I have a small amount of my savings on auto pilot. It is automatically transfered into my savings from my checking on the last day of the month. I would love to automate it more, but I am concerned about the possibility of not receiving my rent checks on time. As soon as the rent check is received, I use half to pay down my principal on my mortgage and the other half goes into savings.
Well, a lot of people have been posting about addressing the legal situation with your ex before anything else, and I think that sounds like great advice. I've never been divorced (or even married for that matter), so I'll leave all that advice to others!
Now that you've posted your budget (thanks!) I am really impressed that you are already regularly saving 1600 per month without automating. Saving only works for me if I pay myself first -- I get paid on the 1st and the 15th, so the automatic deposits to ING happen on the 3rd and 18th, two days after each paycheck is deposited into my checking account (that's long enough to clear the deposit and factor in any weekend days). I figure out how much I want to save in a year, divide by 24 (the number of paychecks per year), then deposit that to ING first. Then the bills get paid, and then I live on what's left over. Took some getting used to, and I still make mistakes occasionally, but when I tried to live first and save later, it didn't happen.
(I think you do have more than enough stability in your income to automate savings, by the way, as long as you have a fund in place to cover the rental mortgage if your tenants are late. Your rental income, by the looks of it, is a relatively small portion of your monthly income.)
If you are looking to squeeze more savings out of your budget, you might start by re-examining those numbers for "other," "dining out," "entertainment," "donations/gifts," "cable/internet," and "cell phone." You're spending a total of 1668 per month on all of those categories. Imagine how fast the money would pile up in your retirement account, emergency fund, or whatever, if you chose to save half of that money instead. $833 saved per month for a year gives you an extra 10K by the end of the year.
Ah, well, first things first. Let's hope the lawyer can work out something that helps you protect your assets from your ex...good luck!