By Alan Prahl

Many people want to save money but try to save out of their financial leftovers after they have paid everyone else. After paying the mortgage or rent, utilities, food, cellphone, car payment, student loans and eating out a few times, often there’s not much money left!

There’s a better way to save. Set one or two important goals like saving to buy a better car or having an emergency fund. Choose a realistic amount to save that fits your budget.

Financial planners sometimes say you should pay yourself first. They mean you should treat saving for these goals like you are paying very important bills. You put money into savings for these goals and choose to spend a little less on other things.

Your bank can help you set up automatic savings for your goals. For example, you could have $175 transferred from checking to a designated savings account on the 15th of each month. After a year, you’d have $2,100 saved, after five years — without adding any interest — you’d have $10,500 in savings.

To learn more about paying yourself first, look for the video “Save for your Goals, Pay Yourself First” on the “FISC Financial Coach” free app.

Even small amounts of money can add up to be a lot. Don’t wait. Start saving money today.