smart spending

How to create a budget that works for you

Utilize the '10/10/10' formula for savings
Utilize the

Most Americans overspend. Pamela Yellen, author of "Bank on Yourself," says they take on too much debt and fail to invest wisely for retirement. She suggests using the 10/10/10 savings formula year-round to help put you in control of your finances. Put 10 percent of your gross income aside for short-term needs such as a vacation and holiday gift-giving; 10 percent for anticipated midterm needs and potential emergencies such as a new car, major appliances, a new roof or college tuition; and 10 percent for retirement. This allows you to pay cash for both routine purchases and inevitable emergencies, and to avoid or curtail bank and credit card debt.

To help stay that course on a long-term basis, look into apps to help you monitor your finances.

"Let's face it, no one goes anywhere without their cellphone these days. Having all of your financial data a tap away makes it easy to keep track of spending and monitor where your money is going, even when you are on the go," says Karen Hoxmeier, owner of MyBargainBuddy.com.

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