Redbook magazine reality tested tons of strategies, and these four hit the mark. Try one or all of them, then watch your financial confidence and bank balance grow:

Swear off plastic
At the beginning of a week, you'll tuck 25 percent of your designated monthly spending money into an envelope. Then make it your allowance for the next seven days; all purchases come from this cash. Research has shown that the mere act of giving something tangible up, like dollar bills, makes you likely to spend less than you would when swiping a credit card.

Try the 52-week challenge
Starting with $1 and saving just one buck more each week; two dollars the second week, three dollars the third week, and so on, would, in a year created a $1,378 nest egg. This is a painless way to start saving.

Pay yourself for scoring a deal
Put the difference between the full retain price of an item and its sale price into savings. If a super cute $40 sweater is marked down to $30, go ahead and buy it but transfer the $10 into savings pronto. It'll feel great to watch your bank statement swell as a reward for your smart shopping.

Skim off the top
You've heard of minimum account balances, but here's a saving twist: Set a maximum account balance, with the goal of sending any additional funds to savings. You might keep your checking account at $1,000. When it hits 1,150 move the $150 to savings.


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