Let me introduce you to the only plan that I have found so far in my short life that is actually effective for me:
The $5 Savings Plan
It's pretty simple. Are you ready??
I read in a magazine once that if you take every 5-dollar bill that comes into your possession and put it in a jar/box/bag/under the mattress, it adds up to a nice sum within about 6 months.
So that is what I have been doing. Since I got back from Christmas, I've taken all the change and every $5 bill in my wallet and put it in a big jar. The effectiveness of this system naturally depends on how much of a cash flow one has, but since I get cash tips from Starbucks every week, I always have something to contribute. I realize that I won't be using this for the down payment for a house or anything big, but it's there for emergencies and, hopefully, for some splurges for the new house (which you can read about here!).
There are a few reasons why I think this system works for me:
(one) I'm particularly motivated to save money for this house project, because I'm really excited about it!
(two) It's become a fun challenge to see how much money I can put in there each week.
(three) The jar I'm using is transparent, and it's fun to see the bills and change piling up.
(four) The jar also has a really small neck, so if I was ever tempted to take money out of the jar, I would have to dump three pounds of change on the floor and then pull the bills out with tweezers.
I know it's not the best savings system in the world. I'm not earning interest or protecting my assets. But it works for now, and it works for me!