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How to Increase Money in Savings Account (2X Faster than On Your Own)

You've got a savings account, maybe even a savings goal – here's how to increase money in a savings account to get what you want.

Do you look at your savings account and wonder why it’s not, well, BIGGER?

young woman in hat on bed working on laptop, text overlay "how to grow your actual savings account - savings match programs, interest rate increases, etc."

How to save money is top of mind for you – so then why does another month fly by and you didn't even come close to increasing your savings the way you'd hoped to?

It can be frustrating and discouraging to watch the savings trickle in when you can only stash away $30 here or $50 there.

You might even be wondering how on earth you'll ever catch up to others your age, or to where you thought you'd be at this point in life.

Well, my friend, I'm so glad you're here – it means you're not messin' around when it comes to figuring out how to increase money in a savings account.

Maximizing your savings happens to be my specialty – so much so, that I've even coined the phrase “save beyond your means”.

So, click around, and stay awhile!

Hint: As you build your savings, you will want to look for low-cost ways to invest your money and grow its power to fuel your dreams. We keep track of our personal assets and savings growth through the free Empower. Not only does it track our net worth, but it automatically tallies super-useful info like how much in fees are getting sucked out of our portfolio, and if we're well-diversified (heck, even knowing what your portfolio is invested in for those of us who don’t keep track of mutual funds and bundled 401(k) packages offered at work).

How to Increase Your Savings Fast?

How can I increase my savings fast?

The fastest way to give your savings a boost (which will keep you motivated to save more) is these four strategies:

  1. Get a High-Yield Savings Account: How to increase savings account interest rate? Switch your savings account to the bank that offers the highest possible interest rate you can get. Hint: this will likely be through an online bank, which can offer higher interest rates since they don't have as many overhead costs to pay out. I did this several years ago, and to date, this has increased our savings account by earning us twice as much in interest as what our traditional brick-and-mortar bank.
  2. Start a Money Savings Challenge: One of the biggest motivators to saving a big amount of money (more than you thought you could) in a short period of time is to start a money-saving challenge. Some of my favorites are daily money-saving challenges, mini money-saving challenges, money-saving challenges for couples, and no-spend challenges.
  3. Get a Bank Opening Bonus: While you're at it – changing banks – make sure the bank you switch to has an account opening bonus (and that you can meet the minimum amount to qualify).
  4. Get an Interest-Earning Checking Account: We all need to keep money in our checking accounts to pay bills and buy what we want throughout the month. But, what if you switched to an interest-earning checking account and actually earned money on your money while it sat there? Take those small (but free) interest earnings, and stash them away in your savings account to earn even more interest on it.
  5. Get Your Savings Contributions Matched: Did you know there are matched savings programs out there? These will seriously increase your savings, in the fastest way possible. Check out these various matched savings programs to see if you qualify for any.

That's my quick'n'dirty answer to your question.

There's another great answer that I'd like to detail out a bit more because it has the potential to REALLY grow your savings fast.

How to Make Money Grow in Savings Accounts

Automating your savings strategy is the surefire way to actually make your account grow.

Think about it: if you had to manually send $100 to your vacation fund, and $450 to your retirement account each month…would you actually (consistently) do so?

Probably not – and you’re not alone. Most Americans wouldn’t!

Instead, you need to automate your savings.

There are three tools to set up automated savings:

  1. Automatic Withdrawals: Setting up automatic transfers each month from your checking to your savings account.
  2. Direct Deposits to Savings Account: Setting up automatic direct deposits from your paycheck to your savings account (many HR departments will let you split your paycheck between two different accounts, using percentages that you indicate). Note that you can also have any tax return from the IRS directly deposited into your savings account, instead of into your checking account.
  3. Automatic Savings App: These apps are one of the best new tools on the market to get more of your money into your actual savings account because it takes it out in little increments – say $5.00 here, $22.00 there – so that you don’t really notice. What you will notice? Is the money accumulation!

Automatic savings apps are your new best friend. I’ve been using one for two years now, and it’s automatically sent $4,215.37 to my savings account in hardly-noticeable increments such as $5.00, and $17.32!

In my world, that money equals two trips to Cozumel, Mexico (one of which, we took for our 5-year anniversary!).

Here’s my favorite automatic savings app to check out for how to save money consistently:

  • Oportun.co: This is the one I’ve happily used for two years now. What I love about this service is you can communicate what you want through text messages to it. If I want to withdraw money from my savings account with them and send it back to my checking, it takes just one day and I can text the command “Withdraw $XXX.XX” to get it done. You can also text things like, “save more”, or “save less”, or “pause saving”. How easy! This service is free for 100 days, then it’s $2.99/month. They also pay a small amount of interest (1% annual bonus, paid out every three months), and you can transfer the money to your optimized savings account you set up earlier at any time.

How Can I Put More Money in My Savings Account?

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

The secret is to find which method works for YOU.

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 your current life is one big sacrifice for the future.

Hint: are you someone who is not motivated by a stable financial future? Then you may need to find a method that will trick you into saving.

I have listed several methods below beginning with the one that requires the least amount of planning/work from you, 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.

Simple Methods to Increase Money in Savings

1. “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 the other methods below, and so I changed my habits.

2. 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 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.

3. Save 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 $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.

4. Save 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.

Creative Methods to Increase Money in Savings

5. 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'll either need to spend less or earn more.

6. Matching Contribution

This is kind of fun. Some employers entice their employees to save for retirement by offering matching savings 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 Money in Savings Account – Strategies

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 zone, 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 already achieved (and continue to achieve) superstar status in the saver realm.

Below I have identified 7 habits of highly effective savers:

Strategy #1: Respect and Defend Your Savings Accounts

What good is a savings 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 savings account after all other possibilities have been exhausted…and I do mean all.

Strategy #2: Pay Yourself 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.

Strategy #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 lawsuits, 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.

Strategy #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?

Strategy #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 accounts will save more money than people who manually put money into their savings accounts.

With automation, the process is more painless and happens without any human emotion involved. Take yourself out of the decision process altogether, except for that critical first decision to automate your savings.

Strategy #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.

Strategy #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. Here's more saving money motivation.

I hope I've shown you how to increase money in savings accounts at least two times as fast as you've been able to do on your own. Implement just one of these smart savings strategies per week for the next month, and you'll be well on your way.

infographic of 7 habits of highly effective savers, with graphics throughout
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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.