Over the past couple months, I have decided to take up my mother's advice, and start a type of semi-emergency fund. I'm not talking about the emergency funds that the big boys in personal finance talk about, which apparently should be anywhere from 3-6 months of your salary in case the worst happens, I'm talking about a smaller version that we all can live with. The premise for this account is simple - open another account at your bank or credit union (I just call mine "extra") and set the account to take out a small amount, like $10-$20 per paycheck, out of your savings or checking account (where ever you put your paycheck).
Because it is such a small amount of money, you hardly even notice its gone. Over time, this amount will build up, not to a staggering amount by any means, but something to aid you in case your washer breaks, or the car needs repairs. The blow seems less detrimental to your budget when you already have an account set up for that sort of thing. I have had no real need to use this account yet, but now that I have saved up a decent amount, I would feel sort of sad if I had to take from it, which is a new experience in comparison to my normal bad spending habits.