Pay yourself first. Even if you’re paying down debt, make an effort to deposit a small amount into your savings. Whether it’s $5 per paycheck or 20% of your gross pay, take this small step first: invest in yourself.
Figure the amount you can afford before paying your monthly bills and having spending money. Work your savings into your budget giving it top priority. This might require a few cutbacks such as brown bagging your lunch or making your own coffee in the morning instead of stopping in your favorite coffee shop on the way to work.
If this is difficult, get into the habit by not having access to it on payday. If you’re enrolled in direct deposit, set up a split deposit to your checking and savings accounts. Another option is to have automatic transfers made to your savings. The trick is to not have the cash on hand.
Another helpful strategy is to have your checking and savings accounts set up at different banks. That way transfers to an account may take up to 2 days whereas transfers within the same bank are immediate. The easier the access, the more temptation. Get used to living without it and eventually you won’t miss it.
This is about putting yourself first for your future.