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Identify specific objective

Everybody would love to save more money. But while that's a laudable goal, it's one that many won't accomplish.

One reason is that it's too vague. It's easier to follow through on a goal that's specific and has a reason attached to it.

Do you want to build up an emergency fund so that even minor setbacks won't throw off your budget? Are you hoping to set aside money for a near-term objective like a summer vacation? Or are you aiming at a bigger target, like your kids' college education or your own retirement?

Once you've decided the reason why you want to save, you're on your way toward meeting your goal.

Here are three steps to get you started:

*Identify your reason and set a specific dollar amount and time frame. This will make your goal more concrete: "I want to build a $1,000 emergency fund by Oct. 30."

*Do the math to determine how much you need to set aside to reach that goal.

*Automate the savings by setting up online transfers, or have the money deposited directly into a separate account.

For more tips, visit the educational site of the American Institute of CPAs at www.360financialliteracy.org or the website of the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, www.cfp.net , to learn from financial pros.

It can also help to regularly visit blogs that offer tips on frugal living and savings strategies, like www.consumerismcommentary.com , www.getrichslowly.org and www.onecentatatime.com for inspiration and advice.