A savings calculator is a tool used to help you figure out how much money you will make over time when placing an initial amount or additional contributions into an interest-earning account. There are many reasons why having an interest-earning savings account is important for financial health, whether you’re using it to build up an emergency fund or to fulfill a travel dream or wedding.
It’s generally a good idea to have three to six months of your expenses saved in your emergency fund. A savings calculator helps determine how much money you accrue in addition to the emergency savings you have sitting in your account.
How to use a savings calculator
The interest that builds on top of your account balance can be determined by a savings calculator, to help you figure out how much you will be making over a long period.
The longer the money stays in the account, the more you accrue in interest. The great thing about interest-earning accounts is that you not only earn money on your balance or deposits but also on the interest earnings accrued over time, this is also known as compound interest. Here are a few tips on how to use a savings calculator.
- Calculate the numbers without a monthly deposit. By doing this, you are figuring out how much interest your balance is generating annually.
- Calculate again by adding a regular monthly deposit to see how a recurring deposit makes a difference in your total savings amount.
- Enter a different number of years to determine how much your interest grows your account over a while. Start with five years, increased to 10, increased to 20 and so on. This allows you to plan for long-term decisions such as retirement and develop a living yearly salary budget to depend on once you are no longer working.
How to boost your savings
1. Open an interest-bearing savings account
You want to place any money you can spare into one of these accounts because when left untouched, it compounds interest annually meaning you are making money on the interest accrued from the previous year. If you don’t need the money right away anyway, then this is what you should do with it to make money from money. Some of the best interest-bearing accounts come from online banks like Ally or Synchrony.
It’s important to keep in mind that each account will vary in APY offered. Although the national average is 0.09% APY, it’s possible to find accounts that offer well above this. That said, make sure to compare different high-yield savings account before selecting one to earn the best rate.
2. Choose an inconvenient bank or auto-transfer
Picking a bank that is hard to access increases your savings amount because it means you won’t be tempted to make withdrawals on a regular basis. Some banks have “funding holds” so that a release of your funds can take anywhere from 24 hours to five business days. While it may seem off-putting at first, this “inconvenience” can help you avoid any spontaneous and unnecessary purchases.
Furthermore, setting up a small weekly or bi-weekly transfer from your checking account to your savings account can help increase your savings. Come up with an amount that you won’t miss on a weekly basis, such as $20 a week or $50 every time your paycheck deposits.
3. Roundup savings apps
Roundup savings works as an automatic savings account that includes the spare change from purchases you make. For instance, if you buy something for $4.95, the total would round up to charging you $5 and deposit the extra 5 cents into your roundup savings account.
Some great apps to look into include Acorns, Chime, and Qapital. If you choose to save through simple things, this is a great place to see that money accumulate and keep your momentum going. Some apps — like Chime — also come with their own competitive interest rates so be sure you take the time to compare the perks.
4. Choose auto-pay and eliminate subscriptions
You’d be amazed by the amount of money you unknowingly spend monthly. Two common culprits are overdue fines and subscription fees. If you have the cash on hand, saving on late fees is as simple as setting your accounts for auto-pay.
You may even find that you “accidentally save” on bills that are lower than your auto-pay amount, in which case you’ll typically receive a credit for the following month. Some providers even offer an added discount for auto-pay accounts or accounts that go paper-free. Set up typically takes a few minutes but can save you hundreds on late fees.
If you’ve ever signed up for a free seven-day or 30-day trial thinking “I’ll just cancel this before it expires” only to forget all about it, you’re not alone. Companies count on the fact that you’ll forget you ever signed up. Take some time to look into any “mysterious charges” to your account and cancel any subscriptions you no longer need.
The impact of 1% savings over time
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the pre-tax median income for someone in 2019 living in the United States was $48,672. If they were to take 1% of their income to invest as principal in an interest-earning account, it would be a $486.72 initial investment. If $486.72 was invested in a savings account each year for five years at a rate of .09% APY, the total in the account, by the end of those five years $219 would be gained in interest.
As you can see, just investing a small, seemingly insignificant amount of 1% of your income has a very large, significant impact on your savings account.