You've got a savings account, and maybe even a savings goal (at least a dream!) — let me show you how to increase money in savings account to get the things you want.

I'm so glad you want to know how to increase money in savings account — it means you're not messin' around. woman lounging in bed with breakfast on a tray with text overlay "how to build your savings faster"

My specialty happens to be in finding unique ways to save more money, and to funnel those savings into your actual savings account so that it can grow into something meaningful.

So, click around, and stay awhile!

How to Increase Money in Bank – Savings Account Tips

With everything in life — sports, careers, relationships, etc. — there are people who compete below us, and people who compete above us.

In order to grow and continue to progress in any area, I have learned that I need to surround myself with people who out-compete me so that I can stretch myself out of my comfort zones, learn what I don’t know that I don’t know, and strive to become better.

If I were to just surround myself with those that are equal in my strengths, then my strengths may not have the chance to expand and evolve and I may plateau at the tender age of 28.

With a personal savings rate of 5.5% in the U.S., it’s clear that we are not all highly effective savers at this point in time.

But if we want to be, then we should first identify, and secondly imitate the habits of people who have all ready achieved (and continue to achieve) superstar status in the saver realm.

Below I have identified 7 habits of highly effective savers, many of which I practice myself:

  1. Respect and Defend Their Savings Accounts: What good is a saving account if it’s really a money laundering front for your checking? Consider your savings account a black hole; once money goes into it, it never comes out of it. Do whatever it takes to use your saving account after all other possibilities have been exhausted…and I do mean all.
  2. Pay Themselves First: We’ve heard this advice from many financial gurus, perhaps because it is so true. By paying ourselves first (i.e. sending money into our ‘for keeps’ account before paying any of our bills) and then living off of what is left over, you might be surprised with how much extra money your savings account has at the end of the year.
  3. Set Aside Part of Each Small and Big Financial Windfall: Our yearly income is (hopefully) predictable. But each of us receives small and big “windfalls” throughout the year. By windfall, I mean money that you did not expect nor budget away. A windfall could be a tax return, stimulus money, bonuses, birthday money, gift cards (you can sell these for money), class action lawsuit, sign-up bonuses for credit cards/bank accounts/etc., credit card rewards, etc. Superstar savers use a percentage (or all) of each windfall they receive—whether it is $50 or $3,000—and put it into their savings account.
  4. Play for Keeps: People who are saving superstars do not look at their paychecks as something to spend. They look at their paycheck as something to keep. Almost every financial decision made (and other decisions, for that matter) centers around the question: how do I spend the least amount of money while still obtaining what I need/desire so that I can keep the most amount of money for my savings?
  5. Save Automatically: There have been entire books written around the simple (and effective) strategy of automatic savings. People who automatically withdraw money from their paychecks and/or checking accounts to their savings account will save more money than people who manually put money into their savings account. With automation, the process is more painless, and happens without any human emotion involved. Take yourself out of the decision process all together, except for that critical first decision to automate your savings.
  6. Spend With an Eye to the Future: Superstar savers realize that spending money wisely can save them money in the future, and they capitalize on this wisdom. What do I mean by this? Everyone needs to purchase food, products, etc. Instead of just focusing on satiating the need/desire that you have at the moment of the purchase, think about how your purchase can satiate future needs and desires. For example, purchase a sound car (for cash and used is best) that will last you 10+ years, purchase classy clothing instead of trendy clothing so that you can still wear it several years from now, “invest” in quality items for the items that will get used the most during your lifetime, purchase food and ingredients that you can use to double up on and freeze for a future meal, etc.
  7. Adjust, Not Give Up, When Life Circumstances Change: People have babies, get married, purchase homes, accept jobs, get laid off, etc. Each of these life changing events leads to an increase or a decrease in your available funds. Effective savers adjust their finances accordingly, and don’t just give up on saving money. This may mean a temporary hold on saving money or decreasing your amount saved each month, but always with a plan for when you can begin again. If you are bleeding money, this also means mitigating the amount of money you need to take out of your savings account in order to preserve as much as you can.

How to Build Your Savings Fast

There are 50 ways to leave your lover, more than one way to skin a cat, and there are at least as many different ways to get money from your paycheck to your savings account. The question is: which one is the best?

Just like many things in life, saving money is a psychological battle for us. What works for one person may not work for the next.

The secret is to find which method works for you mentally in order to reap the tangible reward: a large savings account.

You need to find a method that will satisfy your hunger for a stable financial future, while at the same time one that does not make you feel as though you are sacrificing your present life. If you are someone that is not motivated by a stable financial future, then you may need to find a method that will trick you into saving.

No matter what you need in order to grow your savings while maintaining a happy, healthy lifestyle, there is a method for you.

I have listed several methods below beginning with the one that entails the least amount of planning/work (and possibly that will reap the least amount of savings, depending upon your spending habits) and going from there.

Try as many as you need until you find the one.

Note: If your current need is to pay down debt, you can incorporate these methods as well. Instead of funneling the money to a savings account though, you will be funneling it towards your creditors.

Short, Sweet and Simple Methods

  • “Whatever’s Left” (aka Month-to-Month Variable): This is a laid-back method where you spend what you spend and then transfer the money that is left at the end of the month into your savings account. There is no plan here. I used this method when I first started working as a salaried employee, and had amassed $4,000 by the end of four months in my checking account. However, I found it much more efficient and satisfying to use other methods below, and so I changed my habits.
  • Work with What You Have: This is budgeting from the ground up. You figure out what you can afford to save each month by taking what you currently make and subtracting out your expenses. This is the method for those without much imagination or vision, as you do what you can, and you don’t necessarily try to figure out ways to save more than you can.
  • A Specific Dollar Amount: This is a method for planned saving. Basically you come up with a set amount that you want to save this year. Perhaps this is $2,000, $10,000, or the $20,000 above—whatever number is meaningful to you.  Then you divide this number by 12 months, and either automatically or manually deposit an increment of money each month into your savings account in order to reach this goal.
  • A Specific Percentage: This is also another method for planned saving. Find a percentage that you are comfortable with, and this percentage can remain with you for the rest of your life. As your income increases or decreases, so will the dollar amount that ultimately ends up in your savings account. From reading other people’s blogs and listening to financial gurus, it seems that 10% is a common percentage that people feel good about. I have never been clear on whether or not this is for your retirement alone or for your short term and long term savings together, but it’s truly all about what makes you feel satisfied.

Methods with More Imagination

  • Work Backwards: Goal-oriented people and dreamers may like this method; I find it particularly enticing. Basically you take a monetary goal that you pull out of thin air, and then you try to make it work. Instead of working with what you have, you work for what you want. Go ahead: dream, fantasize, and let your mind wander. Let’s say your dream or goal is to save $20,000 this year. You would take $20,000, divide it by 12, and see that you would need to set aside a total of $1,666.66 per month to reach that number. Now you look at what you bring in and what your expenses are…and then you get creative. Let’s say you can only “afford” to save $800 per month. You now need to come up with a way to increase that amount by $866.66. Not sure of how to reach your dream saving goal? You will either need to spend less, or earn more. We’ll be going over ways to do so in the next several posts.
  • Matching Contribution: This is kind of fun. Some employers entice their employees to save for retirement by offering matching contributions to 401(K)s. You can offer yourself the same enticement. For every dollar that you spend, put one dollar into savings. Or, for every dollar that you save (at the bottom of your store receipts by using coupons/sales, etc.), add that into your actual savings account above and beyond what you save each month. Realize that this money is coming from your own pot, so you will need to come up with the added “bonus” at the end of the month to your savings account. Also, this method will help you with spending less money.

How to Increase Your Money Fast

It can be frustrating and discouraging to watch a slow growth of savings due to only being able to stash away $30 here or $50 there. In your mind you might be wondering how on earth you will ever catch up to where others your age are, or to where you thought you were going to be at this point in life. You might get so discouraged, in fact, that saving those paltry amounts instead of spending them (because at least that comes with instant gratification) seems like a waste of time and efforts…and you decide to quit doing so.

Just as money seems to divide and disappear, it can also multiply and breed like rabbits. But in order to get to this stage in your finances you need to continue to set aside as much money as you possibly can. To stay motivated and to keep your head in the game you need to have a few big wins in the beginning where you can sock away a lump of something instead of just a few bucks here or there. This is especially true if you are living paycheck to paycheck and cannot find a way to set aside even $50 each pay period.

Hold a Virtual Garage Sale

If your saving account is looking grim, then take a look around your home, garage, and vehicle(s). Chances are that instead of investing in a sound financial future, you have invested in DVDs, collections, books, electronics, furniture, fish tanks, etc. It is time to liquefy your “assets” and send the cash to your saving account. Use a combination of Craigstlist, eBay, half-priced books, and scrap metal facilities to sell your items. Sell any gift cards you received over the holidays on websites like PlasticJungle.com. Not keen on giving up your belongings or gift cards? Just remember: you don’t need things in your life right now, you need money.

Don’t forget to donate what you do not sell and get a receipt for doing so. If you can itemize tax deductions at the end of the year, then you can get some money back (to add to your savings, of course) come tax time next year.

No Spend Days, Weekend, or Even Month

This can be a fun challenge, and I think your attitude towards it makes all the difference. Everyone spends money on food, entertainment, and gas during the month. What if we could find a way to instead take this money from our budgets one month and add it to our savings? This could be hundreds of dollars at the end of the month going into your for keeps pile instead of out the door.

Embark on a no-spend weekend (you'll definitely want to read my no-spend challenge guide), week, or even month for one of your spending categories. This could be in the area of food, entertainment, or even gas in some circumstances (you will probably not get away completely from paying gas for the month, especially with commuting, but you could use one car instead of two if you have two, or you could carpool for a month and bank the difference between your share of the expense and the gas bill you normally have).

If you want to just get your feet wet, declare next weekend a no-spend weekend. All entertainment must be free (and there is plenty of free entertainment to be had), all food must be from your cupboards, pantry, and freezer, and you cannot fill your tank up with gas. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, try saving money by eating only food in the house for one month. You might be amazed at what lurks in the depths of your freezer and pantry that otherwise might go expired. You could incorporate a rule that you can still purchase fresh fruits and veggies, baby formula, or other absolute necessities.

Open an Account with a Sign-Up Bonus

This is what Paul and I did to jumpstart our honeymoon saving account. I found an offer to open a new checking account and would receive $121 for doing so, no strings attached. You need to read the promotional materials, as many accounts need to stay open for six months, and if it is a checking account, it generally will need to have a direct deposit set up to it in order to receive the bonus (I lucked out on a black Friday deal with the one I found). I have done this numerous times; I opened a Bank of America account for $75, two Chase accounts for $200 each, and a few credit card accounts that gave $100 gift cards after making a few purchases (you can then sell these gift cards for cash on eBay or websites like PlasticJungle.com.

To find deals near you, check out mybanktracker.com. Any bank account you open can then dub as your saving account, and the money will typically be directly deposited into it for you! Please note that any money received is taxable income and you will receive a 1099 form at the end of the year.

Temporarily Suspend Car Insurance and Drive with One Car

Are you a two-car household? With gas prices heading to the nosebleed section again, you may want to reconsider this. Unless you are in dire need, I am not suggesting that you sell your car at this moment. Instead just take your second car out of commission for the next few months. Find a carpool buddy, or change your work schedule to carpool with your spouse (your boss may be more apt to allow you to do this if it is just temporary). Call your car insurance company and ask to have your insurance temporarily suspended until further notice. Because the suspension is temporary, you will not lose your rates, history, or loyalty with your company. It will then only cost you $10 or so per month (at least in my experience—I do this when I am traveling abroad or going on vacation for two weeks), and you can get a refund of the difference in cost or a credit to your account. Bank this amount, as well as the gas savings. Also, sign up for an account on Nuride.com (only available in certain areas, and Houston, TX is one of them) and start earning points towards coupons and gift cards just for carpooling, walking, and biking!

With a one car household, take this a step further and start using a bus or metro (if one is available in your area). Challenge yourself!

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Amanda L. Grossman is a Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 10 years, her money work helping people with how to save money and how to manage money has been featured in Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.
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