Although the year is more than halfway over, you can still meet your savings goals if you just sit down and take the time to come up with a savings plan. It is important to save up and invest in both your present and your future. Budgeting and investing in yourself doesn't have to be stressful if you set up the right plan.

#1 Create an Emergency Fund Plan

First, you need to create an emergency fund plan. It can be hard to save for an emergency when you feel like you are just getting by. However, it will be easier to get by in the future if you have money to draw on when you need it.

Ideally, you want an emergency fund to be able to cover all of your expenses if you were out of work. It is common to see recommendations to try to have anywhere from a few months to a year's worth of salary saved up.

If this seems like too lofty a goal to start with, aim to save a thousand dollars. Surprisingly, only 39% of Americans say that they could cover a $1,000 emergency. Make sure you are one of them by setting aside a set amount each month. You should put that money into a high-interest online savings account separate from your other accounts so that it earns money and requires you to make a conscious decision to access this money.

#2 Use Direct Deposit into Your Savings

If your work allows you to direct deposit your paycheck into more than one account, take advantage of this feature. Set it up so that you direct a specific amount of money out of each paycheck into your high-interest online savings account.

#3 Contribute to Your Employee-Based Retirement Plan

Next, make sure that you contribute to your retirement. The easiest way to do this is through an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If your employer offers a retirement plan, set up your paycheck to dedicate a percentage of your income to your retirement account each month. This is just another step you can take to automate your savings. When your savings is automatic and you don't really have to think about it, it is much easier to save.

#4 Set a Lifestyle Budget

Finally, set up a lifestyle budget. This is money that you can spend each month on lifestyle things, such as going on vacation, going out to eat, going to concerts and shows, buying people presents, etc. Determine a set amount that you will spend on "lifestyle" items each month. You can even set up a separate spending and savings account for your lifestyle expense.

If you struggle with setting up an overall budget, setting up a lifestyle budget or expense account, while at the same time automating your retirement and emergency fund savings will help you find that you are saving money and dedicating money to the things that you care about without having to follow a strict budget. Budgeting isn't just about counting every penny; it is also about setting up devices that make it easy for you to save your money so that the money in your checking account is just for bills and daily expenses.

If you have questions or need help creating savings goals, contact a financial planning company in your area.