Now that you have found some extra money each month, what should you do with it? Don’t bury it in a coffee can out in the back yard or hide it underneath your mattress, begin searching for banks that will work hard for you.
Start out locally, with a bank that you perhaps already have a relationship with. See what kind of savings accounts they have, and what kind of special bonuses they offer. Sometimes a bank will offer a higher interest rate for an introductory period; sometimes they offer a higher one if you keep a minimum balance. Each bank is different, but the bottom line is always the same; look for the highest percentage rate for your money. The higher the percentage rate the more money you will generate.
How can you make money just by having it sit in a savings account? Well, banks need money for other loans. Basically, banks collect money from customers of various accounts, and they use that money to make loans for other customers. Don’t panic, your money is insured so that if you need it, you can withdraw it without any problems, that’s what the FDIC does. The FDIC insures that you will get your money if your bank goes under. As an incentive for you to give a bank your money, they offer interest rates that pay you a set amount of interest on your money over a specified time limit. Some banks pay by the month, quarter, or year, and your interest rate may fluctuate over that time period or it may stay fixed; this all depends on the policy of your bank.
With all that said, how do you find a bank that will pump up your investment? Start doing your homework. Find out what percentage rates banks in your area are offering. Once you know that number, you can start looking into the finer points; how often does the account accrue that interest? How often does it pay out? Do you need to keep a minimum balance? What happens if you drop below the mandatory minimum balance? All of these questions can be answered by a banker in person or over the telephone. Bank websites are good places to get general information and make your initial inquiries, but when it really comes down the wire, personal service when getting all of the details is of the utmost importance.
Find out how to get the best possible deal from the bank you choose. Some banks offer different types of savings accounts, and your banker can help you choose which one is right for you. Some banks offer high-yield savings accounts; these normally pay out a higher percentage rate, but only if you make a substantial initial deposit (sometimes $10,000 or more), keep a high balance over time, don’t withdraw from the account frequently, or give them your other banking business (such as checking accounts or mortgages). Other accounts do not have a required minimum deposit or a required minimum balance, and they may not regulate withdrawals. All of these things need to be taken into consideration when you decide how best to grow your money.
Research, take your time and choose a bank that will work for you. This is the best way to cultivate your savings.