UNITED STATES—Saving money is not easy, but it all starts with the individual having a bit of discipline and resisting temptation. I always tell people you have to respect money to a degree in order to properly save. Some of you might be asking exactly what does that mean, “respect money?” It means you have to treat money like it can disappear at any time. Now, let me be clear that does not mean be overly frugal or cheap, it means plan for a rainy day.

I say this time and time again because you never know when something unexpected can transpire. It could be a medical related expense, unexpected crisis, job loss or some other pressing issue. Yes, it has been touted time and time again that we should have AT LEAST 6 months of expenses covered in advance just in case something we least expected transpire.

It is very common for me to plan ahead and always have at least 2-3 months of my expenses covered in advance because I see myself constantly, and I mean constantly having to loan out money to family members. It’s like my head is always spinning and I’m finding myself in those situations where I constantly tell myself how can I save more money.

For starters, kicking the habit of eating fast food is a great way to save money. I’m just like everyone else, you have those days where you don’t want to cook and fast food is the next best option. However, what many of us fail to realize is that quickie meal quickly takes a dent in your pocket. What’s worse, you still find yourself hungry. I mean for the $10 plus dollars you spend on fast food, you can use those funds to purchase items from the grocery store and cook a dish that will actually make you FULL and where you have leftovers. Leftover people, rarely does that happen when you eat out and if you do, it doesn’t last longer than 1 day.

I mean I went cold turkey at the start of the New Year and I’m not joking I saved around $200-$300 in just 3 months. Another option to saving cash is utilizing coupons. Yes, I know plenty of people hate, hate clipping coupons, and if that is not your cup of tea, many of the retailers have now turned to digital coupons to save the headache of clipping coupons.

If you’re not using coupons you better start. The amount of money that you can save is great! I mean Target utilizes a thing known as Cartwheel in its app that is fantastic. I utilize Cartwheel every single time I shop at the retailer, and as a result I find myself saving so much money that I end up spending a bit more, and as a result I stock up on items without breaking the bank. I’m a firm believer that if you can save money you take every approach to do so, as long as it’s not illegal people. Many of the retailers, especially with Christmas fast approaching utilize coupons to draw in consumers, so why not use them to your advantage.

Now, we have to talk about the most important thing when it comes to saving money: resisting temptation. I tell people all the time that we are human beings. It is programmed into our psyche to always have wants and needs. Note: a need and a want are NOT the same thing. Do I really need to go over the differences? Need (must have to survive), a want (something you desire that makes you feel good). Too many Americans confuse needs and wants, and as a result over spend so much. That is money that could be going into the savings account, checking account or into that piggy bank for a rainy day.

Also just because you have an outing does not mean you have to purchase something all the time. I’m a firm believer if you see something that is a REALLY good deal, that won’t break the bank and that you actually need or you know someone who needs it then it is ok to buy it. However, just because something is a stellar deal, does not mean you have to buy it. If you don’t need it, there is no point in spending the money, because you’ll end up having buyer’s remorse in the long run. It’s something we all have time and time again America.

Saving money is not easy, but if you start utilizing some of these tips you will see that money start to add up. People have to remember it might only be a penny, but it takes 100 pennies to equal $1. So in the end every penny does indeed count.