Did you get an allowance when you were young? Maybe it was your job to feed the dog, or take out the trash, or do dishes after dinner. If you wanted to earn a little more to buy something you had your eye on, what were your options? Let's face it, we're always looking for ways to generate a little more money in our pockets — then and now — and at a certain age we take our small pleasures where we can. When we can get our hands on some unexpected cash, that's a win!
On the flip side, few things sting worse than realizing — too late — that you paid more money than you should have. This goes for everything, but hidden checking fees that cut into your money especially disappoint us. Yes, we're miffed about our account being deducted, and then we are further frustrated when we find out we could have avoided this financial penalty. Holding onto your money shouldn't be a game of trying to avoid fees and penalties. You should be able to manage your month-to-month personal finance plan without having to play dodge ball with your bank.
Aside from winning the lottery, which anyone will tell you is not a viable budget strategy, here are seven money tips to make your money work for you.
Money saving tip: Save!
When it comes to money tips, any ideas on to save money are worth trying. Kasasa Saver® serves as a core account for anyone whose main goal is to stack some savings. Especially if the whole piggy bank thing never worked for you — you can still work towards your savings goal each month.
A Saver account is free - like all Kasasa® accounts — and pairs with your Kasasa Cash® or Kasasa Cash Back® account to build your savings automatically, carving a bit off that (still very high!) interest rate and stashing it away for a rainy day. Saving money is so much easier when you don't even need to think about it.
Of course, you can always slide extra over when any little windfall lands in your lap, or even designate a portion of your direct deposit into that out-of-sight and out-of-mind category until you need it.
Money keeping tip: Avoid fees
These days you have to be extra vigilant to avoid the cleverly hidden fees that come with any online service. You might discover you've been charged a "maintenance" fee or a "minimum balance" fee. Even if you are seeing these fees in your account for the first time, your balance may have dropped below a set limit where these fees are imposed. You might think the ideal way to avoid this financial situation is to simply keep enough money in your account at all times.
Wait - is this a checking account or a savings account? If it's your checking account, shouldn't spending your money you be allowed as you like, when you like, and on what you like? Maybe you run a little over on your grocery budget this month. You shouldn't be dinged for that especially if there is money in your bank account.
Many mobile apps will let you set alerts so you know when your balance drops below a certain level and that's handy — and a good mindful step to keep tabs on unauthorized purchases — but a checking account that doesn't charge you fees based on your balance is a much better option.
It may not surprise you that both Kasasa Cash and Kasasa Cash Back accounts come with no monthly maintenance fees. Ever. Why monitor your day-to-day balance when you can just avoid those fees altogether?
Money benefit tip: Watch what really benefits you
A lot of the big banks will advertise "benefits" for their checking account, like included digital payment software that makes it very easy to send money to peers and businesses. How convenient!
Another popular feature is to split your purchases into multiple payments. Hey, we're a fan of finding ways to manage your purchases, but not only might you face another nickle-and-diming moment, but if you forget and think you're on payment four but you've only paid three, you're facing another 'whoops' moment in your account.
This is where that same bank offering this convenient payment mechanism also makes money when you mis-step. If you aren't minding your budget to a T and tracking every little bit of your spending, those little conveniences are not too convenient. If your balance drops too low, you pay the bank. That's where those hidden fees we just went over kick in. Caveat emptor — buyer beware!
Money managing tip: Pass on low-yield accounts
To be fair, there are plenty of fee-free checking account offerings with all the standard services. These checking accounts are perfectly fine — they keep your money safe and make paying for stuff convenient. If you're not paying unnecessary fees on top, that's great. Right?
Depends on how much you're getting back in interest. And yes, we said on your checking account. If your money management technique typically keeps a cozy cushion in your checking account, listen closely.
There's been a deep shift in how checking accounts operate in the market in recent years. "Checking" in the old-school, pen-and-paper sense was traditionally done only at brick-and-mortar banks; today, it's a mix of small, community-oriented banks, giant megabanks, and online-only services that leverage a lower overhead to offer a higher interest rate.
Pay attention to the APY (annual percentage yield) on any prospective checking account — the higher that number, the better for you. If you want a stick by which to measure the quality of an interest-earning account, start with the Kasasa Cash account and see how others stack up.
Money earning tip: Reward yourself
Kasasa Cash and Cash Back checking accounts are tailored to your personal situation and whatever you set as your long-term financial goal, but they both offer high rates and rewards for hitting your targets this month, and next month, and every month. If you thought cash back was only for credit cards, you were wrong.
Kasasa Cash offers exceptionally high interest or dividend earnings — it'll generate more passive income for you if you have a decent chunk of money available to stash in a checking account. With Kasasa Cash Back you get paid for everyday debit card purchases. This works much like a traditional credit card cash-back reward, but avoids all of the downsides of credit cards.
Neither account costs you anything when your balance is low, but they reward you as your money grows. Who doesn't like a financial plan that includes getting extra money?
Money back tip: Get fee-free ATM withdrawals
Local, community-focused financial institutions, like a credit union or a small, regional bank, typically don't charge you a sign-up fee or drop surprise fees on you down the road, when you're most vulnerable. Their goal is to help you make financial decisions, apply for a car loan, and help you think about your retirement savings. They likewise will help you set up your e-statements and show you how simple actions you already take can help you qualify for those rewards we mentioned.
Megabanks charge a fee when your balance drops too low so they make sure they cover their end no matter what. Community financial institutions only succeed when you do. Transparency and reliability are what set local financial institutions apart from megabanks, and why they're able to offer transparently fee-free checking services like Kasasa Cash and Cash Back.
When you swipe your debit card to get extra cash in hand for your weekend spending money, do you get hit with a fee at the ATM from your megabank (how dare you not use their ATM and only their ATM)? Kasasa checking accounts also refund your ATM withdrawal fees anywhere in the country*. Add to that fees for using ATMs outside your bank, and your checking account can suddenly start to take your money instead of helping you manage it.
These kinds of fees tend to be hard to sniff out, so be vigilant and keep an eye out for anything that seems like an unnecessary charge when looking for a new checking account (or managing your current one). You shouldn't have to include a category in your budget just for ATM fees, especially when there are fee-free options available.
Money plus tip: Get the service you deserve
In addition to guaranteeing always-free checking, we work very hard to make sure Kasasa accounts are best-in-class checking services across the board. We also seek out partner financial institutions that share our passion for taking back banking from major corporations and putting economic power back into local communities.
Kasasa believes in rewarding account holders and their communities alike. Our local partnerships with each community bank and credit union allow you to support your neighbors and businesses throughout your community. who doesn't want to see their local economy thrive?
Kasasa® partners with local financial institutions across the country to offer a world-class suite of checking accounts that blend the best of seamless, online services and on-the-ground, community banking. We have developed products and services designed to take back banking and build up the communities that rely on these community financial institutions.
So here's our best money tip of all: all of Kasasa's checking accounts come with no sign-up fee, and no monthly maintenance fee. They offer free online banking and bill pay, paperless e-statements, and mobile banking — features other banks sometimes tack on extra fees for utilizing.
Kasasa Cash checking offers a higher interest rate or dividend return.
Kasasa Cash Back is free checking that pays cash back on everyday debit card purchases.
Kasasa Saver helps you build your savings automatically, account for your online and offline shopping, and ditch the megabank.
The next step is to make a change for the best. You work hard for your money and you shouldn't let it get swallowed up in fees, especially when it could be working just as hard for you. Be proud of your money.
* Amount based on every month you meet the easy reward qualifications, see your local institution for specific account details.