Starting out on an intern's salary, I wasn't able to save much. Even so, I set up an automatic transfer from my checking account to my savings account for the first of every month, and I gradually increased the amount.
As my paycheck has grown, so have my savings.
By treating my savings like a bill, I don't even consider it money I'm allowed to spend. I've put a mental block in place, so I know this money is off-limits the same way I know I can't spend the money earmarked for rent. Over the last three years, I've been able to save thousands with little to no effort, because the money disappears before I have a chance to think about it.
My mom's not the only one doling out this winning advice. Writer and self-made millionaire David Bach refers to it as "paying yourself first," which he says is a proven, easy way to get rich.
"What most people do when they earn a dollar is pay everyone else first. They pay the landlord, the credit card company, the telephone company, the government ..." Bach writes in "The Automatic Millionaire." At the end of the day, they pay themselves whatever is left over. He calls this strategy "positively financially backwards."