Step 1- The key is to set aside a portion of your income before you get the chance to spend it. To do that, set up automatic withdrawals from your paycheck to a separate investment account that you have limited access to. Talk to your bank or financial institution, they will be able to help you get that set up. Start with a percentage of your paycheck that you feel you can afford without putting undue pressure on yourself (say 5 % of your paycheck). Just like a diet, if you suddenly go from one extreme to another you will likely burn out and quit. If your situation is such that you spend more money than what you make, you'll have to cut back on something to start.
Step 2- When you get a raise, earmark a portion of it to your automatic withdrawals. Say you currently automatically withdraw 5% of your paycheck for investments and you get a 3% raise, you can agree to earmark 2% extra towards your investment making it 7%. After a few years, you can find yourself setting aside more than 10% of your paycheck to investments in a relatively pain free manner. Again, ask your financial institution to help set this up.
I picked this idea up when listening to Tony Robbins, and why does he say this works? People's lifestyles tend to get more expensive as their incomes increase, so the key is to not have access to the increased income so you don't find a way to consume more at the expense of your investments. I haven't tried this myself as I was never a high consumption person, but for those that do have challenges in this area give it a shot.
While it's important to be smart with the money you do get, I believe more in expanding your means. So look at investing some time in a part time business to help build up another source of income. If you're looking for a part time business, but don't know where to start, send me an email or give me a call and I can help.