Become a Hoarder (the good kind!)

Struggling to build your savings? Here are six tips you can use to stash away cash -- even when funds are tight.

You've seen the headlines. America is a nation of spenders, not savers. You've also seen the headlines that people are working harder than ever before, but making less money.

Most people want to save, but when funds are tight or you are living paycheck to paycheck, saving money and getting ahead can seem nearly impossible. However, with a little bit of creativity and (and a healthy dose of discipline) you can "find" money to stash away for your future.

One: Plan a Weekly Grocery Shopping Trip

Do you grab lunch out with co-workers every day? Do you find yourself running to the grocery store in the evenings and buying whatever is handy? For one week, write down every dollar you spend at a coffee shop, restaurant or food store.

If the total shocks you, don't worry. There is a simple way to reduce your spending on food and beverages. Each weekend, sit down and make a meal plan for the week and then shop for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the week. Clip coupons, browse store flyers and take advantage of store club discounts to save money wherever you can. Compare your weekly grocery bill against your previous "eating out" bill, and stash away the difference.

Two: Leave Your Credit Cards at Home

If you are planning an evening out or a shopping trip with friends, budget a specific amount of cash to spend. Take that cash out of the bank, put it in your wallet and then take out your credit and debit cards. Limiting yourself to cash will keep you from overspending on items you don't need or offering to pay for everyone's dinner or drinks.

Three: Invest in a Programmable Thermostat

How many times have you sat down at your desk and realized you forgot to turn the thermostat up or down? A programmable thermostat can help you reduce your energy costs significantly. The heat and air conditioning can be set up or down when you leave the house, and then back to your desired temperature just before you arrive home in the evening. Most thermostats also allow you to program weekend settings, as well. The savings will allow you to funnel more money into your savings account each month.

Four: Revisit Direct Deposit

It is likely that your entire paycheck gets directly deposited into your checking account. Forcing you to take money back out and put it in a savings account can be painful. Instead, determine a specific percentage or dollar amount of each paycheck that will be deposited directly into your savings account so that you never "see" that money. Make sure that the savings account you choose is not tied to your ATM card, so you aren't tempted to withdraw the money for something else.

Five: Get Rid of Cable

Cable bills are often a household's single biggest expense outside of heating and cooling the home. What do you and your family really get out of watching cable? You can purchase HD antennas to receive over-the-air channels and there are many free and low-cost streaming services available. Cutting the cable cord can instantly free up anywhere from $50-$100 dollars a month that could be earning interest in a savings account.

Six: Give Yourself a Raise

If you truly are not making enough money to get by and sock away some savings, it's time to rethink your job. You may think there are limited opportunities in today's job market, but there are lots of "hidden" job opportunities that are never published for the general public.

If you're not achieving your goals with your current employer, make an appointment to speak to a professional recruiter in your field. They can give you an idea of what you can expect in terms of job opportunities and salary, and they can help you conduct a confidential search while you continue working. All of this can lead to an increase in salary, which is good news for your career -- and your bank account.