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Study: Americans have poor saving habits

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The latest research all points to the same thing: Americans aren't putting away enough of their paychecks. Our Jaime Gerik shares saving strategies to add padding to your rainy day fund.

"You would think once you get your paycheck and paid your bills if you have something extra you can spend it. Well, that got me in a lot of trouble," Alicia Tolliver, who lost her job, said.

Tolliver had little savings to fall back on. "It was hard because I didn't know what to do," Tolliver said.

A new survey by America Saves found 68 percent of people admit they make more money than they're spending--but aren't putting the difference away.

"What we need to be doing is paying ourselves first. First step is looking at yourself as a bill," Jose Feliciano, a Certified Financial Planner in Tyler, said.

Feliciano recommends making it automatic that you take some of your paycheck and put it into a savings account, which may be challenging at first.

"There's a big difference between wants and needs. We want a lot but what do we actually need?"  Feliciano said.

This survey was also conducted in 2010 and the numbers are worse this time around. Experts say it may be because more people are in debt and don't know how to get out.

"We don't realize that the interest rates we pay when we borrow money, how much it really costs. Sometimes it takes a lot longer to pay it back," Feliciano said.

If possible, surround yourself with people in the same mind set as you.

"If you're running around with a bunch of people who are spending everything they have, you're more likely to do the same," Feliciano said.

A good rule of thumb is to save up 6 months worth of living expenses for that inevitable rainy day-- or month.

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