For some people, although the idea of saving money is appealing, it also feels out of reach. They feel that they simply can't afford to stow away any of their paycheck, or they may not quite know how to save money when life is full of expenses. But saving doesn't have to be difficult or daunting. In fact, doing a little bit at a time can add up to a big balance down the road.

Many savers find that the first step is to follow the golden rule of personal finance: pay yourself first. This means before you give any of your income to the gas company, the babysitter, or your favorite restaurant across town, give some to yourself. After all, that's what saving is: it's setting aside money that you'll use down the road. Once you think of savings as a gift to yourself, it tends to look a lot more appealing.

One easy way to be sure you pay yourself first is automating your savings contributions. Many financial institutions allow you to set up recurring electronic transfers from your checking account to a savings account. You usually can set these up to occur at any interval that works for you—maybe each paycheck or once per month. Also check with your employer about your direct deposit options. Many employers will split your direct deposit into two or more accounts at your request.

And even if you don't have a major expense in your future, financial experts believe it's smart to have some money set aside for emergencies, usually three to six months of living expenses. If a large amount of debt is holding you back from saving, the experts we've talked to suggest building a smaller emergency fund—around $500 for example—and then turning your focus on eliminating your debt. Once your debt has been paid down, you might want to go back to building an emergency fund that can carry you through tough financial times.

Don't forget: saving any money is usually better than not saving any at all. Even if your savings account balance is less than what you'd like it to be, as long as there's something in there you can feel good about taking the initiative to set aside funds.

Wondering how to save money but don't know where to start? Ally Bank offers an Online Savings Account and a Money Market Account that can be linked to your checking for easy, automated savings. And the best part is your money will earn interest at a competitive rate, helping you reach your savings goals that much faster. Explore our savings products and more at or call live, 24/7 customer care at 877-247-ALLY (2559) today.

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