Any time we can automate our lives to make each day a little simpler, we gain a little more ease in our day. Even if it's just washing our dishes in a dishwasher rather than by hand, the convenience saves us time. Who doesn't need more time in their day?
The same is true of saving money. If you can automate parts of your life that can help you increase savings, that's more than convenient — that's smart. From in your home to on your phone, we're offering you ways to boost your savings and make life easier. Even if you don't have mounds of disposable income, you can still make a dent in your savings goal.
1. Automatic savings account
What better place to boost your savings than in your savings account? Banks and credit unions offer several options to set up your savings for success. Take advantage of one that works for you.
If your financial institution offers you the ability to round up your debit card purchases to the nearest dollar, this is quick and easy. In fact, it's the automated version of dropping spare change in a jar, except you don't have to lug the coins to deposit that money — it's already in your account.
You can also schedule recurring transfers from your checking account to your savings account. Whether a few dollars each week or a set amount each payday, follow the experts' advice and pay yourself first.
Don't limit yourself to just your savings account, either. Setting up a recurring payment towards the principal on your car loan, in addition to your monthly payment, will help you pay down your loan faster and save on interest payments.
If you are already wise enough to have a checking account that pays you rewards, make a plan to transfer that money to your savings account each month. You can even find partner savings accounts that make that option more appealing. We even have one we could recommend.
Best interest rate
You'll often find a better savings account interest rate at a community bank or credit union. Shop locally to find the best rate for all the extra money you will be adding to your total savings when you use these automatic features.
The goal of automatic saving is to keep moving money in regularly without thinking about it. When you build up your emergency savings gradually, it makes those bigger surprise expenses less of a shock.
2. Split your direct deposit
If you are already using direct deposit through your employer, you probably haven’t even thought about it since you set it up. The money is there when you expect it. If you make a one-time change and have a small portion sent to your savings account, you've just taken set-it-and-forget-it to the next level.
You can also use similar features directly from your employer for your health savings account (HSA) or even your investment account, such as your 401(k). Your employer can help you change your contributions, but it's likely that once you set it up, you are building your medical emergency fund or your retirement plan without even thinking about it.
Check with your financial advisor on how you can make additional contributions to your retirement saving plan, including how to automate those deposits.
3. Install a programmable thermostat
Thermostats for your heating or air conditioning have become more popular and affordable. They're a smart way to reduce your energy consumption when no one is home.
Go one step further, though. Many utility companies offer an economic analysis of your usage to help you lower your bill. Find out if it will cost you more to buy and install the thermostat than it will simply lower the temperature in your home for a couple of months during the summer. If you run your air conditioning from March through October, however, the savings to automate your electric consumption may be worth the change.
Save even more by asking your utility company to do a virtual energy audit on your usage. You can ask your energy company to execute energy audits every month or so to see how you are using your electricity. They can recommend ways to decrease your bill based on your usage habits.
4. Monitor subscriptions
While your favorite streaming services obviously come to mind, most people occasionally sign up for free previews of products and services with the intention of canceling before the first payment hits their card. This is one instance where “set it and forget it” might NOT be a good idea!
Using an app to manage all your subscriptions will help you monitor when those renew-or-cancel dates are approaching. As helpful as it is to have those subscription fees deducted each month, it's also wise to have an automated reminder to make sure you are only paying for what you are using.
5. Set up automatic bill payments
Speaking of those streaming services, most are set up with automatic payments from the start. You can get that kind of convenience through your online or mobile banking, too.
For everything including your car payment, home mortgage, and credit card payment can be automated from bill pay. Take advantage of alerts and notifications to keep you up to date on when those payments are outgoing.
Setting up electronic billing from your utility companies or cell phone provider will remind you of changes in your balance and payments received so you don't miss a rate increase or outstanding credit.
You can also set up those payments to go through each payee's website, but that can get complicated; we recommend having them all in one place (like your online banking) so you can update all payments in one place.
Bonus: automatic notifications
One more smart way to automate your saving efforts is to set up notifications and alerts through your bank or credit union's mobile app (or online banking). Setting daily or transactional spending limits can help you manage your spending.
Regular notifications about your savings balance remind you of how your automatic deposits are adding up as you work towards your financial goals.
Don't let inflation deter you from making even small contributions towards your savings goal. By automating these aspects of your life, you can increase your savings rate to both simplify your daily life and build your future