Ways to keep your bank account full in this economy »

Answer these questions to test your financial IQ »

Learn how to change the way you save »

1. Don’t spend it all. Save $1 every time you break a $5 bill, or save $5 when breaking larger bills.

2. Become a coin collector. Deposit all your loose change from your purchases, pockets or drawers into a savings account. Also, consider Bank of
America’s Keep the Change program. Each of your check-card purchases is
rounded to the nearest dollar and the difference is transferred from your
checking to your savings account.

3. Make digital deposits. To establish a pool of money, have a fixed amount
deducted and transferred directly from your payroll monthly,” says Patricia
M. Barksdale, vice-president and wealth management adviser for Merrill
Lynch. Save $25 a week and you’ll gain $1,300 by the end of the year.

4. Click for coupon savings. Check Couponmom.com to track when your favorite products go on sale and find out how to cut your groceries in half. Print
e-coupons and blog to find out secret savings tips.

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5. Start charging. Make adult children pay rent, says credit and debt expert
Harrine Freeman. This will teach them financial independence and lessen your debt.

6. Brown-bag it. Eat breakfast at home and bring lunch and snacks to work. Then deposit the money you save in a savings account. That could easily add up to $60 a week (or $3,120 a year), depending on how much you typically spend.

7. Find freebies. The library, museums, community events, and even happy hours all offer fun on the cheap. Check your city or town’s Web site for details.

8. Shop resale. Try garage sales, yard sales, thrift stores, and the Goodwill (this works great in high-end neighborhoods). You’d be amazed at how many $1-$5 finds that can save you hundreds each month on everything from clothes to TVs to furniture.

9. Split the tab. Slash your gas and shopping bill in half! Share trips to Costco’s or BJ’s, car rides to work, or cab rides in the city with friends or work buddies.

10. Barter with buddies. If you know how to cook and your BFF is a tax whiz, offer to make her a great meal while she computes your assets and liabilities. This can be done with friends and colleagues alike. If you don’t know anyone who can take advantage of your skills, go to Craigslist.org for leads.

For more Smart Money Moves, pick up the April issue of ESSENCE, on newsstands everywhere March 13.