Military Saves Week is Monday through March 4, and before the campaign officially begins, more than 2,600 Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers have taken the "saver's pledge" to start saving.

"Fort Leonard Wood is hoping to have 5,000 pledges by the end of our campaign," said Tammy Fink, Army Community Service personal financial readiness specialist. "Last year we achieved 3,302 pledges, so we are just 650 pledges away from last year and the campaign is not even close to commencing."

Military Saves Week is part of the Military Saves Campaign, which is a component of the broader America Saves Campaign.

"This campaign is to encourage service members to save for the future, pay off debt, and make smart financial decisions," said Latrese Bookhard, ACS financial counselor.

ACS counselors began working at the first of the year, encouraging service members to save more money. During the campaign, service members are given tips and strategies to improve their financial situations. Each service member is encouraged to take the "saver's pledge," which is a commitment to make smarter financial choices and set a savings goal.

"When you take the pledge, you have an option to sign up and receive quarterly emails that will include the Military Saves newsletter. This newsletter is filled with lots of military-specific financial information. You will also receive a link to pull your free credit score and analysis from www.saveandinvest.org," Bookhard said.

Bookhard said when a service member takes the pledge, no one tracks them. Ultimately, the goal is to just increase financial awareness, and give service members the tools they need to thrive financially.

"I would encourage everyone to save, because we all need money for something. Whether you want to save to make a large purchase (home or car), take the Family on vacation, send the kids to school or just pay for your day-to-day living expenses; it takes money to do these things," Bookhard said.

"No one wants to live paycheck-to-paycheck. Money should be more than just survival," she added.

She said the best thing people can do to make saving money effortless is to automate.

"Make a savings goal and then automate those savings. Set it and forget it. Don't wait until the end of the month to save. Pay yourself first," Bookhard said.

Fink said although the campaign ends March 4, they will be taking campaign pledges through March 31.

To learn more about Military Saves Week and saving strategies, or to take the "saver's pledge," visit www.militarysaves.org. For local information, contact Fink at 573.596.0131, ext. 64320.