Black Friday was one of the busiest shopping days of 2018 as consumers opted to spend record amounts online: Those sales rose nearly 25 percent and crossed a whopping $6 billion, according to Adobe Analytics, which tracked transactions at 80 of the top 100 U.S. retailers.
Choose the right account
Instead of relying solely on a standard checking account, consider opening one that earns real interest. If you have an interest-earning account already, be sure you're prioritizing 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.
And 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 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 or even 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.
And don't be discouraged if you don't achieve your goal overnight. "I am not suggesting you can snap your fingers and have it solved in a day, or week or month," Orman writes in a blog post.
Start small by re-evaluating how you spend, like "stopping yourself before every purchase and asking, 'Is this a need or a want?'" Or by "finding an extra $10 or $50 a week to put toward your goal."
If you do that consistently, she writes, "it will put you on a path toward financial security."
Track your money
Lastly, make sure you know where your money is actually going each month. Then make corrections as needed.
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.
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. That means you live off 80 percent of your paycheck and save the rest.
If you quite can't sock away 20 percent, that's OK, too, he says. It's a goal, something to work towards.
"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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