There are regular expenses, like groceries and gas, and then there are those occasional expenses, like car registration fees, tuition costs, and plane tickets—things you know in advance are coming up, but all too often forget to set money aside for. If you're tired of scrambling to cobble together the funds to pay for these expenses, then it's time to take action. This guide will show you how to use a method called sinking funding to set money aside for these expenses in advance. When the day to pay arrives, all you have to do is write a check (or make an online payment.)

Step 1: Open several online savings accounts.

Find an online bank that will allow you to have multiple linked savings accounts. Each account must also be linked to your checking account. Many banks are offering this option these days, so you should not have to do too much shopping around. You'll eventually want one savings account for each sinking fund. As someone who is completely new to sinking funds, it's a good idea to just start off with three or four of these accounts. You can add more as you adapt to this style of saving and budgeting.

Step 2: Decide on your sinking funds.

Make a list of the expenses you have coming up. These should not include expenses that are basically the same every month, like your rent and utilities, and which should be accounted for in your regular budget. Rather, the list should include costs that you only make every few months or one-time costs that will be due in the future. These could be anything from a vacation you plan to take in a year to a vet bill you know will be coming up in a couple months.

Write down each expense you will need funds for. Then, next to the expense name, write the amount you need to save for that expense and the number of weeks until that money is due. For instance, you might estimate that the vet bill coming up will cost you $200 and is due in 8 weeks.

Step 3: Schedule your deposits.

Set up a savings account for each sinking fund. Many online banks will let you name your accounts whatever you like, so you can name your vet account "vet sinking fund," for example.

Step 4: Plan your deposits.

For each fund, divide the total amount that will be due by the number of weeks you have until that amount is due. This will equate to the amount you need to deposit in that sinking fund each week in order to have the total amount in that fund by the day the funds are due. Returning to the vet fund example above, you would need to deposit $25 per week for 8 weeks to reach your $200 goal. Do this calculation for each sinking fund. Then, once a week, log into your account and transfer your set amounts from your ordinary checking account into each of your sinking funds. You can also set this up to be done automatically each week.

When the time comes to pay a bill you've been sinking funding, all you have to do is transfer the money from the savings (sinking fund) account into your checking account. You can then rename the empty sinking fund account and use it to build toward another goal. Get in touch with a bank like TruPartner Credit Union to get started with this process.