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1. Automate your savings

You pay your gas bill and your electric bill automatically, but when did you last pay yourself automatically? Setting up automatic deposits to a savings account is the first and best way to grow your savings.

Look particularly for a high-yield savings account, which comes with higher-than-average interest rates allowing you to earn the most possible interest on your money.

If you automatically save $25 per week, that results in a savings of $1,300 in just one year. If you can swing $100 a week in savings, you're looking at a savings of $5,400 in one year.

Saving $100 a week and putting it in a traditional savings account with a 1% interest rate will earn you over $100,000 in less than 20 years. But with a high-yield savings account, for instance, you could earn as much as 4% interest.

No matter the amount you're comfortable setting aisde, it's crucial to just get started. You can always increase your automatic weekly deposit at a later date.

More: Compare the best savings accounts

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2. Pay off outstanding debts

Interest payments will kill your wealth goals faster than anything else.

Transfering high-interest balances to a credit card with a lower interest rate is a great option for anyone who has multiple credit cards, because having a single bill makes it much easier to make payments on your entire debt and track of your progress.

A balance transfer credit card can reduce the interest you pay on your total credit card debt, effectively lowering your monthly payments and saving you money on finance charges.

You might also consider a debt consolidation loan, which can typically be found at a significantly lower interest rate than the rate offered by credit cards.

If you have mortgage debt and a high interest rate, consider refinancing at a lower rate, and make lump-sum payments whenever possible.

3. Make responsible spending choices

A meal at a restaurant costs at least 300% of the price of the ingredients you would buy in a grocery store. So, that $18 pasta dish at your favorite Italian spot would have cost you $6 or less to make at home.

Cooking at home is cheap and can be fast and easy.

How does eating at home help you on the road to becoming a millionaire? Consider this statistic: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, food accounts for about 12.4% of the average household budget, and a majority of that money is spent on dining out.

You could save thousands of dollars every year simply by cooking healthy, delicious homemade meals.

As for entertainment, take advantage of free music festivals, art exhibits, dance classes, talk-show tapings and more. If there's something fun happening nearby, then take a short road trip to the next town over.

More: Explore best high-yield savings account for better returns

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4. Trim your bills

The last thing you need is to pay for are services you don't use. Go through your monthly recurring bills for services like your phone, cable, cloud storage and gym memberships, then cancel what you're not using.

You might consider ditching your cable entirely and making the switch to less expensive online streaming options like Netflix or Hulu.

Again, how does trimming your bills help you on the road to becoming a millionaire? For one, extra money in your pocket is a good thing. That said, it's important to remember that smart spending is about picking and choosing which nice things to have, and when.

If you've trained yourself to make small sacrifies, the larger, more consequential decisions will come easier.

5. Set realistic financial goals

One important part of saving money away is knowing why you are saving it. The goal of "becoming a millionaire" is terrific, but it might not be realistic in the short term, or might be too distant to encourage good spending and saving habits right now.

So, what’s driving your savings? A down payment on a house? A car? A vacation? A home renovation? Retirement? Save for a realistic goal, and the incredible, implausible goal of becoming a millionaire will sneak up on you, thanks to your good habits and practiced financial mastery.

Remember, time is important to saving. There's a real possibility that it will take you years to achieve your goals. Don't let this discourage you.

You already work hard. Now's the time to make your money work for you, and the sooner you start saving, the better.

More: How to manage your money better this year


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Rona Richardson Freelance Contributor

Rona was formerly a freelance contributor to Moneywise.


The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.