I think one of the biggest pitfalls of debt, is the seeming inability to save, partly because it's just not on your radar.

How can I save when I have this pile of debt to pay down each month!

It turns out, it's not impossible to save, even with this endless stream of debt payments in my mailbox every month. I'm not saying it's easy, or is even going to happen on a regular basis, but I am saying it's not impossible. I'm also saying that once you get used to it, you might not even notice it's happening!

The strategy I've used for the longest amount of time is my "direct deposit" method.

I have my paycheck direct deposited to a checking account for every day spending and a savings account for monthly expenses like rent, utilities, etc. A while back I decided to add some extra money to my direct deposit in my savings account . . . this money is actually for savings. I try to increase my savings amount slightly if I get a raise, but if I can't, I at least maintain a minimum level, so I always know I'm putting something away.

The extension of this strategy is anytime I get some extra cash from taxes, birthdays, or some other treat, I stash it away in that savings account. Depending on the amount, I might treat myself to something, but the majority needs to go where I can't see it.

One of my newer strategies came about when I successfully paid off a credit card and no longer had that monthly payment.

It was the smallest of all my payments, but I decided to continue making that payment, but this time to myself. Since it's so easy to adjust my direct deposit allocations, I simply added the amount of the payment to my savings account allotment. It's not a very large monthly amount, but it adds up over time and slowly but surely gives me something of a cushion should I need it.

The third secret I've discovered is when I spend my savings, I make a real effort to pay myself back.

It keeps me accountable, and keeps me thinking twice about digging into that account. For starters, I have no credit or debit card attached to it, so I can only use it via writing a check (and who accepts those!). But should I go to the effort of writing and depositing a check into my checking account, I make a note that I need to pay that back to my savings. This helps keep it growing, or at the very least maintaining its level - the key is I don't want it to fall too much.

To be honest, building a savings account is rather new for me, and I think my savings is rather low compared to some people I know. But I'm glad I've started building that account and it's comforting to know I have some backup just in case I need it.

The hardest part for me is still not spending that money (and paying it back if I do), but in the last few months I've managed to see that number grow, so I'll take that for now.

Sarah Pack, Debt management plan customer with leading provider of debt relief, CareOne Services, Inc. Sarah Pack

Sarah recently enrolled in the CareOne Debt Management Plan (DMP). Sarah currently lives in Virginia with her dachshund-beagle mix. In her blog, Sarah shares her experience as she just starts out on the DMP, managing her own expenses and spending, and working towards becoming a better saver. You can read more about Sarah's experience in the A Straight Talk on Debt blog. Compensated Blogger for CareOne Debt Relief Services.