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When you're a kid, being an adult seems a long way off. As we get older, we realize that time moves much faster than we once thought. When it comes to retirement, we need to have this perspective. If you're just getting started on saving for retirement, great! If you haven't started, then right now, meaning today, is the right time for you to start. It may seem like an impossible task no matter where you are in the process, but if you make a plan and keep to you can start building your retirement right now.

Just a couple of fast-food trips

The global economy is still not doing well, but many of us still buy things, go out to eat and splurge on small purchases. There's nothing wrong with this, unless you're just spending money and thinking you don't have enough of it to save.

Building up your savings account can start with deposits as small as two trips to your local fast-food restaurant. If you eat out every day for lunch, you can pack your lunch a few days a week and put that money into your savings. Don't think that will make a difference? If you cut out $8 a week from lunches each week for five years, you would have more than $2,000 in your savings account. That's not a lot of money for savings, but it's a lot of money when you consider that you're not giving up much to keep it.

Banking tools make it easy

Banks are all about savings right now; at least they talk that way. Many bank commercials tell you how to automatically save money with your debit card or through automatic savings plans.

Online tools and automatic savings plans have made it easy -- and almost painless -- to put money away. Does your bank have a plan where you can round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and put the additional money into your savings plan automatically? If they do, and you find it hard to save, this may be the best way for you to save.

If you'd rather control how much money is going into your savings account, you can set up a simple automatic deposit each month from your checking account to your savings account. This simple step will add up if you stick with it year after year.

Compound interest is your friend

If you're putting money in a low-interest savings account, that's fine for getting started. But after a while you should consider moving your money into an investment account where it can earn more money. Investment and retirement accounts will allow your money to grow through compound interest.

The more money you have in an investment account, the more it can be invested to make more money. When your initial investment earns capital, those earnings can be automatically reinvested to make even more money, thanks to compound interest.

One investment alternative is a 401k retirement plan. Instead of having your money sitting in a bank account earning less than 1% a year, you can put it in a 401k where it will earn much more. There's much more to 401k's than we can discuss here, but keep in mind that the best way to boost your savings is to let your money build on itself through compound interest.

Anything is better than nothing

Whether it's an automatic draft schedule, debit purchase round-ups or whatever savings path you choose, remember that anything is better than nothing. You won't have a dollar in your savings account later if you don't start putting in some change now.

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Saving money is not just for rich people. In fact, the wealthy can be just as bad with money as anyone else. Saving money is something we all should try to do, and something we should all make a priority.

The bottom line

Think of an amount you know you can handle each month, and commit to saving that amount for six months. Use your online banking tools or other resources to do it automatically, so you don't have to think about it. At the end of the six months, increase the amount if you know you can save a little more.

If you're consistent, you'll start seeing your savings account grow. With a little discipline, you'll be on your way to saving real dollars for retirement.

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