There are essentially 2 strategies for boosting savings and investments: increase your income and cut your spending.

Whether you’re a young adult ready to start saving for retirement, a 50-something ready to pay off your mortgage or a senior citizen living on a fixed income, these basic time-honored tips can help you build savings, reduce debt, boost income and invest smartly.

Perhaps the best strategy for saving is to set aside part of your monthly income off the top, rather than from whatever’s left over, says Cheryl Krueger, president of Growing Fortunes Financial Partners LLC, a financial planning firm in Schaumburg, Illinois.

“Have a set amount that you save every month, so you’re not allowing yourself to spend first and pay yourself next,” Krueger says.

Ronit Rogoszinski, a wealth adviser at Arch Financial Group in Garden City, New York, says one way to follow this strategy is to set up automatic transfers from your bank account to a savings account or investment account.

“Whether it’s the 7th of every month or the 19th of every month and $20, $200, $2,000, whatever, take a percentage of your paycheck or a random number and have it done automatically. Don’t think about it. Don’t go back to it. Just have it done,” Rogoszinski says.

Perhaps the best strategy for saving is to set aside part of your monthly income off the top, rather than from whatever’s left over, says Cheryl Krueger, president of Growing Fortunes Financial Partners LLC, a financial planning firm in Schaumburg, Illinois.

“Have a set amount that you save every month, so you’re not allowing yourself to spend first and pay yourself next,” Krueger says.

Ronit Rogoszinski, a wealth adviser at Arch Financial Group in Garden City, New York, says one way to follow this strategy is to set up automatic transfers from your bank account to a savings account or investment account.

“Whether it’s the 7th of every month or the 19th of every month and $20, $200, $2,000, whatever, take a percentage of your paycheck or a random number and have it done automatically. Don’t think about it. Don’t go back to it. Just have it done,” Rogoszinski says.

Saving often starts with spending less, and that means getting creative about cutting expenses. Whether it’s a pricey hair salon, daily premium coffee or brand-new clothing at retail prices, most people can find things to trim from their budgets.

“A good tactic for everybody would be to really scrub your budget,” says Frank Boucher, owner of Boucher Financial Planning Services in Reston, Virginia. “With a little imagination, a lot of people can reduce their expenses 10% to 20% or more, even though they don’t think they’re living all that extravagantly.”

When you cut back on spending, Rogoszinski says, don’t leave the savings in your pocket, wallet or checking account, where you’ll just spend the money on something else. Instead, make a payment that day on a debt or transfer the money to a savings account where it will be out of reach.

If you buy a Danish every morning on your way to work, dine out 5 nights a week or indulge other similar habits, resolve to substitute a stay-at-home-and-save habit for one or two of those days.

“Try to reduce 1 spending habit that is discretionary and bank the savings or put it toward paying down a debt,” Rogoszinski says.

Paying off debt can be a great way to free up money that you can redirect to savings or investing, Rogoszinski says. Make a list of your debts and pay off those with the highest interest rates or smallest balances first.

There are 2 ways to earn more money: getting a part-time job and selling something you no longer need.

Working longer hours might seem burdensome. But Boucher says an extra job with a deadline and a specific short-term savings goal can be a smart strategy.

“Look at it as, ‘I am going to work part time until I save enough money to buy a new car in 2 years.’ Then, it doesn’t become as onerous as it would if you were thinking, ‘I have to work 2 jobs for the rest of my life,'” he says.

Selling something you don’t need like an extra car, used designer clothing, collectibles, musical instruments or jewelry also can generate cash for savings.

“Almost everybody has something that they don’t use anymore that they can sell to raise some cash,” Boucher says.

If you find saving to be a challenge, start by trying to save just $100 or $500 for a specific purchase or expense. When you’ve saved and spent that sum, continue to save that amount or more so you can pay for what you need or want with cash instead of credit.

If you’re unable to save any money for major purchases and long-term investments, “you’re clearly living above your means,” Boucher says. That calls for major adjustments, like trading in a new car for basic reliable transportation or moving to more affordable housing.

“If that’s what it takes, then that’s what you have to do,” he says.

Some investments are relatively tame on the risk-reward scale while others are wilder.

Generally speaking, younger people should invest more aggressively while older people should be more conservative. However, regardless of age, “a good balance is appropriate for everybody, depending on their circumstances,” says Boucher of Boucher Financial Planning.

If you’re a novice investor, start with a basket of investments, perhaps in a mutual fund or assets you choose yourself. The goal should be to diversify without making your portfolio too complicated or too narrow.

“Start with things you know and recognize because you use those products and services,” Rogoszinski says. “That’s the easiest way to start investing.”

Whether you’re a novice or experienced investor, be cautious about investments with a high-flying risk-reward profile.

“There’s a direct correlation between return and risk, so if you are being promised pie in the sky, you can be sure there is a lot of risk,” Boucher says.

Whether you’re talking about stocks and bonds, mutual funds, broker commissions or 401(k) retirement plan management fees, virtually all investments involve costs that investors should understand.

“Sometimes, the employer will subsidize some of the cost of a 401(k), and sometimes (it) will pass it all on to the employees,” Krueger says. “Going to (your managers) and letting them know that you noticed is helpful.”

If your employer-based retirement plan has exceptionally high costs, you might want to invest just enough to capture your employer’s match and make additional investments outside that plan, she says.

A stock market dip can be a good buying opportunity for steady investors who want to add to their portfolio.

“Intuitively, you want to run away,” Boucher says, “but what you should be doing is continuing your strategy of buying a mix of stocks and bonds.”

Review your investment strategy once or twice a year, and don’t let headlines throw you off track as you allocate your funds.

“The goal should be for it to be an ongoing process, not to be stopped or restarted because of the news of the day,” Rogoszinski says.

Once you’ve set up your plan, she says, “don’t second-guess; leave it alone.”

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