Intro: Everyone wants to have the perfect physique. To get it, you have to condition your body through strength training, cardio, and a healthy diet. And you have to keep the routine going.
Building a strong savings account takes the same dedication - after all, the more you put into it, the healthier you are financially.
Stand-up: Just like you might need a fitness expert's guidance to get you into shape physically, you also need help to get your savings in shape.
Take SOT: Greg McBride, senior financial analyst - Bankrate.com
"Make savings a priority. Nothing helps you sleep better at night than knowing you have money tucked away for those inevitable unplanned expenses, and that you're actively saving for your future."
Curb your spending: Saving more starts with spending less. To do that, you should establish a budget by tracking your monthly expenses and monitoring where your money is going to see where you can cut back. Online banking, budgeting tools and calculators can help you visualize and track your spending.
Automate savings: There is a simple, yet powerful method to saving more ... and that's to put your savings on autopilot. By routinely paying yourself first with automatic deposits into your account, you are cutting out the opportunity to spend it.
Excessive withdrawals: The temptation of easy access may cause you to deplete the balance faster than you can replace it. And if you have a savings account or money market that limits the amount of withdrawals you make on a monthly basis, be sure to stay within those limits. Excessive withdrawals fees, some as high as $10, can wipe out many months' worth of interest earnings at today's low rates.
Overdraft protection and bank fees: Let's face it, life is hectic and there can be times when you slip up and don't have enough funds in your checking account - which can cause you to overdraft. To avoid the average $30.83 overdraft fee - link your savings account to your checking account.
Take SOT: "Your lowest cost line of defense against costly overdraft fees is to specifically request a link between your checking account and your savings account. That way if you do slip up, it is your money covering the shortfall, and you don't need to borrow from the bank."
Tag: Starting, maintaining and growing your savings is the best gift you can give to yourself. To learn more about saving and money management, visit the Checking & Savings tab on the main page at Bankrate.com. I'm Kristin Arnold.