Vow to save more money this year? Most money mavens will tell you to set a goal, figure out how much money it will take to achieve it, and then start socking away your dough. That's fine if you actually make it to Step 2.
Here's a simpler way -- one that'll painlessly back you into a savings plan. In a few months, you'll look at your savings account balance and wonder where all that extra money came from.
Step 1: Take a pay cut. Yup, you read that right. Successful saving requires giving yourself less money to spend. We promise you won't miss it. Right now, pick a dollar amount you can bear to part with every paycheck -- don't overthink, just come up with a figure. (Go ahead. We'll wait.) Write it down on this handy Save More Kit. Hang it on the fridge or inside the medicine cabinet as a constant reminder of your newfound savings resolve. If you're extra motivated, each week write down how much you would amass if you actually socked away that amount. If you do nothing else, this simple exercise will start you thinking about the power of every dollar you can save.
Step 2: Make saving automatic. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. And so it goes with money earned. Set up a savings account that's separate from your regular checking account, and have some money automatically directed into it. With the account inaccessible by debit card, it'll be less tempting to break in and blow the balance.
Step 3 (extra credit!): Supersize your balance. Find a savings account that earns the most interest. (Check out the rates on money market accounts and certificates of deposit with our sponsor, MBNA.) If you want to really show off, send a check right now to fund your IRA.
Step 4: Bask. You deserve it.
How's that budget plan coming along? Don't fret. Your fellow Fools are ready with answers on our Budgeting discussion board.