For many young people, saving money is a distant goal that they hope to achieve…someday. In the stage of life that millennials and younger are in, the thought of having enough savings to maybe acquire a mortgage, upgrade their car, or pay off their student loans is just a distant dream. In fact, the odds are quite high that if you are in this age bracket, you are living paycheck to paycheck with little to no savings at all, and are mostly doing your transactions and bill pay in cash. Even if you’re still keeping your spare cash in a coffee can, it is not impossible for you to start lining your future with a substantial little savings cushion, and here is how you can do it.

If you haven’t already, apply for a checking account. Having a checking account makes things like bill pay and receiving money from your job so much easier. Most banks have a mobile banking app that can do anything from display your balance to transfer funds to your checking account. When you apply for a checking account, one of the most beneficial features that the app can offer you is a spending analysis. The analysis can show you in simple terms how much you are spending, and on what—do you notice that you’re spending way too much on dining out, or coffee shops? Additionally, choosing to apply for a checking account means that you now have a record of your regular income, which will be important down the road for proving your income to lenders for a new car, credit card, or mortgage.

When you apply for a checking account, ask about checking and savings packages. Your bank may have a variety of programs that give you discounts on your checking account and help you set up a savings program. If you set up automatic withdrawals from your paycheck into your savings account, the bank may make a small cash contribution to your savings once you reach a certain goal.

Once you have your checking and savings accounts set up, it is time to reassess your debts, your expenses, and your income. Some expenses are necessary, like your phone and gas in your car and your heatlh insurance, while others can either be removed or shared with another person, like Netflix, groceries, and things like a Costco membership. Similarly, debts you currently have will not go away until you pay them, like an auto loan and student loans, but you can avoid accumulating other debts that have cripplingly high interest rates, like payday cash loans, auto title loans, and credit card debt. If you try to reduce your credit card usage each month by at least a quarter or half, you will save yourself a big chunk of money that you are throwing at interest payments. Also, reducing your credit card usage will reflect positively on your credit report, since credit utilization is a factor into your score.

Some loans and methods to borrow money are a slippery slope to a debt nightmare and some hard blows to your credit. Auto title loans are a form of borrowing where the title of your vehicle is given to the institution that will loan you money as a form of collateral. These auto title loans often have extremely high interest rates because they target people who are in a bind and people will less than perfect credit. If you default on any auto title loans, your car could be repossessed. While repairing your finances, be sure to avoid these forms of loans.
If you are tempted to dip into your savings, consider setting up a savings with an online bank. There are many reputable online banks that offer great savings incentive programs. If your savings account is in an online bank that is completely separate from your checking account, it is more out of sight and out of mind. So, if you set up automatic transfers from your checking account into this savings account, you are more likely to forget the money is even there and be less tempted to pull out of your savings account.