Maximize Your Savings with a Solid Strategy

Saving money is a lot like dieting—there are many strategies for reaching your goal, but only a few are truly effective.

By Navy Federal January 22, 2016

Your path to successful savings should include strategies that lead to a sustainable and long-term change in your financial habits. You'll want to look beyond one-size-fits-all approaches. Consider your money personality when reviewing these savings methods to find one or more that work best for you.

Put saving on autopilot

Just about everyone can benefit by skipping the conscious effort to save and making it automatic.

  • Take advantage of employer plans. If your employer offers a 401(k), Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), 457, 403(b) or other retirement savings plan, sign up. It's a great way to save automatically, since the money is deducted directly from your paycheck, and there are tax benefits. (Note: If you don't have access to an employer plan, or if you want to supplement your retirement plan at work, open an individual retirement account.)
  • Use direct deposit. You won't miss money you don't see, so pay yourself first by using direct deposit and splitting your paycheck between your checking and savings accounts. Navy Federal offers several options for directly depositing your pay. If your payroll doesn't allow for direct deposit to be split, call us at 1-888-842-6328 to set up automatic transfers from your account.

Get creative

If you need a little inspiration to keep yourself on track, consider these tips.

  • Stash $5 bills. Any time you receive a $5 bill, tuck it away in a safe place other than your wallet or pocket. When you accumulate $50 or $100, deposit the cash into your savings account. If you save three $5 bills each week, by the end of the year, you'll have $780; four $5 bills a week will land you $1,040.
  • Save $1 more each week. Challenge yourself to save $1 on week one, $2 on week two and so forth. On the last week of the year, you should save $52. If you do this for a year, you could accumulate more than $1,300.
  • Overestimate your spending. When you create your monthly budget, bump up the line items. For example, if your electric bill is usually about $75 a month, plan for $80. If your cable bill is $66, plan for $70. At the end of the month, sweep the extra dollars into your savings account.
  • Keep "paying" bills you've paid off. Once you’ve paid off a credit card bill or loan, redirect the amount you were paying into your savings account instead. You're already used to living on what you have after paying the bill, so you won't feel deprived and you could save a bundle. For example, suppose you've paid off a car loan with a $350 monthly payment. Stash that money away, and in a year, you'd have $4,200.

We make it easy

Navy Federal offers a variety of accounts and tools that will help you maximize your saving strategy, so start saving today!

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.