Pay yourself first by setting up automatic contributions from checking to savings or investment accounts. By the editors of Kiplinger's Personal Finance From Kiplinger's Personal Finance, May 2013 Step 1 Decide where you’ll direct the money. Put cash that you may want to access at a moment’s notice in a savings or money market deposit account, and money for investments in a brokerage or mutual fund account.SEE ALSO -- SLIDE SHOW: 10 Low-Risk Ways to Earn More Interest on Your Savings Step 2 Gather routing and account numbers for each institution, and check out your bank’s fees and policies. For example, some banks charge to transfer money from a checking account to a savings account at another institution. But if the bank with the savings account initiates the transfer, the transaction is free. Step 3 Log in to your checking account (or savings account) and set up recurring transfers. Arrange for the transfers to occur shortly after payday so the money comes off the top of each paycheck. That will help you budget your spending and avoid overdrafts. The payoff Your money grows without a second thought on your part.