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Make 2014 Your Year to Save

"Now" is always better than "later" when it comes to saving. ©iStockphoto.com/plherrera

It's simple. It's easy to do. And it's the first crucial step toward achieving financial independence. We're talking about saving.

And when it comes to getting started, there's no time like the present. Now is always better than later when it comes to saving—for a number of reasons.

Taking an affirmative step right now means you really will start to save. Many of us have good intentions and believe (or hope) that we'll begin to save—or start a diet or get more exercise—tomorrow. But we don't, procrastinating instead.

The sooner you get started, the more time will be on your side. Time puts compound interest to work for you, helping you grow your savings over time.

It makes sense to start saving and investing even a small portion of your pay—and this week is a perfect opportunity to do so.

It's America Saves Week (February 24 – March 1). Since 2007, this initiative has inspired people of all ages and walks of life to save money. The campaign is managed by the non-profit Consumer Federation of America (CFA).

America Saves Week, and its counterpart Military Saves Week for service members, are annual opportunities to take the Saver's Pledge, a personal commitment to save. More than 310,000 people took the pledge last year. It's a simple promise to save more, reduce debt and build wealth over the long term. The reason it works is because it helps us cut through the excuses that often keep us from saving. You know some of them:

•  I don't have time.

•  I don't have enough money.

•  I'm not sure how to get started.

When you sign up to save, you can register to receive information and tips on how to save, and even text messages to keep you on the savings track. Here are a few smart saving tips:

•  Put your savings on auto-pilot. Pay yourself to save first by automatically directing a portion of your paycheck to a bank or credit union.

•  Start small. This will help you gain confidence about managing your money as you watch your savings grow.

•  Become better educated in finance and investments. Read the business section of your paper—and visit your community library. It often has a wide array of financial and investment publications at your disposal.

When it comes to preparing for a sound financial future, savings is where to start—so start saving today.

For more information about saving for the future visit SaveandInvest.org.

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