You’re reading over your bank account statement and don’t like what you see. The account balance might not be zero, but it’s close enough. An empty bank account can make it easy to feel overwhelmed or hopeless. Fortunately, a few easy money saving tips can help pull your account balance out of the red and into the black. Just make a few changes to your habits and rescue your bank account from a zero balance.
Switch to a Free Account
Plenty of banks offer savings or checking accounts that are completely free. One of the most important and simple money-saving changes is switching to an account without a monthly maintenance fee. It can be difficult to save with a monthly charge of 25 dollars or more just to keep an account open. Many account options also never saddle you with a fee when your balance dips below a certain amount. Along with opening a free account, consider opting out of overdraft protection. This way, your bank won’t permit a transaction higher than your balance, and then charge a fee for allowing you to drop below zero.
Cut Back Where You Can
Cutting back on the little things can help you save money in the long run. This includes making a budget, which will show you where your money is going, and where you have room to cut back. Calculate what you’re spending on non-necessities to see how much you could save if you cut those expenses out. For instance, you could switch from your daily Starbucks to making your own coffee at home, cancel a subscription to stream movies and instead pick up DVDs at the free library or get rid of your gym membership so you can work out in the park or at home. Keep that money you would have spent on entertainment or extra amenities in your bank account.
Pay Yourself First
It’s a mantra you’ve probably heard plenty of times before: you need to pay yourself first. If you hope to restore a low bank balance, you need to focus on paying yourself first, even if it’s only a small amount--such as 10 dollars from each paycheck. You can set up your accounts so that the amount you want to set aside is automatically transferred to your savings on a certain day. Or, you can divide your direct deposit amount between a checking and savings account.
Pay Down Debt, Then Pay Yourself
If you’ve gone through non-profit credit counseling, you’ve probably worked with a counselor to create a payment plan. Once you’ve finished paying down your debt, funnel the money that would have gone to your monthly credit card or loan payment towards your savings account.
Funnel Any Extra Money to Savings
Keep your account balance as far from zero as possible by depositing any extra money aside from your income into your savings. If you get any sort of tax refund, for instance, stash it away for a rainy day. This also applies to work bonuses or overtime pay. As long as you are able to cover your expenses and pay your debts with your regular income, any extra money that comes in can be sent directly to savings.
Having a bank balance near zero can be a stressful thing. But if you focus on building up your savings, you’ll soon gain peace of mind with a sizable emergency fund to help you handle any surprises.
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Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit service provider of comprehensive personal financial education and solutions for all life stages and for all of life’s milestones. Our goal is enhanced economic security for everyone we serve.
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