Saving money is a priority for 2013, Americans have indicated.

Saving money is a priority for 2013, Americans have indicated.

Fifty-two percent of survey respondents list “saving more” as their top financial resolution, according to a Fidelity Investments survey, as reported by Yahoo’s Money Talks News.

However, financial resolutions are harder to keep than other New Year's resolutions, survey respondents said. Less than half of respondents accomplished 80 percent of their financial goals for 2012.

If putting more money in the bank is a top priority for you, these seven tips will help you get started:

•Set goals

•Break down your goals into easy steps

•Make savings automatic

•Track expenses

•Find spending leaks and ways to cut expenses

•Track your progress and

•Reward yourself

You can use the 52 Week Money Challenge to structure your New Year savings resolution. This simple savings approach will help you accomplish all seven money tips. 

Add $1 each week until you build up to saving $52 in the month's last week. Or you can do the opposite and start with $52 the first week and work your way down to saving $1 in the 52nd week. 

Some folks have opted for each, with the third week to be the 52nd week and count downward while the other weeks count upward.

For example: save $1 in week one; save $2, week two; $52, week three; $3, week four; $4, week five; and $51, week six. 

This may make it easier to save. 

In the end, you will have saved $1,378! 

Can you do the 52 Week Challenge?

You can also join the Okaloosa Saves program at and participate in the America Saves Week Challenge beginning Feb. 24. At the end of the challenge, you may be a cash prizewinner.

Additionally, attend the EcoNomic Living Expo, Feb. 2, at the Emerald Coast Convention Center for exhibits, seminars, kids' activities and more. 

See more information at

Brenda Smith is with the Okaloosa County Extension office in Crestview.