Saving money -- like dieting -- is less about tactics and tips, and more a matter of motivation. Knowing what to do is easy; sticking with a plan is tough.
Here are a few ways you can stay motivated to save.
'Multiply by 4' trick
If you invested $10 right now (the cost of an average lunch) at a 7 percent interest rate, compounding yearly, you'd have almost $40 after 20 years, according to Bankrate's compound interest calculator. (Your investment would grow to $38.70, to be precise.)
So try this trick: every time that you spend money, quickly multiply the amount by 4. Imagine that's at least how much you're spending.
That $3 coffee? That actually "costs" $12 in missed opportunity, if you were to invest at 7 percent over the next 20 years. That $5 bagel? That actually "costs" $20.
You may find yourself spending far less money when you conceptualize paying quadruple prices.
Imagine yourself when you're old
It's easy to ignore the needs of our "future selves" when that future seems far away. Motivate yourself to save by picturing yourself as a senior citizen.
How? I recommend two methods. First, look at elderly family members who share your genes. They'll provide some insight into what you'll look like as you age.
Second, check out the free online programs that digitally "age" you. Upload a current photo of yourself, then use these programs to fast-forward the clock until you're age 100 or older. Download the free "Age My Face" app from iTunes, or use Merrill Lynch's tool.
Read blogs and magazines geared to retirees
I occasionally read blogs and magazines intended for retirees, taking note of the issues they face. This reminds me that I will be in their shoes someday, so I better start preparing now.
Paula Pant blogs at AffordAnything.com about building wealth and living life on your own terms. She's traveled to nearly 30 countries, owns six rental units that produce thousands in passive income, and runs her own digital marketing company. Follow Paula on Twitter @AffordAnything