10 Everyday Things You're Probably Doing the Hard Way

Save Money
Many employers will allow you to split your direct deposit, so you can divert funds to a savings account each paycheck without even thinking about it. ©iStockphoto/Thinkstock

There are two big things you can do to change your financial outlook and increase your savings: Create a budget and pay yourself first.

Creating a personal budget may sound like a difficult or tedious task, because more than 50 percent of Americans don't keep one (and as many as 20 percent of us don't have any idea how much money we actually spend every month) [source: Forbes]. Before you can save money, you need to know what you're spending it on. Remember to revisit your budget from time to time because as your needs change, so will your financial goals.

And when it comes to those financial goals, here's that second piece of advice from the experts: Pay yourself first. Have a certain amount from your paycheck automatically deposited into your savings account instead of relying on yourself to remember to transfer it at a later date; out of sight, out of mind. Experts recommend having no less than 10 percent of your pay automatically deposited into a savings account [source: Schwartz]. Part of this savings should first go into establishing an emergency fund if you don't already have one -- aim for enough savings to cover about 3 to 6 months of your expenses, as just-in-case money -- then start paying down debts.

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