No. 2: Use direct deposit

Have money taken directly from your paycheck and put into your savings account, IRA or 401(k).

Even if you cannot afford to put a lot of money in every pay period, the key is to at least begin the habit of doing so, no matter the amount.

If you are unsure of the amount to have deposited at first, just start with something small. If you find that you are not missing this money at all, you can always use your budget and your goals to come up with a more significant figure to have withdrawn.

The greatest thing about using direct deposit to savings is that once it is set up, you might not even miss this money. Also, it is smart to have money going into savings rather than checking, as the savings account typically offers a higher interest rate.

Broken piggy bank, bills, money, debt

No. 1: Make a budget

Nothing will make you feel more money-smart than if you successfully plan and execute your own budget.

Calculating this can seem daunting at first, but if you take the data from your recent spending history -- say the last year or several months -- you will be able to see how much you need each month for all that you do and all that you want to plan for.

Once your budget is firmly created, it will be easy to say no to things you do not need.

Having a budget is also one way to make sure you get what you want. If your goal is to retire with a specific figure, adhering to a budget can make this a reality. If it's not in the budget, it's simply not in the budget and you don't need it.

Savoring financial security can become your reality once you've taken control of your savings.

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