At the beginning of every year, many Americans make resolutions. 

"I'm going to lose weight."

"I'm going to exercise more."

"I'm going to spend more time with my family."

I do this myself. For sure I need to exercise more. 

Most importantly for 2018, I need to replenish my savings account. 

Why? My husband and I made some much-needed improvements to our 30+-year-old home last year.  While we had saved for the improvements in advance, the project ran over budget by a few thousand dollars. This depleted our savings account significantly, which means if we encounter a large expense in 2018, we will not have funds available to cover it.

Of course, we could take out a loan. The thing is, we are not too far from retirement and our goal is to retire debt-free. So it's time to build up our savings account again.

It appears that we are not alone. According to a recent survey from Bankrate.com, just 37% of Americans have enough savings to pay for a $500 or $1,000 emergency. The other 63% would have to resort to measures like cutting back spending in other areas (23%), charging to a credit card (15%) or borrowing funds from friends and family (15%) to meet the cost of the unexpected event.

As soon as our home improvement project was completed last year I knew we had to start saving again. I'm a pretty disciplined person, yet I knew the best way to save was to make it automatic. First, I set up an automatic transfer from checking to savings to occur on a specific day each month. It was easy to do; I set it so I could forget it using online banking. Second, I changed my payroll direct deposit and earmarked a little more to go to my savings account each paycheck. 

We are already seeing our balance grow. 

Now, how can I automate my exercise program?


( Photo Credit: Jupiterimages / Stockbyte / Thinkstock  86528026 )