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Are You Ready to Get Serious About Saving Money?

by Sharon Epperson, CNBC / / Source: CNBC.com
A new survey finds half of American workers say they don't save—or don't save more—for retirement because of their cost of living and day-to-day expenses.KAREN BLEIER / AFP/Getty Images
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Not meeting your savings goals? You're not alone. A recent survey by America Saves found that fewer than half of U.S. households felt they were making progress in meeting their savings needs.

If you want to get serious about bulking up your emergency fund but don't think you can afford to, you're wrong. Very small steps like these can add up big, especially over time.

1. Keep the change

Those quarters in a pocket or purse are money literally in your hand. Setting aside just 50 cents a day can add up quickly. Do it for a year and you'll have more than 180 bucks.

2. Can the soda

Giving up drinks that cost money such as soda or coffee while you're out can also save you cash. Bring your own water in a bottle and you'll be doing something good for your wallet and your health.

Read More from CNBC: Are You as Good at Saving as Millennials?

3. Pay yourself first

A big tax refund in April is not a cause for a happy dance. That money was yours all along; instead of being in your bank account it was in the government's. The fix? Go to the IRS tax withholding calculator online and figure out how much should be taken out of your paycheck. Any new money you receive should be put right into your rainy-day fund.

All very simple ways to start building up that savings account.

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