If you’ve budgeted to zero, you should now have a good idea of how much money you can comfortably save each month. But taking the leap from knowing how much you can save and actually saving that amount is a challenging one.
The first suggestion I have is that you bill yourself. Using myself as an example, I am determined to save (and am capable of saving) $600 per month. (I hope to save more like $800 to $1000, but sometimes I just can’t with unexpected bills and other larger purchases I decide to make. I’m not too worried about it.) So each month when I gather my bills and pay them, I also pay myself $600 into savings – as if it were a bill.
This distinction might not seem important to some of you, but think of it this way: if you intend on savings $600/month, you may or may not do it. If you decide to pay yourself $600 a month toward savings, you must pay it regularly, and with intent – like a bill.
My suggestion would be to treat it like a bill and really put it in your face so you don’t forget. If you pay your bills on paper, or have a collection of paper bills that you work with, put a sticky note on the top of the pile to also pay yourself savings. If you’re like me and do everything electronically, set up a calendar to remind you to pay yourself savings each month. I use iCal, Google Calendar, and Remember the Milk, all for different things. iCal is my bills calendar, and so every month I get an email from my computer’s calendar reminding myself to pay to my savings.
I find this works really well.