3 Money Tools to Save You From Yourself

by NerdWallet | In Financial Empowerment | 10 October 2017 | Updated on: July 22nd, 2020

Even if you have the best intentions, it’s not always easy to stick to a budget – especially when you have student loans. Thanks to NerdWallet, we have three great strategies to help you stick to a healthy financial regimen.



Dipping into your savings is like fast food: It’s convenient and tempting, and it might leave you a little queasy the next morning.

Doing so can also eat into your financial goals, whether that’s a big trip abroad or a simple emergency fund. You can, however, avoid scratching that spending itch with these tools, which can help keep your savings intact.


1. Certificates of deposit

Certificates of deposit typically provide a better return than standard savings accounts, and they rarely charge monthly fees.

More importantly, CDs encourage you to play keep-away with yourself. When opening a certificate, you decide how long the bank gets to hold on to your money. That’s called the term length. If you want access to that cash before the term is up, the bank will likely charge an early withdrawal penalty, which is typically a certain number of months’ worth of interest.

It might not seem like it, but the bank is doing you a favor. In theory, that penalty should make you think twice before withdrawing money early. This, in turn, helps ensure that money continues earning interest at the bank.


NerdWallet’s CD rates comparison tool


2. Prepaid debit cards

Like most things, though, prepaid debit cards aren’t perfect. Using one won’t boost your credit score, and there’s typically a monthly fee. Still, they’re a solid option for people whose spending habits regularly eat into their savings goals.


3. Checking and savings accounts at separate banks

Despite mobile banking’s redeeming qualities, it is the ultimate bad-decision enabler. Checking account running low before a big night out? A few swipes are all it takes to dip into that vacation fund.

Having a separate savings account at a different bank should make savings-to-checking transfers slightly more tedious, as they can be slower and might incur fees. That’s a good thing in the long run, because it might dissuade you from making those types of transfers. To further bolster your savings, have a portion of your direct deposit go into that account so that cash is stashed away automatically and regularly.


Need multiple savings accounts? Here’s where to go


Although curbing your spending has a lot to do with the decisions you make, the above tools can alleviate some of the pressure. Taking advantage of one or more can help you keep you financially healthy.

Tony Armstrong is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: tony@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @tonystrongarm.

The article “3 Money Tools to Save You From Yourself” originally appeared on NerdWallet.

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