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In recent years, Americans have slowly but surely discovered the errors of their ways and made a better attempt at saving for large milestones, such as purchasing a house, paying off student loans, and enjoying a comfortable retirement.

However, there is still much to achieve before we can consider our country widely financially literate, especially since our overall credit card debt recently rose to new, record-breaking heights. Furthermore, an estimated 57 percent of Americans have at least $1,000 available in savings, while 39 percent have absolutely no savings whatsoever.

With those facts in mind, let us take some time to highlight several personal finance habits we should all strive to adopt.

Enroll in an automatic savings plan

If you have struggled with saving money in the past, you would likely benefit from an automated savings plan, which would filter a portion of your paycheck either into your savings account or your company-sponsored 401(k). Regardless of where that money goes, you will at least know it is being saved, thus aiding you in creating a more financially secure future.

Pay your bills right away

To eliminate the risk of receiving a late fee or derogatory marks on your credit report, make it a point to pay your bills as soon as you receive them. Or, consider automating this task as well. Either way, taking this step will also help you determine how much money you can afford to save and how much you can afford to leave in your checking for discretionary spending purposes.

Avoid making impulsive purchases

It is no secret that making split-second decisions is the most effective way of hindering one’s long-term financial plan. Therefore, it is imperative to identify whether or not you tend to make quick, impulsive purchases on a regular basis, and employ a plan to eliminate that habit.

One of the best methods of doing so is enlisting a 24-hour rule for purchases that are absolutely non-essential, such as new clothing, a new appliance, or a new device. By removing yourself from that tempting situation, you will allow yourself to regain a clear mind that can easily decide whether or not that purchase is truly necessary. More often than not, you will find yourself saving money over returning to the store to buy those items.

Follow your budget closely

Along that same vein, it is imperative you establish and legitimately follow your budget, as establishing it was merely half the battle. To make this challenge seem less burdensome, try turning it into a game by finding new and unique ways to cut back on spending, make some extra cash on the side, or both. You would be surprised by how much of an impact a mere mindset change can make, even in regard to otherwise dry tasks like managing money.