I am absolutely horrible with money, and so I laugh at the irony of me writing this article. As someone who struggles to handle their finances, I get very frustrated with most of the money-saving advice I see online which assumes I’m prepared to stash away most of my paycheck. At 23 years old that’s not realistic for me because A) I don’t want to and B) I don’t make that much money.
However I realize that blowing my entire paycheck on dinner, drinks, and clothes (been there, done that) is not responsible. Trying a new restaurant or planning a weekend getaway shouldn’t run you into bankruptcy. So, here is how I’ve (very) slowly but surely started saving without sacrificing everything I love to do.
Find your bank match
Probably my biggest problem before was the lack of a good bank that worked with my spending habits. When I exclusively banked with Chase my account’s Annual Percentage Yield (APY) was around 0.08% but since I switched to Capital One my APY is about 0.2%. Not that Capital One offers a huge APY, but it’s better than nothing, right?
I personally like Capital One because there are a TON of Allpoint ATMs (mostly in CVS or Walgreens, AKA the MOST convenient) and you don’t get charged a fee there. Plus, if there’s ever an emergency and you have to fork out a lot of cash, they don’t charge a low balance fee.
Like anything, be sure to shop around for a bank that fits your needs. And if you’re a spender like me then consider having your big savings in a different bank altogether. I promise it helps with those expensive, tempting purchases…
Save, save, save
If money is in front of me, I will spend it—no ifs, ands, or buts. To reduce temptation I put my savings in an Ally account. Ally is great because it’s an online bank, so you don’t pay any branch fees. Basically, I think of this as my money I cannot touch.
Ally offers 1% interest that (for me, anyway) has already increased to 1.2% in just four or five months. It’s an easy way to cushion your savings a bit in a year or so.
Ease into it and start with just $50 or $100 each paycheck if you can. Or $1 if that’s all you can afford. A penny saved is a penny earned, as they say.
Keep it separated
Here’s where I get psycho with my organization. I still have that Chase account I talked about earlier, and that’s what I call my Bill Account. I then use Capital One as my Spending Account.
My job does direct deposit for every paycheck, so I have it automatically split up to my various banks. The money I need to pay my bills goes into Chase, then my chunk for savings goes to Ally, and the rest is dumped into Capital One.
Rent, utilities, car payment, train pass, Netflix, Apple Music—all of it is paid directly from Chase, and that’s all that account is used for. I don’t even keep my Chase card in my wallet, specifically so I won’t ever use that money. (Okay, it’s not that I lack that much self-control, but it is better safe than sorry.)
For me, keeping my money separated in different accounts is convenient because not only does it organize my spending, but each one reaps its own benefits. I also like being able to assess what kind of spending money I have, and even though I have a (VERY) long way to go, organizing it all has helped a lot.
What are some your money managing tips and tricks?