When it comes to personal finance, learning to let your money sit, untouched, in your savings account is one of the most important things you can do. Unfortunately, for the majority of people, it is also one of the hardest habits to adopt. And because of that struggle, many people end up looking for ways to restrict their own access to their savings account. In fact, this whole thought process usually starts with a question that I want to address right away: can I lock my savings account?
No, you cannot lock your savings account. However, you can place your money in an account that penalizes you for withdrawing funds before a specified “maturity” date. Some examples of accounts with early withdrawal penalties are: Certificates Of Deposit, 401Ks, and IRAs.
Since the penalties that you would incur from dipping into one of these accounts can be pretty severe, they can be a great option for people that struggle to let money sit, untouched, in savings.
Though, before you go limiting your access to your savings, there are a few questions you should ask yourself, as well as a few things you should consider.
For instance, why, exactly, do you want to lock your savings account?
Also, what if there were a few simple tips you could implement to reduce your temptation to dip into savings?
Well, these are the kinds of thing I’m going to address in the rest of this article.
Let’s dive in!
Why Do You Want To Lock Your Savings Account?
Like any financial problem, if you’re struggling to let your money sit in savings, then it’s important to get down to the root of the problem. And to do that, you should start by asking yourself, “why do I want to save money in the first place?”
In other words, why is saving money important to you?
Until you figure out the answer to this question, it will be hard for you to kick the habit of dipping into savings.
Well, for many people, their entire purpose for saving money is because they’ve been told to do so. Whether they heard it from their parents, or financial experts, their only reason they want to save money is because, at some point, they heard somebody say it is the smart financial thing to do. And while that’s true, there’s just not a single ounce of personal purpose behind it.
And without purpose, there’s almost nothing stopping you from spending every penny you’ve ever saved.
So, if you want to get good at saving money, and discover a new-found desire to let it sit in your savings account, then you need to figure out a reason to save. And whatever reason you come up with needs to be stronger than your desire to spend money on anything.
That way, the next time you feel the urge to pull money from savings, you will feel the even greater desire to let it sit there.
Do You Have An Emergency Fund?
Another really important thing to consider before you place your money in an account that penalizes you for early withdrawals is whether or not you have some money saved up for emergencies. Because, to put it simply, if you don’t have some money sitting in an account that’s easily accessible in the event of an unexpected expense, you are putting your entire financial life at risk.
Think about it like this, if your car were to break down tomorrow and you didn’t have relatively easy access to your savings, you would be in a pretty tricky financial spot — especially if you need your car to get to work, or drive your kids to school.
At best, you would be forced to pay a penalty fee on top of the car repairs, and at worst, you might end up incurring debt in order to pay for the expense. I don’t know about you, but I’m not too keen on either of those options.
I also realize that that doesn’t do a lot to help you.
After all, if you struggle to fight the temptation to dip into your savings account, how, exactly are you supposed to save up an emergency fund?
Well, here at Be The Budget, we’ve discovered a few solutions that have proven to be quite effective.
How To Stop Yourself From Spending Your Savings
1. Hide Your Savings At A Different Bank
I don’t think it’s any big secret that the more accessible your savings account is, the more likely you will be to dip into it. Furthermore, the more often you interact with your savings account, the more often you’ll have to fight the temptation to spend it.
For those reasons, if you want to set yourself up for success, we recommend moving your savings to an entirely different bank than your checking account. This little action will reduce the number of times you interact with your savings account, and therefore, reduce your likelihood of dipping into it.
Seriously, my wife and I implemented this technique in our own financial life a few years ago, and it has made an incredible difference. In fact, we haven’t dipped into savings account a single time since moving it to a different bank.
It’s crazy how positive of an impact a simple technique like this can have on your financial life. And I genuinely hope you give it a try.
If you’re interested in hiding your savings at a different bank, we highly recommend opening either an Axos High Yield Savings Account, or a CIT Savings Builder. Both of these savings accounts have great interest rates, and they don’t charge you monthly maintenance fees. Also, you can open either one of these accounts online in a matter of about 10 minutes, which is really nice.
2. Automate Your Savings
After you move your savings to a different bank, the next step you should take is to automate your savings.
Well, it’s simple. If every time you look at your savings, you’re tempted to spend it, then the less you interact with your savings, the more likely you will be to let it sit there and grow. And these days, automating your savings is incredibly easy to implement.
For example, if you receive your paycheck through direct deposit, in most cases you can split it and have a portion deposited directly into your savings account. Additionally, you could use an app like Acorns or Chime to round up every purchase and invest or save the difference.
Whichever method you choose, the less contact you have with your savings account, the better off you’ll be.
3. Live On A Written Budget
Plain and simple, the less control you have over your money, the harder it is to save. Therefore, if you want to kick the nasty habit of spending your savings, then living on a budget is one of the most important things you can do.
So, get out a pen and paper, download a budgeting app, or make yourself a budgeting spreadsheet. Because, the sooner you start living on a written budget, the easier saving money will become.
Resisting the temptation to spend your savings is a common struggle. And while you might not be able to lock your savings account, there are quite a few things you can do to kick this bad habit.
From figuring out your “why?” to living on a written budget, and even hiding your savings at a different bank, you have quite a few different options. And if all else fails, you can always put your money into an account that penalizes you for early withdrawals.
So, how do you plan to resist the temptation to spend your savings? Be sure to leave a comment below.