Money is tight these days. Last year, U.S. civilian compensation rose by just 1.9 percent. Interest on most savings accounts is well below 1 percent. In this environment, where can a person come up with a little extra money?
One answer is to squeeze more out of your bank. Too many Americans simply fail to optimize their banking relationships, but with a little effort, they could get more out of their bank accounts. None of the steps outlined below is particularly complicated or revolutionary, but if you follow them it should help add a little something to the meager pay raises and savings account rates Americans are facing these days.
1. Shop for better interest rates
When people look at small numbers, there can be a tendency to feel they are all pretty much the same. For example, it might be easy to choose a bank offering 4 percent on savings accounts over one offering 1 percent, but would you feel as strongly about getting a 0.8 percent savings account rate instead of 0.2 percent? The fact is though, even on a smaller scale, both differences amount to getting four times more dollars in interest than the lower-rate alternative. Even with savings account rates averaging next to nothing, you can get rates that are close to 1 percent, so why not insist on that?
2. Insist on free checking
Free checking has practically been labeled an endangered species since the financial crisis, but it still exists. If some people are still getting free checking, why shouldn't you?
Shop around, and you should be able to find a free checking account in your market.