use to figure out a monthly average of what you make and what you spend."
Find areas where you can trim expenses, such as using online or print coupons for the items you always buy at the grocery store. You can also save money on postage, envelopes and checks by signing up for online bill pay through your bank.
Now you are ready to budget for savings. Whatever amount you have decided you can afford to save, remember to be reasonable when determining where you can cut expenses and set moderate goals. As you adjust spending habits, add a little extra to savings each week or month.
Now you have a budget in place -- what's next?
With your budget is established, it's time to figure out what type of savings account fits your needs. There are several types of accounts to choose from, but if you decide on a regular savings account, consider connecting it to your checking account for automatic transfers.
If you are saving for a specific goal or objective, a club account may be best. TD Bank offers Holiday Club and Club Saver accounts that help you save money throughout the year for annual holiday gift or travel expenses or for more customized saving options.
If you want a higher, guaranteed interest rate, try a Certificate of Deposit (CD). Step-rate CDs are very popular and offer the certainty of a CD with the added benefit of an increasing interest rate over time.
With so many tools available, saving is not impossible -- it just requires self discipline and an easy-to-follow plan and budget.