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January 17, 2008


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Interesting savings trick!

Isn't this essentially what the Bank of America account they were promoting heavily earlier this year does? For every transaction you round up to the nearest dollar and the change gets deposited in savings.

In days of yore, when people had to learn how to add & subtract and balance their checking accounts by hand, it was easy to make believe that your account was short. Each month, you would subtract some amount from your current balance, physically leaving it in the account, and making believe it didn't exist. Of course, when you got your monthly statement, you would simply subtract that amount from the actual balance. At some point, you would write a check to your savings account or spend that money.

You can simulate that in Quicken or Money by creating a fake savings account and setting up a recurring transfer into the account.

Of course, the surest way to save would be to set up a real automatic draft to an Internet bank.

Bank of America does this with their Keep The Change program. In addition to rounding up to the next dollar and transfering it into your savings, they also match 5% of you total Keep The Chang transfers (once a year).

I've participated in the program since it was started and have seen little to no savings from it (~$15 net in savings a year), then again my BoA accounts are my budgeted to the last penny accounts so they tend to maintain the minimum balance and then only what I plan on spending on fixed bills anyways.

Bank of America still does this but they match 100 percent for the first three months. Sweeeeet.

Keep in mind that Bank of America savings accounts offer next to nothing in interest -- I think 0.5%. I would suggest getting that 5% match and RAPIDLY moving your money to a higher yielding account -- prehaps ING, HSBC Direct, or Emigrant.

I consider $5.00 bills as my atomic spending unit. That is, if I need to purchase it something I pull out a $5.00, a $10.00, a $20 bills etc. I leave the singles & coins be.

I get home all go into a coffee can and I do not take them to the bank until they fill up. I have small coffee cans for pennies and nickels and put dimes and quarters into a big can. Dollars also go into a big can.

Last time I cashed in, my big can was dimes, nickels, and quarters and had something like $400.00 in it. Came in handy for that trip we took to the Philippines.

I have been doing the dollar bill thing for about one month now and have about $100 set aside. I am thinking of turning them into $20 bills and put them in our fireproof safe. Nice little emergency cash fund, comes in handy (got a tow once and the tow truck operator would only take cash payment no credit cards no checks we had it).

Etrade bank also has pretty good rates - I think I'm around 5%.

There are a couple other ways to do this in Quicken.

One is to set up an account, round up the transaction and do a split. I've been thinking of starting my own "Keep the Change" type program, but I download my transactions into Quicken and this might cause issues.

Another is to use the Savings Goals feature and make contributions to the goal. When you reach the goal and are ready to use the money, just delete the goal and all the change is "back." This is probably the method I will use.

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