Once you're in trouble, it can be even harder to get out, says Chad Parks, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Ubiquity Retirement + Savings.
Scrutinize your financial picture. "Then, begin to develop a plan for yourself to improve your financial health and reach your long-term goals," Parks said. "Determine your cash inflows and outflows, and create a realistic budget."
That gives you a baseline of your finances. Use online budgeting tools to help identify spending patterns or behaviors, so you can figure out some ways to save. Apps that help you track your finances are useful in helping monitor and improve money habits.
Next, set realistic goals. Parks recommends saving up a solid emergency fund. "Start thinking about what that means for you and open a savings account that you can automatically transfer money into monthly," he said. "Evaluate your debt and determine a realistic plan for paying it down."
Regret not saving? Start immediately, Parks says. "The cost of not saving earlier adds up drastically, so the sooner you can start, the better."
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns.