Look at the ways you’re spending every month. This will require doing some homework and some patience, but it’s a necessary evil.
Figure out how much you’re spending on necessary expenses on an average from month-to-month — rent, utilities, groceries, loans, for example — and see how much you have left over. Put aside some money to use for fun, and then contribute the rest to savings.
If you’ve decided you want one savings account for all your savings, open the account and set up an automatic transfer to take money out from your checking account every month. If you don’t get paid at the same time every month, mark down a date near payday to put some money into your savings account once you get paid.
If you want to go down the route of multiple accounts, it’s important for you to find a bank whose savings accounts have no minimum deposit requirements and won’t charge any fees. Some of your accounts may hold more money (for example, saving for a trip across East Asia), but others may be a lot smaller (new smartphone), so it won’t make sense to get penalized for having an account not meant to hold a significant amount of money anyway.
Just like we advised you to set up automatic transfers between your checking account and savings account, we suggest you do the same even if you have multiple accounts. The difference this time is how you want to go about your savings goals.
Some people take their lump sum of savings each month and divide it amongst a certain number of accounts. You may want to take $200 and put $100 towards an Asia trip, $50 towards a new phone, and then $50 for a new computer. Alternatively, you can put all $200 into your Asia trip and work on achieving that savings goal before starting on your phone and computer goals.
In our final part, we explore some options for those of you who don’t want to use a savings account at all.