One quick way to save more money in the coming year: Open a high-yield online savings account. You can do this at many banks in less than 15 minutes, and you will earn at least 20 times more interest than you would in a traditional savings account.
So just how much can higher rates help you achieve your savings goals? And what else can online accounts do for you? Here is why opening a high-yield account is a good use of a couple of commercial breaks.
If you are trying to accumulate extra cash, lifestyle changes are the best way to make serious progress. That might include lowering your housing costs, negotiating a raise or trading in your ride for a less expensive vehicle.
But earning more for your money while it’s deposited definitely doesn’t hurt.
Nationally, the average annual percentage yield, or APY, is 0.09 percent. At that rate, a $5,000 deposit would earn $4.50 in interest in a year. But it’s not unusual to find online savings rates around 2 percent these days. That would earn the same deposit $100 after 12 months. It’s not a huge sum, but it could cover a few surprise doctor’s appointment copays, a new tire, or simply pad your account.
“A hundred dollars here and there is nice to have, and you certainly don’t want to leave money on the table,” said Cheryl Ober, a Minnesota-based certified financial planner.
And rates have been on the rise, meaning your savings will grow even more in the coming years if you switch. Earning more interest isn’t the only way online accounts can support your savings efforts. For some, low fees are a better selling point.
When it comes to lower account balances, “it’s typically easy to bank fee-free at online banks, and that has more of an impact than a high interest rate,” said Justin Pritchard, a Colorado certified financial planner.
If you use one of the country’s largest banks and typically pay a monthly fee on checking and savings, you could easily spend $200 per year just to park your money at that financial institution.
It’s easy to open your first online savings account, and many institutions make it just as easy to open and use additional accounts — often for free. “That helps you manage your money and earmark funds for specific goals without paying fees for each account,” Pritchard says.
A high-yield account is no substitute for regular savings contributions. But it is the easiest, most efficient way to add a little extra to your nest egg.
Alice Holbrook is a writer at NerdWallet. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.