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Savings check-up: 5 smart tips to help you reach your savings goal

If you strive to have consistent sensible savings habits and a healthy savings balance, check out the following smart tips for maximizing your savings.

  1. Set a specific savings goal. Saying, “I need to save more money” may be an accurate observation but it isn’t very motivating. If you really want to save more money, set a specific goal—one that is measurable and inspiring. For example, “I want to save $3,000 toward a trip to Paris next summer,” or “I want to contribute an additional 10% of my income each month toward my retirement account.” Then use pictures or reminders to help you stay focused. For example, put a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Or put pictures of the lifestyle you’d like to have in retirement.
  2. Challenge yourself to save more. If you are the competitive type, then set yourself a savings challenge. Be realistic. You wouldn’t set a challenge to lift 350 pounds in five days if you haven’t exercised in five years. Don’t set an unrealistic financial challenge and end up failing. Maybe start with something small, such as $10 a week. You can eat out less, put your loose change into a jar or piggy bank each night, find and use discount programs, or maybe skip the $5 mocha latte a couple of mornings. Then increase the amount in increments to see how much more you can save.
  3. Take advantage of a smarter savings account. Where you save can be as important as how and how much you save. Typically, online banks pay higher-than-average interest on savings. Also, there are different accounts for different types of saving. For example, CIT Bank offers a Savings Builder two-tiered account with rates that are 23 times the national average.1 If you open the account with a balance of $25,000 or more, you can earn the top Annual Percentage Yield (APY). If you don’t have $25,000 to put into savings, you can still earn the top APY tier by making a minimum monthly deposit of at least $100.
  4. Curb those impulse buys. Think impulse buying isn’t such a problem if you only buy what’s on sale? According to a survey by, consumers make approximately three impulse buys a week adding up to as much as $450 a month or $5,400 a year.2 Food is the most common impulse buy, so don’t go to the market hungry. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Or for larger impulse buys, use the 30-day rule. Walk away from the item, go home and write down the item, store, price and date. Then wait 30 days. If you still feel a strong urge to buy it, go ahead as long as it fits with your budget and spending plan.
  5. Reframe your savings mindset. If you think about saving in big-picture terms then you may be setting yourself up for struggle. Instead, reframe your thinking to make saving a process, something that can be done in smaller steps like training or learning a new skill. Use incremental goals. Your goal may be to save thousands of dollars but start with saving something you can manage, say $100 a month. Reward yourself for each goal reached (search out fun but free rewards), and plan for occasional setbacks. They do happen but the key is to not let them derail your efforts. Simply get back on track.

Learn how a Savings Builder account can help you save smarter and reach your savings goals.

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