In a tight economy, it's sometimes easy to overlook how important good saving habits are.
A recent report by the Corporation for Enterprise Development found 43% of US households are just one crisis away from living in poverty. Only 30% of Americans save their money and even more live paycheck to paycheck.
With that in mind, the Kansas Credit Union Association has some four letter words that will help you save.
1. NEED. Do you need it? Or do you just want it? Do you really did that big flat panel television or the new Sony Playstation? Or do you just want to brag to the person at work in the next cubicle? It's important to know the difference between need and want.
2. SAVE. The rule of thumb is having enough money in savings to live for three months. Six months is better. Set up an automatic withdrawal at your financial institution and you'll be surprised how fast just $50 a month can add up.
3. FEES. Cell phone fees, ATM fees and cable fees all add up, so get a handle on them. Check your bills. Find out what that fine print fee is for. It might be a mistake. Find a financial institution with lower fees - or better yet - no fees.
4. KNOW. Know how much your bills are. How much do you spend on food? What is your mortgage or rent? How about monthly utilities? Make a budget and adjust your spending to accommodate it, and save what's left over.
5. HELP. If you need guidance on savings, credit or have other questions, check with your financial institution or an organization like the Consumer Credit Counseling Service.
And if you still think saving is hard, consider this: By just bringing your lunch to work, rather than eating out, it's estimated the average worker can save $112,000 over a lifetime.