Is budgeting a hassle? Do you sometimes forget to make your Roth IRA contribution or to transfer this month’s installment for the new car you’re saving for? Do you wish there were some way to make the process easier?

One way to reduce human error is to set up a separate savings account for each of your goals. You can then set up automatic monthly transfers to each of these accounts (and to each of your retirement accounts). Though many GRS readers like this sort of automation, there are plenty who don’t. Some are wary of electronic transactions, and others just want to have more direct control over the process.

For these folks, GRS reader Lena has a suggestion. Her entry to the recent GRS video contest describes a great way to pay yourself first with a personalized coupon book:

Here’s how it works: Just as you might have a coupon book listing all of the installments on a loan you owe, you create your own coupon book for each of your financial goals. If you want to make $50 monthly contributions to your Roth IRA, for example, you’d create a coupon book for that, with one coupon for each month. When you do your finances, you pull these booklets out and treat them just as you would any other bill or obligation.

Lena calls this an “easy, low-tech way to help you reach your financial goals.” I agree. It can be tough sometimes to pay yourself first because you don’t have any physical reminders. This is a convenient (and fun) way to make saving a habit.

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