Do your best saving intentions have a way of ending up at the bottom of your list?
Like that extra $200 or so you had planned to save on payday. Before you even had a chance to schedule a transfer, it was gone with the wind, say, on a spontaneous weekend road trip.
You know you need to save, but between tracking bills, managing different accounts, and keeping spending in check—plus everything else life throws your way—it’s easy to see how depositing money into your savings account can end up falling off the radar.
Good news is you can put your savings deposits on “cruise control.” It requires the right savings account and a little bit of up-front planning. Once it’s set up, though, it can take some pressure off your to-do list. You can relax a little knowing you have a plan in place to contribute to your savings account on a consistent basis. Here’s how to get started.
Get the right savings account.
Does your existing savings account have a competitive rate? It goes without saying that if your money is stuck in an account that offers average interest rates—or below—your balance won’t grow as fast as it could.
Keep in mind that online banks often offer better rates than traditional brick-and-mortar banks. And with a good online savings account you can expect quality customer service and 24/7 access, too.
Pay yourself first.
This advice is sort of like the “eat more vegetables” of the personal finance world. You’ve heard it a million times, but that’s because it works. Paying yourself first helps ensure that your expenses don’t eat up your paycheck before you have the chance to set something aside.
You’ll be surprised at how little you miss that money once you’ve established the habit. A regular deposit in an online savings account with a competitive rate can really help set you up for savings success. You can manually pay yourself by transferring money on payday to your savings account. Or, you can set up an automated deposit through recurring transfers or direct deposit.
Automate your savings with direct deposit.
If you use direct deposit for your paycheck, you can usually split the total amount among different accounts. This can make paying yourself first a little easier by having a portion of your paycheck go to your savings account and another portion go to your checking account at the same time on payday.
Contact your employer for information on how you can designate a portion of your paycheck to go straight into a savings account.
Set up recurring transfers.
Another way to make saving automatic is to set up a recurring transfer of a set amount through your bank. If your savings and checking accounts are at the same bank, setting up a transfer takes just a couple of clicks.
You also can set up automatic transfers between accounts at different banks. Depending on the verification process of each institution, you may be required to verify small deposits or go through other security measures to ensure you are the owner of the linked accounts. Once you’ve done that, you can specify an amount and date for the transfers to take place.
Set it and (don’t quite) forget it.
Putting your savings on cruise control saves you time and brainpower, but it doesn’t quite mean you can ignore your accounts completely from here on out. It’s important to monitor your accounts to make sure things are running smoothly and to check for any unauthorized activity.
Seeing those automatic deposits add up can be motivation to save even more. Once you’ve built up a respectable balance, you may want to explore other ways to save. But, first, get started with the right account and a simple automatic savings strategy.
At Ally Bank, we believe the right savings account is more than just an online piggy bank. It goes beyond great rates and immediate access. Here is a list of things you can expect as an Ally Bank Online Savings Account customer.