Plan your budget. Better money for better living

Set Savings Goals

What is it that you really want, now and down the road? Once you know what you want, following your budget and staying on track should be easier.

Determine Total Income

List each source, (jobs, scholarships, loans, and gifts from parents). Be sure to use after-tax amounts. Estimate on the low side and don't include any unreliable sources.

Outline Total Monthly Expenses
  • Fixed expenses: loan payments, rent, car insurance, tuition.
  • Flexible expenses: phone and Internet bills, groceries, clothes, and entertainment.
  • Include an amount to cover any unplanned expenses. Then add it all up. That's your total monthly spending.
Income Vs. Expenses

Subtract your expenses from your income. That's where your budget starts. If less than 5% of your income is left, or you're in the negative - you spend too much. Might be time to start deal hunting, eating out less, or thinking about a part-time job.

Set Aside for Savings

The sooner you start building a savings account, the better. You'll be surprised how fast it grows. And best of all? You'll be able to handle unexpected costs.

Maintain Your Budget

Take a look at your monthly expenses, especially if your circumstances or income have changed. Keep saving. Pinching pennies along the way might not be fun, but in the long run it's worth it.

Paying bills with your Visa card can help you manage your money automatically. Visit Pay Bills with Visa to find out how.


Selecting a savings account depends on how you use your money, and when you're going to need it. Choose a savings account that fits best with your financial goals. Start saving from the get-go. Visit the Practical Money Skills for Life site for a compilation of the best financial and savings resources on the web.


Be sure to compare account features like the interest rate, when you would start earning interest, the annual percentage yield, and any related fees. But these are just a few aspects to consider. Contact your bank for complete information.

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

If you want to build your savings and won't need the money soon, think about getting a certificate of deposit. They offer a guaranteed rate of interest for a specified term. Financial institutions generally require that you keep your money in the account until the term ends, and they might pay a higher rate of interest than a savings or other account. Typically, the longer the term, the higher the interest.

Savings Account

Want easy access to your funds? Open a savings account. They earn interest and allow you to make withdrawals, although the allowed monthly interest may be limited. Note: Financial institutions might attach various fees to savings accounts. Ask about any special accounts available for college students.

Money Market Deposit Account (MMDA)

If you typically write only two or three checks per month, a Money Market Deposit Account (MMDA) might be your best option. An MMDA is an interest-bearing account that allows you to write checks. It usually pays a higher rate of interest than a checking or savings account. MMDAs often require a higher minimum balance and limit you to only three checks per month. Note: Most financial institutions impose fees on MMDAs.


Easy steps to financial freedom

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