I believe the United States is facing a rapid transition. No longer are we just intrigued by just earning insane amounts of cash; we’re intrigued by earning money while having the flexibility to use it. As a follower of Ramit Sethi’s blog and book, I’ve gone through a rapid transformation in the last few months in an attempt to maximize my returns with as little effort as possible. After about 10 hours of working through Ramit’s book and doing independent research, I created a system that earns money through my high-yield Savings and Checking accounts (ING Direct and Schwab, respectfully); gets me great perks through a credit card; and saves me money on the big spending. Click read more to learn how I do it, and how you can do the same.
OPEN A HIGH-YIELD SAVINGS AND CHECKING ACCOUNT. When I entered college, I–like most people my age–went to one of the local on-campus banks and came out a hour later with a basic Checking and Savings account. I had little idea what my account numbers meant: all I knew was I know had a place to put my money and a credit card to spend it with. It took me a few years to realize that a 0.05% return on my Savings account was a horrible deal, and my $300 credit card limit with a 22% APR was an absolute rip-off. Ah, teenage ignorance, how I am absolutely ecstatic you are over. Thankfully, after reading Ramit’s book I decided to open an ING Direct Savings account. The APY is currently 1.10%, and there are no fees; a much better way to earn money than the old bank I kept my money with. Furthermore, the account allows me to create various sub-accounts and automatic savings plans that transfer cash between the accounts. Therefore, when I earn money, most of it is direct deposited into my Charles Schwab Checking account (this amount will decrease when I open up my Roth IRA and 401(k) soon). From the Checking account, a few days later, a pre-defined percentage gets transferred to my main Savings account. Once again, another percentage of the money is automatically transferred to one of my sub-Savings accounts (such as vacation, or stupid mistakes). 100% of this is done automatically; I only spend about 30 minutes once a week making sure everything is moved correctly. On the Checking end of the spectrum, I maintain two accounts: one from Bank of America and one from Schwab. I chose Schwab because of their 0.05% APR (if money’s going to be in my Checking account, I might as well earn interest!), their no-fee account, and the free withdrawal from any ATM. Below is what my ING Direct Savings account looks like. As you’ll notice, my sub-accounts are also visible.
USE A CREDIT CARD WITH REWARDS. If you’re going to be spending money, you might as well be earning something for it. Previously, I had a credit card with a low limit, high APR, and no rewards. Thankfully, I’m shortly going to be moving to a new card that has great benefits. I look for a credit card with no transaction fee and reward airline miles as I like to travel, but you may look for something different. Thankfully, Bankrate.com offers a solid credit card comparison search. With about an hour of searching, I found a Capital One card that seems to fit me perfectly.
As an added benefit, check out Ramit Sethi’s post on the perks of credit cards.
DON’T WORRY ABOUT THE LITTLE THINGS: CUT THE SPENDING ON THE BIG ONES. Too many finance websites out there tell you to viciously cut the spending on little things. How does that help you save money? Sure, it may help you save money here and there, but for the time put in it’s a waste. Therefore, I use Mint.com to track my spending habits and cut the big things. Looking at the trends section of Mint, I see that the biggest spending habit for me over the past month has been food and alcohol, which accounts for about 33% of my spending habits. Therefore, if I can reduce this by buying groceries and cooking for myself, I’ll save money quickly and easily. This method is much more effective than trying to save money by cutting out coupons for hours a week.
This topic goes much more in-depth, and I recommend Ramit’s website and book if you’re curious for more information. How do you save money?
Additionally, here’s another muscle-gaining update: