You must save enough to be prepared for the unexpected. Your goal is to have enough living expenses saved to see you and your family through at least six months. Take into account your mortgage/rent, car payments, insurance, utilities, groceries and other regular monthly expenses. If it seems like a scary number, don't panic: You have to start somewhere, and knowing what you'll need to cover basic costs is the first step.
By saving a little each week, you'll begin to build your emergency fund. You can forego small luxuries to get started... for example, don't eat fast food for a week, or give up your regular dvd rentals. In the larger scheme of things, knowing you have a safety net if you're unable to work for some reason will be worth it.
Short-term savings are monies designated for things you will need within the next year -- for example, a new car, new couch, new appliances, Christmas gifts or even your next vacation. By planning ahead and saving, you won't have to use credit cards for these types of purchases and will avoid paying interest on the bills.
The future is approaching fast if you have children who will need a college education, or if you're hoping to purchase your own home. Long-term savingsa are for items that are several years away. If you also aren't yet saving for your retirement, look first to see if your company has a 401K plan that matches your contributions. If so, max out the amount you save to get the company's highest allowable matching funds. It's like getting an immediate raise.
You may want to establish separate savings accounts for emergencies and short- and long-term savings -- or keep all the funds in a single account. Whatever you decide, begin contributing immediately and regularly to your savings plan. Decide how much you can save -- weekly or monthly -- and pay yourself first.