Most of us know we should be saving more. But this can be easier said than done. For many people, retirement is currently out of the question, and if their car broke down or they had another calamity happen, they would be in big trouble.

Financial security is more than just keeping your head above water day-to-day. It means saving for the future- whether that’s a house, an education, or just for a rainy day. It also means that if disaster strikes, you’re prepared.

Here are a few ways you can get your finances sorted this year:


Create a budget

You may have a ballpark figure of how much you spend each month, but that’s not enough. Instead, you need to know exactly where your money is going and why. To do this, you’ll need to monitor every cent you spend for a couple of weeks. Then, take a look at where most of your money is going. You’ll be surprised how quickly those Starbucks lattes add up.

Now, make a list of all of the things you absolutely have to pay for each month. This includes the rent or mortgage, all utilities, credit card payments- basically anything that would get you in trouble if you didn’t pay it.

Take this number away from your salary each month. With the number that’s left, you’re going to need to pay yourself first before you go out with friends, hit the mall, or grab takeout. Set a realistic goal and transfer that money directly into a savings account so you don’t even see it.

Only shop the deals

These days, it’s easy to wait to buy something until it’s on sale. This is particularly true around this time of the year when businesses have massive holiday targets to hit- and products become deeply discounted. Take advantage of Cyberweek deals, Black Friday Deals, and other holiday deals to stock up on the things you’ll use through the year. If you’ve been needing a new laptop for a while, or your child needs a tablet for school, Cyberweek is the time to make it happen.

Set big goals

Saving is almost impossible when you don’t know what you’re actually saving for, as it seems like money is just disappearing for no real reason. That’s why it’s a good idea to get serious about what you want to achieve with your money. Maybe you’d like to start a college fund for your kids, pay off your mortgage early, or take the family on a vacation. Whatever it is, set up milestones and treat yourself every time you hit one of them.