Budget + Investment = Reward

If you find yourself using your savings account to pay bills or prevent your checks from bouncing, then its time to reevaluate your spending habits. This may seem like a difficult task at first, but after a short period of time, saving money should become a breeze. To better reap the rewards of a savings account, update your budget on a regular basis and become familiar with your banking options.

It seems tedious and time consuming to keep track of every dollar you make, but starting now is better then walking a tight financial rope. Once you have figured out how much you can safely deposit into a savings account, then your next step is to make the most out of what is being offered by financial institutions. Interest bearing savings accounts are offered with most major banks, but how would you know if there are better rates being offered elsewhere?

The easiest method is researching and comparing rates through the Internet. If you are computer savvy, jump online and check out local banks as well as www.bankrate.com. This one stop shop offers comparisons between many of the local, national, and virtual banking institutions and even includes current promotional information. Linking an existing bank account with a savings account offered by another bank can be tricky, but many of the virtual banks allow you to make deposits and withdrawals as often as you need to. You have completecontrol of your money. Virtual banking is no different then banking online with the traditional bank; both financial institutions offer all of the same benefits. When looking at banks, be sure to compare virtual banks with the standard “brick and mortar” banks. Virtual banks do not have the costs of maintaining physical locations so they can provide their customers slightly higher returns on their investments.

As with budgeting, when you put your money into a savings account, it is a good idea to review your financial goals. What do you have planned for the next 5, 10, or 15 years? When you figure out an amount you wish to save each pay period and a specific goal to achieve, you can safely make timely deposits into and watch your money as it works for you. This can be done through a regular savings account, by purchasing a certificate of deposit or committing to a retirement fund.Before you open a bank account, take the extra time you need to get all of your information. First, make sure that you know exactly what fees they charge and how they assess them. No matter what type of account you open, you want to make sure it is free of monthly service fees and, unless you have enough saved elsewhere, that they do not require a minimum balance. If an emergency comes up that requires you to withdraw an amount that would lower the balance below what they require, being penalized will do you little good. Also be certain to review the banks history, credentials and make verify that it is FDIC insured. Lastly, pay attention to the customer service you and others have received. This will give you an idea of what type of service you can expect to receive in the future. If you are not content, take your money and business to another bank.

Once your strategy for savings is put in motion, the most important thing to do is keep yourself motivated. Dipping into a savings account is tempting and, all things considered, cheaper then using a credit card. If you decide to take out money from your savings account, be sure you set a limit on how much you are going to spend and plan for how you can put additional money into the savings account to cover the withdrawal. It is all too easy to use the money you work so hard for on items you may not need. If you notice the amount in your savings account dropping and havent set up a good plan to put the money back in, then get creative. Bake cookies, paint a picture, write a poem; these are not only great gifts for the holidays are very rewarding activities too.

DMCC is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization committed to educating consumers on financial issues and providing personal assistance to consumers who have become overextended with debt.  Education is provided free of charge to consumers, as well as personal counseling to identify the best options for the repayment of their debt. To speak to a certified credit counselor, call toll-free 866-618-3328 or email contact@dmcconline.org.