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What Now?

Remember the reason you're saving in the first place: To build a store of money, not to move it around, to blow it on your next big purchase or even just to cut expenses. Create a strategy and habits that will eventually mean your money's working for you.

The first essential part of any plan is your emergency fund. That's money you can access easily (as in a savings account) in an emergency. Most experts agree on a fund equaling three to six months' worth of expenses. That means looking honestly at your household spending and deciding how much you'll need to stay afloat if the unthinkable happens.

Once you've established your emergency fund, look at paying off debts as the first form of real savings. It's not as exciting as a savings account you can watch grow, but being debt-free feels great -- especially since you're not forking over interest.

Saving means spending less than you make; it's the only way anyone ever builds wealth. That means looking at money in terms of your hopes and dreams. Look for the best ways you can keep the money you earn for yourself and for your family.

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