7 simple ways to save money with your checking account Learn how spending with your checking account can be the secret to building savings. January 13, 2023 You might think of saving and spending as complete opposites. Money either comes into or out of your account. But when managed the right way, one can end up being the yin to the other’s yang. To get your saving and spending habits to complement each other, you only have to look as far as your checking account. Richard D. Quinn, founder of a personal finance blog, says the majority of Americans think they don’t have enough money to save—even when they do. “Virtually everyone can find money to save, and it’s not necessary to go through complicated budget calculations,” he says. You can avoid the tricky number crunching and find ways to save money with your checking account by evaluating how you spend and taking advantage of features that can help you grow your savings. What are the best ways to save while using a checking account? Try these tips to save money with your checking account to build a cash cushion: 1. Pick the right checking account Checking accounts aren’t created equal. If you’re looking for ways to save money with your checking account and are a frequent debit card user, consider picking an account that rewards you for your purchases. Discover Cashback Debit, for example, allows you to earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in qualifying debit card purchases each month.1 Maxing out your cashback earnings monthly could yield $360 in rewards annually. Deposit that cash into a high-yield savings account, and you’ve accelerated your savings just through smart spending. If you’re all about rewards, one of the biggest tips to save money with your checking account is knowing the guidelines before you open your account. “You need to understand your rewards program,” says Dave Rathmanner, founder and CEO of a sports betting education website. “You need to know what the rewards are for, whether there are limits on the amount of rewards you can earn and how those rewards are earned.” “Think of your ability to earn cash back solely as a way to generate savings. Don’t allow yourself to spend your cashback.” 2. Sweep rewards to savings When determining how to save money with a checking account, spend time upfront planning how—and when—you’ll use your rewards. Letting your cashback linger in your checking account could tempt you to spend or splurge, even if saving is your true goal. “Think of your ability to earn cash back solely as a way to generate savings,” says Dan Wesley, founder of a consumer finance education site and personal loan matching service. “Don’t allow yourself to spend your cashback.” Easier said than done? Not if you set up an automatic transfer of your rewards from checking to savings as a way to save money with your checking account. Knowing how often cash rewards are credited to your account can help you put your savings on autopilot. 3. Double up on cashback If you’re looking for a tip to save money with your checking account and you’ve combined your finances with your other half, encourage your partner to open a rewards checking account of their own. It can be an easy way to rack up more rewards—and more savings. For added rewards earning power, you could consider using a cashback rewards credit card to cover purchases once you hit your checking account rewards earning limit for the month. Just remember, if you’re using credit to earn cash back, charge only what you can afford to pay off in full to avoid paying interest. 4. Match reward spending to your budget Earning cash back on debit card purchases can jumpstart your savings, but you still have to be mindful of what you’re spending if you want to learn how to save money with a checking account. “You need to consider whether what you have to do to earn rewards will be financially worth it in the long run,” Rathmanner says. “There’s no point in spending an extra $100 at the grocery store to earn cash back if you aren’t actually going to use everything you’re buying.” 5. Pay yourself the way you pay your bills One of the secrets of how to save money with a checking account is to create a budget for how you’ll spend your income each month. While your budget should include room for your regular expenses—rent, bills, food, and transportation—it should also include a line item for the cash you want to save. Otherwise, you may find the months come and go with everything in your checking account spent. “If you pay it like a bill, saving becomes much easier,” Wesley says. “And if you don’t spend as much as you budgeted for, avoid splurging with the extra cash and just save it instead.” 6. Automate your savings Quinn says the key to saving is sticking to it and avoiding excuses for not saving. That’s why automating your finances is one of the best ways to save money with your checking account, he adds. With automation, you don’t have to remember to move money over to savings, nor will you be tempted by untouched funds that are sitting around in your checking account. Start automating your finances by linking your checking account to your savings account and scheduling a recurring transfer each payday. Checking with cash back and no monthly fees Learn More Discover Bank, Member FDIC You can also set up automatic transfers from checking to other types of savings vehicles, like an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or a certificate of deposit (CD). 7. Start a savings challenge Budgeting and automating are straightforward ways to save money with your checking account, but you could also boost your savings by challenging yourself with a little creativity. Mentally round up debit card transactions to the next ten-dollar increment, for example, and roll the difference into savings. If you spend $42.38 with your debit card on groceries, round up to $50.00 and put the other $7.62 into savings. To do this, log in to online or mobile banking to check debit transactions daily or weekly, and add up the ‘rounded’ amount to be transferred to savings. You could also find an app to help you manage your money that rounds up your debit transactions and automatically moves money into savings for you. Another tip to save money with your checking account is to treat savings as a reward for sticking to your budget. If eating out is your personal budgeting Achilles heel, for instance, put the money you’d normally spend on takeout or dinner with friends into savings each time you’re able to resist the temptation to spend on meals out. Seeing your savings account balance grow can be an excellent motivator to stick with the savings habit. (Welcome to the life of a frugal foodie!). “If you pay it like a bill, saving becomes much easier. And if you don’t spend as much as you budgeted for, avoid splurging with the extra cash and just save it instead.” Maintain your savings momentum Figuring out how to save money with a checking account is the first step toward growing your savings. The second is making sure that you’re saving consistently. Setting some goals around saving money can help you stay the course. When setting goals, remember to be specific about what you’re saving for, whether it’s a vacation, a new car, or some rainy day cash for your emergency fund. Choose goals that are realistic and give yourself a time frame for reaching them. Putting these tips to save money with your checking account into practice regularly could bring a big financial payoff over time. Want to learn more about how to save money with your checking account? Start with not paying any fees. Learn how to avoid checking account fees altogether. 1 ATM transactions, the purchase of money orders or other cash equivalents, cash over portions of point-of-sale transactions, Peer-to-Peer (P2P) payments (such as Apple Pay Cash), online sports betting and internet gambling transactions, and loan payments or account funding made with your debit card are not eligible for cash back rewards. In addition, purchases made using third-party payment accounts (services such as Venmo® and PayPal®, who also provide P2P payments) may not be eligible for cash back rewards. Apple Pay® is a trademark of Apple Inc. Venmo and PayPal are registered trademarks of PayPal, Inc. Samsung Pay is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Google, Google Pay, and Android are trademarks of Google LLC. Articles may contain information from third parties. The inclusion of such information does not imply an affiliation with the bank or bank sponsorship, endorsement, or verification regarding the third party or information.