For a variety of reasons, it is important to know how much money to maintain in your checking and savings accounts. Overdraft fees and monthly maintenance costs may be avoided if you have adequate money in each of your accounts. You may be able to earn interest on your savings account balance if you move money from your checking account to it.
Educate yourself on how much money you should retain in each of your checking and savings accounts and when you should make money transfers.
Calculating the Appropriate Amount to Keep on Hand
The amount of money you maintain in your checking account is influenced by a number of factors.
To begin, think about what you want to do with the money in your checking account. You may pay your bills and spend money from the same checking account if you only have one. On the other hand, you might open up a separate checking account only for paying your expenses.
You’ll also need to select how much money you want to keep in the bank. Some may interpret this as a fixed financial figure, such as $5,000, that has nothing to do with your actual costs.
It’s a good idea, according to Union Bank’s head of retail deposits, Brian Milton, to retain two months’ worth of living costs in your checking account, as well as a 25- to 30-percent buffer over that.
In order to prevent overdrawing your checking account and suffering pricey penalties, it’s advisable to have a cushion in your account, according to Milton.
To prevent the $31 overdraft charge, you need to know how to properly budget your checking account. How you spend your money each month and how frequently you are paid are also factors in this.
Even if you opt for overdraft protection, you may still have to pay a charge for the bank to move funds from your savings account into your checking account to cover expenses.
Paying your expenses twice a month may be an option for those who get paid every two weeks. As a rule of thumb, you should have enough money in your bank account at all times to pay half of your monthly expenditures, as well as any money you’ve set aside for food, transportation, or other discretionary spending.
Consider the bank’s regulations when selecting how much to deposit in your checking account. Depending on your bank, you may be charged a monthly fee if your account balance falls below a specific level, such as $500. If you’re not careful, these fees may quickly eat away at your checking account balance.
One of the most common ways for people to accumulate unneeded funds in their checking accounts is to keep all of their cash there rather than just a predetermined amount. An interest-earning account is the best place to keep your excess cash, according to Shirley Yang, vice president of deposits at Marcus by Goldman Sachs.
If you’ve got a lot of money in your checking account, but it’s not producing interest, you may want to consider moving some of that money to a different account where it can grow,” Yang said. There are a variety of alternatives for storing your extra cash, including savings accounts and CDs.
Choosing a Checking Account: Advice
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if you’re shopping around for a new checking account, you should consider the following factors:
- costs for using a bank account
- A minimum of a bank balance is needed.
- An initial deposit is needed to start an account.
- Accessibility and financial services (for example, mobile and online banking)
When creating a checking account, think about whether you’d want to do it with a conventional or online bank. You may pay less for a checking account if you just use online banking, but you won’t have access to a branch. In addition to earning interest on your balance, certain online checking accounts such as Ally’s Interest Checking enable you to do so.
The account should be seen as a daily workhorse, regardless of whether you use an online or conventional bank, according to Yang A checking account should be considered “a location to put money that you want access to for regular, daily expenditures,” she added.
As an option, you may also use a credit card.
If you’re worried about bank penalties for overdrafts or failing to maintain a minimum level, credit cards may be able to alleviate your concerns. It may be simpler to budget your checking account balance and avoid penalties if you use your credit card to pay for daily expenses while keeping your checking account available for bill payment alone.
Using a credit card may also give you money-saving benefits like points, cash back, or travel miles.
Use a credit card only if it saves you money in the long run by not paying interest charges. Paying off your credit card debt each month is the only way to achieve that.
In terms of savings, how much money should you have in your bank account?
Saving money for a certain purpose will have an impact on how much you should have set aside. Three to six months’ worth of costs may be sufficient for a savings account used as an emergency reserve. Depending on your monthly costs and how many months’ worth you decide to save, the actual cash amount will be different.
Remember that you’re putting this money aside for unanticipated expenditures like auto repairs or job loss, not for a family trip or home improvement project.
On the other hand, if you’re saving for a specific goal, you may decide how much money you should save based on that aim. Your savings account should have at least $15,000 in it if you wish to re-do your bathroom for $15,000, for example. For a down payment, you may be looking to save at least $10,000 or more, depending on your financial situation.
Your deposit accounts are insured up to a maximum of $250,000 by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Keep in mind that savings accounts aren’t designed to be used often as a checking account would be. Depending on your financial institution, you may be limited to a specific amount of withdrawals each month. If you go above that limit, your financial institution has the following options:
- You will be charged an overdraft fee.
- Switch from a savings account to a checking one.
- Put an end to it.
Milton says that putting away any extra cash in a savings account is also a good idea. There are several reasons to keep your money in a savings account, but one of the most important is that it provides security. ATMs, debit cards, and online payment credentials are easy targets for thieves, so putting any extra cash in an interest-bearing savings account is a smart move.
Choosing a Savings Account: Some Advice
Selecting a savings account is similar to choosing a checking account in that it’s vital to look at the fundamentals:
- To start an account, a minimum deposit of $25 is needed.
- Fees for regular upkeep or a minimum daily balance
- Financial services and goods
Additionally, you should pay attention to the bank’s savings APY (annual percentage return). Compounding interest increases the value of a savings account when the annual percentage yield (APY) is over a certain threshold.
Traditional banks still give less than 0.50 percent APY, but a high-yield savings account may allow you to earn more on your monthly sum than this..
The average balances in both checking and savings accounts.
It’s difficult to determine how much money the typical American has in checking and savings accounts. The Federal Reserve’s 2017 Survey of Consumer Finances is the finest data available as of June 2020. In 2017, the median amount in all transaction accounts, including checking, savings, and money market accounts, was $4,500, according to that poll. Overall, there was a $40,200.3 average balance in all transaction accounts.
Remember that these numbers don’t always indicate how much money individuals who are unbanked have saved up or how much money they have available for spending. Unbanked: 8.4 million American households have no bank account of any type in 2017. 4 The Federal Reserve data include money kept on prepaid debit cards, although not all unbanked households use them.
You should utilize your individual financial position, as well as your bank’s account fees, to establish the minimum amount of money you should retain in your checking and savings accounts.
The Bottom Line
Manage your checking and savings accounts effectively to prevent excessive fees and keep track of your finances. It’s important to discover a balancing quantity that you’re comfortable with and stick to it, since everyone’s needs are different.
When you have excess cash in your checking account (such as money you don’t need for bills and expenditures), use it wisely. However, if you have a large amount of money sitting around, it may be in your best interest to place it in a savings account or a certificate of deposit (CD).
If I already have an emergency fund, how much should I save from each paycheck?
Budgeting rules of thumb may help you determine how much money you should save based on your financial objectives and goals. According to the 50/30/20 guideline, you should spend 50% of your salary on necessities, 30% on desires and 20% on long-term financial objectives like debt reduction or emergency savings. Those 20 percent may go into a brokerage account, an IRA, or a separate savings account for a particular objective, like a trip, if you are currently debt-free.
Checking accounts and savings accounts are two different types of financial accounts.
The FDIC insures your funds in both a checking and a savings account, and you may receive interest on your deposits in both. Checking accounts, on the other hand, are intended to be used more often, and as a result, withdrawal limits are less severe. The quantity of withdrawals you may make from a savings account may be limited, and banks may not provide debit cards for your savings account.
What is the minimum age to establish a bank account, either a checking or a savings one?
Most financial organizations prefer to deal with adults, as opposed to children. Most financial organizations, on the other hand, will allow kids to create an account with the assistance of an adult. For parents who want to educate their children about the ins and outs of a bank account, several banks provide customized accounts for youngsters.