Great tips to save money

A new year always brings great opportunities to improve your finances.  If your New Year's resolution involves putting yourself on a better financial foundation, you'll need some good investment strategies to help you out. Here are 7 great tips for saving and investing in 2012 that will pay dividends well into the future.

1. Save Regularly

Setting money aside involves a certain level of discipline, but saving money is an absolute requirement. Whether you save $50 or $500 each month, setting aside some money regularly is absolutely critical. Equally critical is leaving the money alone.  Savings aren't meant for that one special purchase you want to make and just don't have the money for. Savings are for those "back-against-the-wall" emergencies and hard times that you simply can't predict.  Put your savings in an accessible bank account that pays interest or put it into savings bonds, but don't spend your savings unless you're facing a financial crisis.

2. Invest Regularly

Invest a certain portion of your money regularly. Just as with savings, you should regularly invest some amount of money.  Be careful about putting all of your "eggs" in one basket: diversify your investment portfolio as completely as possible. Avoid all-stock or all-bond investments. Instead, choose a variety of investment. Buy some stocks and some bonds to be sure. But also buy gold or other precious metals.  If you diversify your investments correctly, you can balance investment gains and losses for an overall steady return.

3. Save For Retirement

There are a lot of interesting vehicles available today for retirement savings. Your employer may offer a 401(k) plan, which is a good start, but it shouldn't be your entire retirement saving strategy.  Just as you diversify your non-retirement investments, your retirement investment strategy should be diversified, too.  Your retirement portfolio should include a mixture of taxed, untaxed and non-taxable investments. You should also look into a gold IRA. Most IRA accounts only contain stocks, but a special custodial IRA account will allow you to invest in physical assets, With such an IRA, you can buy gold bullion or buy gold coins that you can hold as retirement investments.

4. Choose A Financial Strategy

Before you make any major investments, you should know what your investment goals are. By committing to a set of goals, you can determine which investment strategies are most likely to help you succeed. Buying gold may be part of a contrarian investment strategy, for example, that can help your investments earn and perform even in a significant economic downturn.

5. Learn How To Invest

Many people don't invest because they don't know how.  Not knowing how to invest for the present and for the future can leave you in a bad situation – without enough money to ride out a bad economic downturn or perhaps to cope with an unexpected need to retire early.  You can learn how to buy gold, stocks, bonds, real estate or any other investment vehicle that can put you on a good financial footing.  By learning how to invest, you can learn about the investments that make the most sense for you.

6. Make Adjustments

Your investment goals may change over time. Likewise, the investment climate may also change. That's why it's important to review your investment strategy periodically as you grow older. You'll have a better handle on what your investments will need to produce and how long you're likely to need top performance.

7. Diversify, diversify, diversify

There is no better way to protect your entire portfolio than to have a variety of investment options at your disposal. Buying gold, investing in a traditional IRA, having a gold IRA or a silver IRA, having cash on hand, and having volatile investments can all work in your favor, depending on the investment climate.  Don't go "all-in" with a single investment type, unless you really like putting your future at risk.