Money Quick Tips: 5 Steps To Becoming A Saver

7:09 PM, Dec 25, 2012   |    comments
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Revolving debt, mostly credit cards, has declined 19% since 2007. (Photo: Jay Directo, AFP/Getty Images)

WRITTEN BY: Regina Lewis, Special for USA TODAY

 At the end of the month do you find you have little left from your paycheck? Are you spending too much and saving too little?

Five steps to becoming a better saver:

1. Admit you can do better. Beginning with a candid admission that things aren't manageable is a solid start. Being in denial about money matters doesn't pay off. The longer we let it go, the harder it is to tackle.

2. Define success. Vague goals lead to murky results. Create financial targets, so you'll know what success looks like, whether it's trying to break even every month without adding additional debt or building a six month emergency financial cushion.

3. Don't rely on will power. Put systems in place so behaviors stick. You could set up an automated payment to yourself on a regular basis and consider those funds out of bounds.

4. Count everything. A dollar is a dollar. When we get into spending mode it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind.

5. Employ the "Stranger Test." If a stranger walked up to me right now and offered me the equivalent in cash for an item I'm about to purchase, would I still buy it or take the cash? If you hesitate, you probably value the cash more. Stop the sale.

Regina Lewis is a national television contributor and host of USA Today's new daily "Money Quick Tips." Follow her on Twitter: @ReginaLewis.

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