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Managing Your Money

Saving Money Tips - 8 Simple Ways to Save Money Looking for a few simple ways to save money? Explore this guide that gives you numerous tips on saving money to reach your financial goals 8 Simple Ways to Save Money

Tips on saving and investing to pursue your financial goals

Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is just getting started. It can be difficult to figure out simple ways to save money and how to use your savings to pursue your financial goals. The step–by–step guide below can help you develop a realistic savings plan.

  1. Record your expenses
    The first step in saving money is to know how much you are spending. For one month, keep a record of everything you spend. That means every coffee, every newspaper and every break–time snack you purchase for the entire month. Once you have your data, organize these numbers by category – gas, groceries, mortgage, etc. – and get the total amount for each.
  2. Make a budget
    Now that you have a good idea of what you spend in a month, you can build a budget to plan your spending, limit over–spending and make sure that you put money away for a rainy day. Remember to include expenses that happen regularly, but not every month, like car maintenance check–ups. Find more information on creating a budget.
  3. Plan on saving money
    Taking into consideration your monthly expenses and earnings, create a savings category within your budget and try to make it at least 10–15 percent of your net income. If your expenses won’t let you save that much, it might be time to cut back. Look for non–essentials that you can spend less on – entertainment, dining out, etc. – before thinking about saving money on essentials such as your vehicle or home.
  4. Set savings goals
    Setting savings goals makes it much easier to get started. Begin by deciding how long it will take to reach each goal. Some short–term goals (which can usually take one to three years) include:
    • Starting an emergency fund to cover six months to a year of living expenses (in case of job loss or other emergencies)
    • Saving money for a vacation
    • Saving to buy a new car
    • Saving to pay taxes (if they are not already deducted by your employer)

    Long-term savings goals are often several years or even decades away and can include:

    • Saving for retirement
    • Putting money away for your child’s college education
    • Saving for a down payment on a house or to remodel your current home
  5. Decide on your priorities
    Different people have different priorities when it comes to saving money, so it makes sense to decide which savings goals are most important to you. Part of this process is deciding how long you can wait to save up for a goal and how much you want to put away each month to help you reach it. As you do this for all your goals, order them by priority and set money aside accordingly in your monthly budget. Remember that setting priorities means making choices. If you want to focus on saving for retirement, some other goals might have to take a back seat while you make sure you’re hitting your top targets.
  6. Different savings and investment strategies for different goals
    If you are saving for short–term goals, consider using these FDIC–insured deposits accounts:
    • regular savings account, which is easily accessible
    • A high–yield savings account, which often has a higher interest rate than a standard savings account
    • A bank money market savings account, which has a variable interest rate that could increase as your savings grow
    • A CD (certificate of deposit) which locks in your money at a specific interest rate for a specific period of time

    For long-term goals consider:

    • FDIC-Insured IRAs, which are built for purposes such as retirement savings
    • Securities, like stocks and mutual funds. These investment products are available through investment accounts with a broker–dealer (e.g. Merrill Edge). Remember that securities, such as stocks and mutual funds, are not insured by the FDIC, are not deposits or other obligations of a bank and are not guaranteed by a bank, and are subject to investment risks including the possible loss of principal invested.
  7. Make saving money easier with automatic transfers
    Automatic transfers to your savings account can make saving money much easier. By moving money out of your checking account, you’ll be less likely to spend funds that you wanted earmarked for savings. There are many options for setting up transfers. You choose how often you want to transfer money and which accounts you want the money transferred between. You can even split your direct deposit between your checking and savings accounts to contribute to your savings with each pay check. Thinking of saving as a regular expense is a great way to keep on target with your savings goals.
  8. Watch your savings grow
    Check your progress every month. Not only will this help you stick to your personal savings plan, but it also helps you identify and fix problems quickly. With these simple ways to save money, it may even inspire you to save more and hit your goals faster.
Bank of America ways to save money, saving money, simple ways to save money
Saving Money Tips - 8 Simple Ways to Save Money Looking for a few simple ways to save money? Explore this guide that gives you numerous tips on saving money to reach your financial goals ways to save money, saving money, simple ways to save money

7 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your
Checking Account

Stay on top of your finances with common checking account features.

The features that come standard with most checking accounts can be a big help when it comes to managing your money and getting a better handle on your cash flow. These checking account tips can help ensure you're getting the most out of this common financial account.

  1. Use a debit card. Debit cards allow you to access your checking account conveniently and securely, without having to carry a lot of cash or checks. You can use a debit card at millions of locations worldwide including places that don't take checks like gas stations, restaurants and online merchants. Debit cards can also be used at ATMs for deposits, withdrawals or transfers between your accounts. With debit cards, your purchases are deducted directly from your checking account. Debit cards also offer security if your card is lost or stolen or if fraudulent purchases occur.
  2. Link your checking account to your savings account. If you know you have a certain amount of money in your checking account at a certain time every month, an automatic transfer to your savings account is a great way to build your savings. Linking your checking account to your savings account can give you access to extra cash when you need it and make it easy to transfer money between accounts. In addition, some banks allow customers to automatically transfer funds from their checking to savings account every time they use their debit card. (Learn more about Bank of America's Keep the Change® programFootnote1.)
  3. Learn how to manage overdraft fees. Overdraft fees are incurred when you spend more money than you have in your account. You can help avoid these fees by keeping a close eye both on your account balance and on the money you plan to spend. Some banks, including Bank of America, offer services that allow you to link your eligible checking account to other eligible accounts to provide additional protection against overdrafts. With the overdraft protection plan offered by Bank of America, available funds are automatically transferred from the balance in the eligible linked account if your eligible checking account balance is not sufficient to cover a transaction. There is no fee to set up the Bank of America overdraft protection plan, but a transfer fee may apply when you use the service. Please refer to your Personal Schedule of Fees for details.
  4. Track your spending using Online and Mobile banking and alerts. Online Banking is a useful way to keep an eye on your account balance and spending. You can monitor your checking account information by signing in to your account from your computer or mobile device. Online Banking also enables you to pay bills electronically without having to deal with the mail or extra paper. In addition, many banks offer alerts via email or text that notify you when your account balance drops below a specified level or when a check you've written has cleared your account.
  5. Take advantage of automatic payments. Setting up automatic payments for recurring bills through online Bill Pay can be a helpful way to help ensure your bills are paid on time and with no hassles. This common checking account feature can help eliminate worries about whether your checks may be lost in the mail, the need for stamps and the hassle of setting aside time to pay bills. Automatic payments can also be a good way to help ensure your bills are paid on time when you are traveling or away from home.
  6. Protect yourself. Many banks offer security features to help protect you if your debit card is lost or stolen, including security features on the card itself (such as photo ID), monitoring for unusual purchasing activity and protection against liability for fraudulent transactions reported within a specified period of time. Check with your banking institution to learn more about the security features your bank offers to help protect against theft and fraud. Bank of America offers security protection on consumer debit cards through the Total Security Protection® package. Bank of America also offers Zero Liability ProtectionFootnote2 , prompt account credit, fraud monitoring and optional Photo Security® to provide greater defense against theft, loss or fraudulent use of your card.
  7. Set up direct deposit. One of the easiest ways to get the most out of your checking account is by setting up direct deposit. With direct deposit your money is safely and securely deposited into your account, without you having to lift a finger.

These checking account features can make your life and your banking much simpler. Keep in mind, however, that while a checking account can be a powerful tool for managing your money, it is only one item in your financial toolbox.