Consumer Watch: Increasing your financial fitness

Financial experts say the key to saving money even when you think you can't, is saving up front, and not at the end of you pay check (KOKH).

After some major spending over the holidays, it is time for some real talk from financial experts about getting financially fit.

“If you don't know how much you are spending every month, and how much you have coming in every month, then it is really hard to determine -- how much do I have to save,” says Ted Hughes, Hughes Warren co-president.

Much like working on your physical fitness takes time financial fitness comes with a plan, and plenty of practice. Yes, there is some work up front, but developing your financial fitness isn't as overwhelming as many people think. First up, you have to develop a plan. Most people know how much they earn, but after that, many of us fall flat when it comes to information about your finances.

“I think the most important thing someone can do is first and foremost create a budget,” says Hughes.

Hughes also says that people often think they don't have enough money to save, but that is because they save on the back end, when what you should really be doing is saving first. You can't cut back on necessities, but that money does have to come from somewhere, and a budget breakdown helps you find the answer.

“Maybe I can cut back on my cable bill or my eating out, and then divert those funds into a savings account for whatever it is that you have in mind,” says Hughes.

Just like with a work out, it's easier if you have a buddy. Once you figure out what realistic budget might work for you, tell someone about it. Whether you are saving 10 bucks a paycheck or trying to save 10-percent of what you earn, others can keep you accountable.

Having goals is very important. You need to communicated those goals. If you can communicate those goals with your spouse, your family, or a friend, maybe everyone can work together toward those goals.

If something major happens during your savings process, like dealing with car trouble, and you are forced to use your savings, don't count it as a loss. The amount you've saved so far kept you from going into debt.

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