Well, I decided to do something with my checking account balance. Most personal finance people I know have the bare minimum in their checking accounts, keeping as much money as possible in interest bearing accounts/investments or using excess to pay off debts. I’m a bit of a nervous nelly, so I keep more in checking than I need to. I suppose if I watched all of my accounts very closely, I could figure out the minimum amount to keep in there. But I think I just need to pare it down. I’ve decided to do something about that.
I opened a “sub-account” with ING Direct. To be honest, it’s not actually a sub-account at all, it’s a new account with the bank (and I already had a savings account with them). But I hear a lot of people referring to them as sub-accounts. Anyway, I transferred $1000 into my new account (named Down Payment!), and have set up monthly automatic contributions from my lame-o checking to my awesome down payment fund 🙂
Why a down payment fund? Because I realized I have just been saving for the sake of saving, and if I have an actual “goal” in mind (i.e. buying a house), I might be more motivated to save. And, well, my older, married sister just closed on a house today. And that’s pretty darn exciting. I know I don’t want to buy a house just yet, but I don’t want money (or lack thereof) to be the sole reason for my decision in the future. Granted, I’ll probably need a pretty high goal amount. If I want to put 20% down on houses around here (which are at least $250k), I’ll need to stash away $50k. Well, it’s a start!
Yes, the interest rates on savings accounts aren’t what they used to be. But just moving that money to an account that provides some interest, and getting into the habit of putting money towards that big goal in the distance is a good start.
(As always, if you’re interested in opening an account with ING Direct, let me know. I do still have ING referrals. If you open an account with at least $250, you get an extra $25, and I get an extra $10. Free money! Leave me a comment or shoot me an email if you want one!)