For many Americans, the suggestion of having three to six months of savings in an emergency fund is daunting. Ideally, it would be great to have that much saved—but if you're starting from scratch, that goal can seem difficult, overwhelming, and possibly set you up to fail.

We recommend starting with an emergency fund savings goal of just $500.

Here at America Saves, our motto is "Start Small. Think Big." In keeping with that, we recommend starting with an emergency fund savings goal of just $500. As a new saver, you're probably wondering where should you start. We have an answer for you:

By making a commitment to yourself to save.

It sounds simple, but we know that people who make a plan are twice as likely to save successfully and meet their goals. In fact, we've built an entire community of everyday Americans who made that commitment by taking the America Saves Pledge.

Once you've taken the pledge, here are 5 tips that will help you #ThinkLikeASaver:

Savings Tip #1: Save Automatically

Automatic savings means you have a process in place to save at regular intervals, whether that's monthly, weekly, or daily. To save automatically, we suggest one of these three strategies:

  1. Instruct your employer to direct a certain amount from your paycheck each pay period and transfer it to a retirement or savings account (or both). Traditionally, you can set this up using your employer's direct deposit, ask your HR representative for more details and set this up today.

  2. Every payday, your bank or credit union transfers a fixed amount from your checking account to a savings or investment account. Talk to your local bank or credit union to set this up.

  3. Choose a day of the month or a regular interval, such as every 2 weeks, to transfer a set amount from your checking account to a savings vehicle. We particularly recommend this method for people with inconsistent income or those who access their pay frequently. Consider picking a lower dollar amount or a time of the month when many other automatic payments aren't happening. Set this up with your bank or credit union.

Savings Tip #2: Save the Extra

Getting unexpected or a lump sum of cash is always a good time! Every time you receive a windfall, such as a work bonus, inheritance, contest winnings, or tax refund, put a portion into your savings account. We're all for treating yourself, but you'll thank yourself later if you #treatyoself AND tuck some away for an emergency.

Savings Tip #3: Save for the Future

Building an emergency fund is essentially saving for the future, but there are two life events you'll want to prepare for early: education (for you and/or your children) and retirement. Be sure to take advantage of employer-offered retirement plans, like IRAs and 401Ks. Research your state's college savings 529 plans to see if one is a good fit for your family.

Want other tips to help you continue to think like a saver? We've got 54 ways to save to give you fresh ideas, tips, and strategies to start small and think big.

Don't forget to take the America Saves Pledge to receive valuable resources, prompts, and reminders to save and achieve your goal!