I got a little crazy living in college. My bank had free savings and checking accounts with only $25 minimum so any savings goal I had, I would open an account. I had a savings account for Christmas presents. One for my car. One for vacations. One for when I wanted to buy clothes or needed to buy gifts.
It was a little overkill, especially for a girl that had a maximum of $700 income each month.
But having different accounts for different categories really helped me. If I had one huge account, it was hard to keep track of the little things I was saving for, so separating it out helped me stay within my savings goals.
These days, not much is different — I still like to divide up my savings into buckets, but this time I separate it out in a spreadsheet as opposed to multiple bank accounts.
Here’s how we break it down.
We bank at two different places — a commercial bank and a credit union. Our commercial bank has one checking account, one savings account and our mortgage. This checking account is where a portion of our paycheck goes each month for all of our living expenses. The savings account at the commercial bank is just for fun or miscellaneous savings (see below under “Fun Savings”). All of our larger or more serious savings go into the credit union, since we get a larger interest rate on those accounts.
Our Fun Savings
We don’t set aside a specific amount each month for “fun” but add to it whenever we have any extra money leftover at the end of the month or a bonus check or commission. It’s attached to our bank account connected with our credit card, so we can easily shift over the money and buy what we need. (We also buy a lot of “fun” things using credit card points.) Some things we buy using this savings include…
- Gifts for others
- Christmas or holidays
- Buffer if we go over our budget for shopping, groceries, dining out, entertainment, etc.
Our Bills Fund
We have a savings account just for our car expenses, because it seems we always have car problems. We use this month for…
- Car insurance — we pay our car insurance every 6 months and set aside a portion each month so when it is due we have the exact amount saved
- Car repairs
- DMV costs
- Car taxes, registration, inspections, etc.
Our Large Savings
We have a mutual fund at our credit union for some of our larger expenses. This account rarely gets touch, except to add to it monthly. Right now we are saving for…
- Our emergency fund (right now this fully funded, but we will continue to add to it when we buy a house)
- A big trip down the road (any suggestions on where we should go?)
- Saving for a home down payment
This is post #23 of a 31-day series on Financial Freedom. Click here to see all of the other posts.