Her Financial Goal: Cut Out All Those Small Money Wasters

AOL Jobs editor Pam Kruger
AOL Jobs editor Pam Kruger

Everyone has things they want to improve about their financial lives, even those of us who are paid to write and think about money on a daily basis. To that end, the editors at Daily Finance and other AOL sites shared their 2013 goals with personal finance expert Jean Chatzky. Today she offers some tips to help AOL Jobs editor Pam Kruger cut out all those small, everyday money wasters.

"I work in Manhattan and I have two daughters," says Pam, "and it just seems incredibly easy to drop money without thinking about it. I don't see myself having the time to keep a 'money diary,' but I still feel we could be saving more money than we do."

Here's what Jean advises:

Step 1: Find those "small money wasters" by grabbing a notebook and writing down every single thing you spend money on: the extra cookie at lunch that was $1.25, the items from the grocery store that weren't on your list, the magazine from the train station whose cover looked cool. Most people are surprised at the results.

Step 2: Tally up the money wasters and arrange for an automatic monthly transfer, in that amount, to a savings account. If you're set for emergency savings, you can earmark the money to a college savings account, IRA or brokerage account instead. Then visualize (yes, having an actual picture in your mind helps) what you're going to buy with all of this stockpiled loot. Focus on that when you feel the urge to (mindlessly) splurge.

-- With reporting by Maggie McGrath

Coming Saturday: A DailyFinance Reporter Is Ready to Break Up With His Bank

Or, read the previous article in the series: Her Financial Goal: Getting an Underwater Mortgage Afloat Again