Looking to build a savings account in 2018? With less than 40% of American's having an emergency fund of over $1,000, it's a good resolution for your financial future. Saving any amount, yet alone $1,000 can seem like a monumental task. Don't worry. Take things one step at a time, and you'll hit your goal by the time 2019 rolls around. Here are some savings tips to make your goals a reality.
The goal here is to sock away about $80 a month or $40 a pay period for most people. This may seem like a lot, but there are steps you can take to help offset this cost.
1) Optimize your grocery spend with Ibotta. On an average week, we earn $5 in cash back on our grocery purchases using Ibotta, or $20 a month. This mobile application gives you discounts in the form of cash back on brand name and generic groceries. All you have to do is select the offers that interest you, and upload your grocery receipt into the app once you are done shopping. The whole process takes less than 5 minutes a week. You can even build a team, compete to see which ones of your friends can earn the most each week, and earn additional bonuses based on team spending patterns. This is an easy way to save money each week and have a little bit of fun at the same time. When you cash out, deposit your savings into a here.
2) Save small with Acorns. Acorns is an investing app that will allow you to round up to the next dollar and automatically invest your spare change. Someone who swipes their card 40 times a month can expect to invest about $20 a month. There is a $1 monthly investing fee for accounts under $5,000, but this is still a great way to start investing at a low price point. You also just brought your $60 monthly savings deposit down to $41. Look at you go! As an added bonus, Acorns will runs an additional cash back program called Found Money. When you shop at specific retailers, you can earn an additional deposit into your account. There's nothing additional to sign-up and track here. It's just free money. You can sign-up for Acorns here.
3) Shop smarter online. Every time you shop online, you should be using a shopping portal for your transactions, or you are leaving money on the table. We've used Ebates to earn about $75 in cash back in five months, and that was just for our normal online purchases. There are plenty of shopping portals out there that will show your bank account some love when you use them for your online shopping. CashBackMonitor does a nice job of aggregating the available portals and what rewards rate they offer at each store. If you're spending $100 online each month, you can expect to earn $2-$10 or so in additional rewards depending on where you shop. Deposit that into your savings, and now we're looking at a cool $40 a month, give or take, for you to put aside.
Now you just have to figure out where to stash your cash so you don't touch it. That's another tricky part. We'd recommend an online savings account that offers a high-yield APR. This will help maximize your interest throughout the year, but also hopefully keep the money out of arms reach so you don't spend it on a whim. It'll also be accessible enough if you do need to tap into it for an emergency. You can find our list of the best online savings accounts here.
Good luck! Don't let this New Year's resolution die in a grease fire like last years.