According to a recent article by MarketWatch, half of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. If you’re one of them, you might think that breaking this cycle is impossible, but it’s not. Difficult, yes, but impossible, no.

There are two ways to get more money. One of them is to earn more of it while the other is to save more. Whichever method you employ (or the best is if you utilize both methods), you’ll want to take that extra money and set it aside.

But what should you do with that extra money? Is it smart to save it, or is it a waste? Much of it depends on how you save it.

For example, if you keep wads of cash tucked under your mattress, that’s not smart saving. You leave yourself vulnerable to theft or an event of circumstance such as a fire where you can never recover what you’ve squirreled away. What you need to do with all extra money you bring in is to save it. Start a new savings account that earns interest over time to build your stockpile. When you do this, it becomes an emergency fund, something you can fall back on when times get tough, or something you can use to reward yourself when life is going better than expected.

However, not putting money to good use is foolish as well. For example, if you find you can pay off your car with what you’ve saved, your money is best spent on ridding yourself of that payment once and for all, especially if you have an astronomical finance rate.

Don’t forget too that life is about living. While it’s certainly unwise to go out to eat every night or throw money around like it has no value, not taking the time to enjoy life makes the money we earn wasteful. Look for ways to treat yourself in your budget. It makes putting things away for savings much more pleasurable when you know you can reward yourself and your family for all the hard work you do.

Start taking extra change and putting it in a jar. Save certain denominations of bills and put them in the bank. Take an extra job. Sell good condition items you don’t need or use anymore. All of these little steps can add up to big savings that you can take to the bank!