Still shaking off the recession, roughly half of all Americans have a tough time saving money. That not-so-surprising news comes from two new surveys timed to America Saves Week, now through March 2.
The first survey, issued by Bankrate.com, found that only a bare majority - 55 percent - of U.S. adults had more in emergency savings stashed away than they did in credit card debt.
Consumers showed up better in the second survey, by the Consumer Federation of America, with 64 percent saying they had enough in savings to cover a doctor's bill or a car repair. But only 50 percent were saving for retirement in a 401(k) or other investment vehicle and just 43 percent said they were putting aside enough in savings to reach their goals.
Clearly, we can all brush up our saving-money skills. That's the encouragement behind America Saves Week, and its companion campaign, Military Saves Week.
There's even a pledge - to pare down debt and build up savings - that you can sign online. Looking for more ways to save? The America Saves website has 54 ideas for saving. Among them:
Keep track of every receipt for 30 days to see where you're spending - and where you can easily cut back;
Every time you buy a $4 latte, put the same amount in a savings jar;
Eliminate one takeout or restaurant meal a month;
Toss loose change in a jar or piggy bank; even a few quarters a day can add up over a year's time.
Before making any purchase, say a $60 pair of shoes, divide it by your hourly wage. If you're making $10 an hour, is it worth working six hours for that one pair of shoes?