When it comes to saving money and budgeting, nearly three-quarters of Americans have trouble doing it.
According to a study by Bankrate.com released last year, about 76 percent of Americans don't have enough money to cover at least six months of expenses—the suggested amount for an emergency savings fund to cover emergencies like job loss or unexpected medical expenses.
@BobbyInman tweeted us that his New Year's resolution is to "spend my money more responsibly" in 2014, while @c0urtstar wrote, "my ny resolution is to stash $400 a month in an account for the rest of the year."
So, what's a good way to start?
SUZE ORMAN WORLDWIDE ENTERPRISES INC
Famed financial guru Suze Orman, who is a New York Times bestselling author, a two-time Emmy Award-winning television host, and a renowned motivational speaker, is known for her ‘keep it real' approach to finances, particularly when it comes to budgeting and saving.
The Suze Orman Show host gave us her five tips and tricks for a "Money Perfect NEW Year," which Orman promises will increase your financial security in 2014:
1. Pay as you go. "Using cash or a debit card (without overdraft protection) means you will limit yourself to spending money you actually have," Orman said. "That's smarter than using a credit card and charging more than you can afford to pay off in full at the end of the month." Using a pre-paid debit card is also a great way to limit your spending and debt. Check out Suze Orman's new prepaid debit card—the "Approved Card" here!
2. Pay Yourself First. "Set up an automated deposit into a savings account for any goal(s) you have, such as increasing your emergency savings, or saving up for a car down payment," she continued. "The deposit should be at least once a month. Putting this on automatic means you can't talk yourself out of skipping a month." In terms of how much to save each month, Orman says that is up to you. To get started, choose an amount you want to save, write it down and add 10 percent more. "Have that amount deposited in your savings account for at least three months," she continued. "I bet that if you stand in your truth and try this, you will find you will be able to stick with it. If you use online banking, add a name to your account, such as ‘My Emergency Fund' or ‘My Car Down Payment Fund.' Labeling accounts helps us stay focused on saving for a goal."
3. Boost your Retirement Savings Rate by 1 percentage point. "Whatever you are saving today, increase it by at least one percentage point for next year. Why just one percentage point? Because there is no way you can tell me with a straight face that you can't afford to try this," Orman continued. "Then in 2015, add another percentage point. And keep at this until you are saving at least 10% of your income for retirement." (This is something for everyone to think about. According to CNN, the ideal time to start saving for retirement is in your ‘20s).
4. Protect Your Family. If you have a family, protect them by getting life insurance. "I remain amazed at how many families I speak with that don't have term life insurance," Orman said. "Honestly, I don't get it. If anyone is dependent on your income, you need life insurance. It's really that simple. For the vast majority of families, term insurance is all that is needed (rather than more expensive permanent insurance), and it is very affordable. For example, the monthly premium for a healthy 40-year-old male who takes out a $500,000 term life policy for 20 years would be less than $50. That's a whole lot of peace and mind for a relatively small sum." To learn more about life insurance policy rates, check out selectquote.com and accuquote.com.
5. Live Below Your Means, But Within Your Needs. This is a huge one. How often have you lived above your means, getting a pair of shoes that were out of your budget, or buying a car that you're struggling to pay for? "When you are about to buy something, or borrow a certain amount, find a quiet place to ask yourself: Do I need to spend (borrow) this much, or could I meet my needs by buying something less expensive?," Orman said. "Whether you are contemplating buying a new home, a car, a television, or planning a home remodel, spending only what you need to spend—not what you can spend-is the key to building financial security this year, and every year."
According to MSN Money, you can also start saving by starting small—$100 a month, for example.
The site suggests taking a look at how you spend your money and then cut corners from there, such as giving yourself a manicure and pedicure at home instead of going to your regular salon 2-4 times a month, and packing your lunch twice a week instead of going out for lunch every day at work or in between classes at a university.
Doing little things like that, can also help your savings add up, and you can increase your savings goal from there.
Don't forget to tweet your New Year's resolutions to @eonline with the hashtag #timetobelieve for the chance to have your tweet featured on E! Online! We'll be offering more tips and tricks from experts to help you stick to your New Year's resolutions in the coming weeks.