Treat it like a bill
Establish a monthly savings goal and make it part of your regular budget. Consider setting up an automatic monthly transfer, just as you would with the electric bill or fitness club membership, to ensure the money is saved each month.
"The forced savings should feel like a bill-pay transaction that is done on the same day of every month," Smith says.
Paying yourself first through a direct deposit from your paycheck into your emergency account will help you build that fund steadily. But make sure you've created a balanced budget so that you save the appropriate amount. Otherwise, you'll be pulling money out of savings regularly to pay bills, defeating the purpose.