By Althea Chang, staff writer at MainStreet.comYou know you should, but it's difficult to feed the piggy bank every time you get paid. Luckily, new bank accounts and the power of automatic savings plans may make it easier. And every little bit counts, after all.
Simple Savings"Saving is a whole lot simpler when you don't have to think about it," says a Bank of America ( BAC) marketing campaign (Stock Quote: BAC) for its Keep the Change program. With every purchase you make with your Bank of America check card, your purchase amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar, and the difference is deposited into a savings account. Bank of America also says it will match your savings for the first three months after you enroll in the program and match 5% per year after that, up to $250. If you have a Wachovia, now part of Wells Fargo ( WFC) checking account (Stock Quote: WB), you can open a Way2Save account. Each time you make a purchase with your check card, pay a bill online or set up an automatic debit from your checking account, $1 will be transferred from your checking account to your Way2Save account, which gets a guaranteed APY of 5% for the first year, plus they'll add on 5% of the amount you've saved. You can also set up automatic transfers of up to $100 a month, from your checking account to your Way2Save account. Of course, many banks let you set up automatic transfers from checking to savings accounts online, and APYs may be higher at other banks (Bank of America's Keep the Change program paid a variable APY of just 0.20% as of Monday). But these accounts could be perfect for those without the discipline to make regular transfers on their own.
Save When You PayAn online bill pay feature gives you the option to paying bills electronically through automatic withdrawals initiated by your utility, credit card or other company. This is a must if you tend to forget when bills are due. (Those late fees are a killer.)
Just remember, you'll have to make sure your bank account balance has enough funds to pay the bills when they're due, or you could be subject to insufficient fund or overdraft fees.