Save the Windfall
This one's really easy. You've just come into a nice chunk of money that you weren't expecting. It could be a gift, a tax refund or the proceeds of a garage sale. Maybe it's an inheritance, an insurance settlement or a bonus at work. Whatever the source and whatever the amount, it's a golden opportunity for adding to your savings. Set aside a portion of that money, and put it into your savings account.
A regular windfall is another opportunity to save. Usually this comes in the form of a raise at work, but it could be a lower rent bill (if you move into a less expensive place) or the end of a car payment -- anything that puts more money in your pocket every month. The idea behind socking it away is this: You got along without it before, so you don't need to spend it now. Save it and you won't miss it.
The bigger the amount of the windfall, the more you should think about putting it into long-term savings. You're not as likely to need a substantial chunk for emergencies, so you can use it to build your retirement account. Paying off debt should also be high on your list. But don't try to save every penny. Take a portion of your bonanza and splurge -- buy that new smartphone or take that dream vacation. It'll help you feel good about what you do save.