For long-term goals, such as retirement, you’ll need to do a lot more planning (figuring out how much money you’ll need to live comfortably for 20 or 30 years after you stop working), and you’ll also need to figure out how investments will help you achieve your goals.
Kill your debt first. Simply calculating how much you spend each month on your debts will illustrate that eliminating debt is the fastest way to free up money. Once the money is freed from debt payment, it can easily be re-purposed to savings.
Have a hobby? Match your funds.
Keep a record of your expenses. What you save falls between two activities and their difference: how much you make and how much you spend. Since you have more control over how much you spend, it's wise to take a critical look at your expenses. Write down everything you spend your money on for a couple weeks or a month. Be as detailed as possible, and try not to leave out small purchases. Assign each purchase or expenditure a category such as: Rent, Car insurance, Car payments, Phone Bill, Cable Bill, Utilities, Gas, Food, Entertainment, etc.
Can you consolidate your debts so that you're not paying as much interest?
Can you save money on gas, or give up a car altogether? If your family has multiple cars, can you bring it down to one?
Can you drop a land line and only use your cell phone?
Can you live without cable or satellite TV?
Can you cut down on your utility bills?
Can you restrict eating out? Buy food in bulk? Cook more at home? You might be able to save a lot of money on food.
Learn to change your own oil, change your plugs, wires, and filters. Labor costs on your vehicle can be expensive, and there is a lot of information available to help you off-set the costs of personal transportation.
After a long week of working, you may want to indulge in some luxury, telling yourself, "I deserve this". Remember that the things you buy are not gifts to yourself; they are trades, products for money. Say, "Of course I deserve this, but can I afford it?" If I can't afford it, I'm still a worthy person, and I still "deserve" to meet my savings goals!
Be sure to keep track of automatic deductions from your paycheck and any automatic transfers you set up. Sometimes mistakes happen, and if you’re not paying attention, you might not get all your money.