Set a savings goal
Most credit unions offer special goal-setting savings accounts that can be used to fund big-ticket expenses such as vacations or a new home.
The lure? You'll find higher interest rates than on other savings accounts, no fees and low minimum balances. Take Municipal Credit Union in New York. Its Holiday and Vacation Club accounts help members gradually build savings. Money accrued is automatically deposited into checking accounts at a set date. You're also allowed one complimentary withdrawal.
"These accounts help people do a better job of saving," says Michael Mattone, Municipal Credit Union's spokesman. Regular, non-club credit union savings accounts are easier to access, making it harder to save, he says.
Credit unions like Redstone Federal Credit Union in Huntsville, Ala., and Arizona Central Credit Union in Phoenix offer "You Name It" accounts to fund any savings goal you may have. TwinStar Credit Union in Olympia, Wash., dishes out a 1.61 annual percentage yield on its Planned Savings account, which can be used for family vacations, birthdays, holidays and the like.