If you’re an avid saver like I am, you might be wondering how to best organize your savings. Yes, like clothes, shoes, silverware and pantry items, saving money can be organized too. While many may end up either forgetting to save, never starting or go about it in a haphazard way, it doesn’t have to be that way for you.
If you want to save money every month, there are some questions you’ll need to answer like ‘Is it best to have multiple savings accounts or just to have all your savings in one big lump sum?’ Or, ‘how can you make sure you save as much as possible without thinking about it?’
Thankfully, there are answers to those questions here. Below are four foolproof ways to get organized when it comes to those ever growing savings accounts:
1. Identify Your Goals
The first step to organize your savings is to identify your goals. What you don’t want is 42 different financial goals that you’re saving for. You won’t be able to focus on any more than a handful of them and what you do get done will happen a lot slower.
For example, I will have as many as 10 savings goals going at the same time, especially when I have big life events coming up like I do now with a potential move, travel, my husband’s medical school graduation, etc.
Without these goals, my savings would be a in a big pile of mush and I wouldn’t have any motivation to keep adding to it. Plus, I wouldn’t feel the hurt when I withdrew from it if my savings was in one big lump sum.
Concrete, actionable goals preferably in their own little accounts is the best way I like to save for the things I want to do in life, but try not to have more than 10 otherwise it can be hard to focus.
2. Create a Separate High Yield Savings Account
For years, I’ve pondered the best way to organize my savings and all of my many goals in a way that works well for me. A few years ago, I discovered online banks that allow you to put labels or ‘nicknames’ on your savings accounts (I use Smarty Pig) and I found this works the best for me.
For example, when I had a savings account going for my babies during my pregnancy, I never liquidated that account until they were born. I couldn’t take money out of an account that said BABIES on it! Had it been a big lump sum, it wouldn’t have been such a powerful message.
So, now I have my emergency fund, vacation fund, car fund, Christmas fund, moving fund and more all in their own little separate savings accounts. I keep the money I’m saving for my business taxes in a completely separate account as well in a totally different bank so I’m not tempted to use it in any way. Again, this is what works for me (and makes sense to me though it might seem convoluted to you.) You can also use a free tool, like Personal Capital, that aggregates all your accounts for you to better manage your savings.
3. Automate Everything
I love that my savings funds are in a separate high yield account. If I really want to withdraw the money, it takes about 3-4 business days, so I have time to think about if I really need to take it out.
Just recently we had to replace a tire and a hub cap on my car to the tune of $450.00. I decided I could either wait 3 days to withdraw it from my emergency fund or try to cash flow it. I decided that cash flowing it would actually be less of a hassle and as such, my emergency fund remains intact.
This is the benefit of keeping savings separate. You will only dip into it when you really need them; keeping them linked in the same bank makes it just too easy to pass money back and forth.
As far as how to actually remember to save your hard earned money in there so you have it to withdraw, I recommend automating everything. On the first of every month I get several notifications that funds are being moved to my separate high yield accounts. I adjust the numbers as needed to make sure I can meet my savings goals.
For example, I just added about $30 a month to my Christmas savings goal to make sure I have a nice, robust savings account for that when it comes around. For the record, parents spend about $271 per child on average each Christmas so if you don’t have your holiday fund going by now, get to it!
4. Keep Personal and Business Separate
Lastly, if you’re a small business owner, don’t forget to keep your personal and business savings accounts separate. This is the best organizing tip you can do for both your business and your household finances and will save you lots of headaches during tax season!
So, we want to know: How do you organize your savings? Do you have one account or many accounts? What works best for you? Does your spouse agree with how you handle your savings?