Here is something to spook you this Halloween. Most Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts and the number of people with more credit card debt than savings is growing.

How hard is it for Americans to save?

• A recent survey shows that 62-percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account and 21-percent of people have no savings account at all. (Source: Go Banking Rates )
• Here is how bad it is: barely half of Americans have more in savings than they have in credit card debt. (Source: Bankrate )

Below are some tricks to help you save

Cash Rewards Credit Cards
• This is a way you can earn money to save, by spending.
• Do your research to find a good cash rewards card and use it to pay for everything you can like groceries, utilities or gas.
• When you find out the amount of your cash reward, put that money straight into a savings account. It’s extra cash you will never miss.
• Just remember, like any credit card, it’s important to pay the balance in full every month.

Play the Savings Lottery
• A lot of banks and credit unions are starting savings accounts where you can win prizes.
• By making a deposit you get a chance to win cash.
• The big difference here is it’s not nearly as risky as buying lottery tickets because you don’t lose the money spent on buying the ticket. That ends up in your savings account and you still get a chance to hit the jackpot.

Make it a Group Goal
• Make it a competition and have a friend, relative or group all come up with a savings goal and compete to see who can get there first.
• Start a saving club. These are groups of people that pool a certain amount of money every week and rotate who gets that money at the end of the week. If it’s 5 people, each person gets one identical payout over 5 weeks. When you get your money, you deposit it right away.
• Any time you get friends involved, it is someone to hold you accountable and it creates some extra motivation to save.

Use Automatic Options
• There are countless ways we can have the electronics do the work for us these days and a computer program won’t cave into temptation and decide to make that impulse purchase instead of socking money away.
• Automatic transfers are easy to set up, and every month they take a set amount of money from your checking or other spending accounts and put it into savings
• There are also new apps out there. Some will automatically round up every purchase to the next whole dollar amount and invest the extra cents. Others will study spending habits and bills and make small automatic transfers of perceived extra cash into savings 2 or 3 times a week.

Bank Newfound Income
• Recently get a raise? Put all of your increased income into savings. You’re already used to living on the amount of money you’d been making previously. You won’t miss the extra cash since you never had it before.
• If you recently paid off a car loan or credit card debt, keep making those payments, but pay yourself by transferring the money into savings instead sending it to the lender.
• If you need some of the newfound income just to get by, think about taking at least half of what you had been spending on those bills and putting it into savings each month.

Q: Other than these tricks, are there some simple things we can try to get better at saving?
• There are a few tried and true methods, some requiring a little more work than others.
• Start a change jar and save your change. We’re using a lot less cash these days, but even if you only save $10 in change a month, that ends up being $120 in a year.
• Save coupons. You have to go through the effort to find the coupons and bring them to the store, but when you use them and the receipt shows how much money you saved, put that money into savings.
• Buy discounted gift cards. If stores and restaurants will sell you something like a $50 gift card for 40 or 45 dollars. Put that extra 5 or ten dollars into savings.