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Carmen's Tips for Increasing Your Savings

To really make the most of your money, you have to start building your savings. With half of all Americans living paycheck-to-paycheck, it certainly sounds easier said than done. But consider that when you take steps to grow a steady savings, you are truly taking control of your money and the ups and downs of the economy have less of a direct impact on your quality of life.

Dr. Terry Lyles, a psychologist and consultant to Fortune 500 companies, says it all comes down to one key: discipline.

-Choose the right plan for you. Are you the itchy-wallet type? Competitve? Know what motivates you when it comes to your money, then think about thwat would make saving not only fun, but doable.

-Understand that paying off debt is saving. If you have a balance on a credit card, you’re losing the amount of the interest rate on every dollar. If you pay off the balance, think of it as how you will have saved that percentage of your money.

-Factor in inflation. Costs rise every year, so a dollar this year will be worth a few pennies less next year if you don’t put it somewhere that beats inflation.

-Consider web-based banks. The rates are often better than brick-and-mortar banks -- just make sure they are FDIC-insured.