Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Reality of Savings

Okay, I didn't quite tell the whole truth in my previous post. I suppose the prelude to this blog would have been made a month and a half ago.
On August 25, 2008 I started a savings account. I took a portion of my check and kept it for myself, promising to myself to keep $150 from each of my checks. Now, at first, this was like pulling teeth. Like many others, my financial situation had grown equally proportional to the amount of money that I was bringing in. Shrinking that income, would mean changing my lifestyle, maybe not even paying some bills, or even worse, not being able to eat out 4 and 5 times a week. Despite my worries, I muscled through, and immediately extracted $150 from my paycheck. Surprisingly, after the first couple of times, saving the money seemed natural. Even more surprisingly, my lifestyle didn't change much at all. Truthfully, I seem to be getting by just as easily now than before, only this time my savings account is growing.
To maximize my savings, I opened an ING Orange Savings Account. It was very easy to do online and the customer service was immediate and very reassuring. There was no minimum deposit and no fees, offering a 3.00% variable interest rate. The online access allows me to link my checking account to my ING Savings account and transfer money from either at will. I made it a habit to transfer $150 each pay period into my savings account. At the time, I enjoyed a one time bonus of $25 just for opening the account. I currently have $475.65 in this account (and will be adding $150 next week).
ING Direct is not the only only online bank that offers decent interest rates with little to no fees and minimums. They just stuck out to me at the time when I was looking for one. So far, I have no reason to look else where. ING certainly doesn't have the highest interest rate, just check out what you find when you search "online savings accounts" on Google.
What's more important to me is that I am actually keeping some of what I'm earning. And I'm protecting myself from myself by separating this money from the money I plan on spending. You'd be surprised at how much easier it is to save money when you don't have immediate access to it. If you don't believe that, test yourself to see how long actual cash stays in your pocket.

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