Whether for retirement, a new house, car, or for emergencies saving money is crucial for the security and well-being of your family. Despite the fact that most people understand the importance of saving many don't know where to begin when it comes to establishing a savings and are woefully unprepared. Financial experts are extremely concerned about the lack of significant savings among Americans. A recent survey conducted by Merrill Lynch, for example, found that 75 percent of baby-boomers assume they will enjoy a standard of living as good or better than their current lifestyle upon retirement. In spite of this, most people save only 7 percent of their annual income versus the 25 percent needed to fulfill their expectations.

A startling survey by Federal Reserve Bank revealed that approximately 20 million households save nothing at all. Saving money often requires great sacrifice and families that are already on a tight budget sometimes find it too difficult to put away any amount into savings. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, estimates it requires between $7,000 and $12,000 each year to raise one child. Add to that expense the cost of a house and car payments, taxes, insurance, debt payments, and basic living expenses, putting away extra into savings can seem impossible. The high standard of living in the United States puts additional pressure on families to acquire possessions that they may not need while advertising constantly bombards families with "must haves" that encourage overspending and consumer debt. Regardless of what prevents families from saving money, there are ways to start small without becoming overwhelmed. The following suggestions will help you avoid some of the common pitfalls when it comes to saving money for your family's future.

1. Don't be afraid to start

It's never too late to start saving something. You may be worried that you will never have enough to cover future expenses. However, some savings is always better than none. Don't worry if you are intimidated by the varieties of options available, or the seeming complexity of financial matters. If you are too afraid to figure it out alone, contact a financial consultant to help you get your savings plan organized and off the ground.

2. Don't feel that you have to "go big" or "go home"

Consistency is more important than quantity. Even small savings add up significantly over time. Depending on your financial status, you can put away as little or as much as you are able. The important thing is that you begin as soon as possible. Then, as your circumstances change you can adapt and increase or decrease your monthly savings.

3. Don't borrow from your emergency or retirement savings

If you want to take a trip for your family or remodel your home but don't have the money now, be willing to wait until you do. Don't use the money you have been saving for the future. Instead, set up a separate account for these items and place additional savings there. When you have saved for a few years, you will be able to finance your wants and avoid going into debt.

This article was originally published on FamilyShare.com. Check out these other related articles: 6 ways to start saving for the future, Money saving ideas for large families, and Save for what? 6 savings objectives that may apply to you today.

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