Recs

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No-Sweat Savings

Trying to boost your savings? Most money mavens will tell you to set a goal, figure out how much money it will take to achieve it, and then start socking away your dough.

That's fantastic, if you actually make it to Step 2.

Here's a simpler way -- one that'll painlessly back you into a savings plan. In a few months, you'll look at your savings account balance and wonder where all that extra money came from.

Step 1: Take a pay cut. Yup, you read that right. Successful saving requires giving yourself less money to spend. We promise you won't miss it.

Right now, pick a dollar amount you can bear to part with every paycheck -- don't overthink, just come up with a figure. (Go ahead. We'll wait.) Write it down and hang it on the fridge or inside the medicine cabinet as a constant reminder of your new-found savings resolve. If you're extra motivated, each week write down how much you would amass if you actually socked away that amount. If you do nothing else, this simple exercise will start you thinking about the power of every dollar you can save.

Step 2: Make saving automatic. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. And so it goes with money earned. Set up a savings account that's separate from your regular checking account, and have some money automatically directed into it. With the account inaccessible by debit card, it'll be less tempting to break in and blow the balance.

Step 3 (Extra credit!): Supersize your balance. Find a savings account that earns the most interest. Depending on when you need to access the money, we're talking about a high-yield savings/checking account, money market account or fund, certificate of deposit or bonds, the pros and cons of each which are described in "Where to Park Your Cash."

Step 4: Bask. You deserve it.

More no-sweat savings advice:

Foolish personal finance expert Dayana Yochim is the author of The Motley Fool's Guide to Couples & Cash.


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