Black Friday was, once again, one of the biggest spending days of the year, according to industry estimates. If you were one of the many consumers who hit the stores — and perhaps overspent your budget — now could be a good time to figure out how to get your savings back on track heading into the new year.
Choose the right account
First, make sure you're saving in the right type of account. As opposed to saving in a standard checking account, consider opening one that actually earns interest or, if you have one already, making better use of it.
You can arrange for small amounts of money to transfer directly into the account on a regular basis. You can even set those amounts to increase gradually and automatically over time.
If you want to reduce the temptation to withdraw from your savings, consider setting up some barriers. Some accounts, for instance, charge small penalty fees if you withdraw too much money or withdraw money too quickly.
Set realistic goals
Setting aside money could be more achievable if you're saving for a specific goal, as long as it's also an achievable goal based on your income and expenses.
If you're building an emergency fund, aim for one that could float you for eight to 12 months if necessary, says financial expert and former CNBC host Suze Orman.
If you're saving for a big-ticket item like a car or a house, do the math and then try to save a certain portion of what it will cost each month. Having the motivation of something to work toward will help.
Track your money
Lastly, track your money flow. Know where your cash is actually going each month, whether you mean it to be headed that way or not. Then you can make corrections.
Some mobile apps could help with that by identifying your spending trends, which could help you decide how much disposable income you can shift over into savings instead.
Saving more money doesn't have to mean making more money. It's about managing the money you already have.
To start saving, or to start saving more, Tom Corley, an accountant, financial planner and the author of "Rich Kids: How to Raise Our Children to Be Happy and Successful in Life," suggests you follow the 80:20 rule, in which you live off 80 percent of your paycheck and save the rest. He outlines more specifically what that means and how to make it happen here.
If you quite can't sock away 20 percent, that's OK, too, he says.
"Save 10 percent, or 5 percent, or 1 percent," Corley tells CNBC Make It. "The point is to get into the habit of saving. You can always increase the percentage of savings down the road."
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