8 Secrets of Genius Savers
If they can do it, so can you.
Your BFF Brenda always seems to have the right amount of money socked away to conquer every single financial hurdle that comes her way. (New car! Second baby! Second home!) And the craziest part: You know for a fact she doesn’t make any more money than you do. So what’s her deal? Here, eight secrets of people with mad savings skills.
THEY SET UP DISCRETIONARY SAVINGS ACCOUNTS
Did you know you can actually set up as many savings accounts as you want for free with your bank? People who are expert savers use this to their advantage, setting up optional accounts dedicated to “just for fun” expenses (like new countertops). The specificity of the savings goal--plus an earmarked account--makes it much easier to set aside portions of your cash.
THEY RELY ON VISUAL CUES
Something as simple as putting a savings or money-related app--like Qapital or Minted--on your iPhone right next to the icon for Facebook could be enough to subtly signal your brain to resist non-thrifty temptations. (No, you don’t need another pack of gum.)
THEY SET UP GOOGLE CALENDAR REMINDERS
Every goal--especially a financial one--needs a deadline. Getting pinged with an alert to check in on your savings progress once a day/month/week (whatever your preference) can be enough to stay on track.
THEY AUTOMATE SAVINGS TRANSFERS
The whole “set it and forget it” idea can be risky when it comes to your cash--unless the transfers you’re making are going directly into a secure savings fund. Determine an amount you’re comfortable setting aside on a regular basis and alert your bank. (Most offer the option to automate transfers online.)
THEY SHOP AROUND FOR BETTER INTEREST RATES
Brick-and-mortar banks aren’t what they used to be, and a lot of reputable financial institutions are springing up with online-only services (like high-yield savings accounts) that are much more competitive than those offered by physical banks. For example, Ally Bank offers an annual percentage yield of 1 percent. (If you have $5,000 in your savings account, you’ll make another $50 over the course of a year.)
THEY NEVER SPEND THEIR RAISE
That salary bump you just got? Think of it as superfluous cash that, going forward, gets automatically transferred into a savings account each pay period. (You made ends meet before it existed, right?)
THEY NEVER PUT ALL THEIR FINANCIAL EGGS IN ONE BASKET
Think beyond your personal savings account. Expert savers are simultaneously investing in their401(k) with every paycheck, not to mention the stock market. Wary about where to start? Ellevest is a new site that will help you customize an investment portfolio that’s designed to meet your savings goals.
THEY TURN SAVING INTO A COMPETITIVE GAME
Trying to out-save your S.O. is a fun way to pad your bank account with a side of trash talk. One idea: Track expenses in a shared Excel doc and see who can spend less each month. Sure, it’s competitive, but at the end of the day, it benefits you both.