Using savings accounts the right way

July 01, 2024

Savings accounts are fantastic for stashing your cash. You’ll earn interest (regardless of what the interest rates are doing, because even a little something is, well, a little something), and the money is handy if you need it. But sometimes, the temptation is to use a savings account as an everyday spending account. Here, we’ll walk through why that might not be to your advantage, and what a better alternative might be.


The nuts and bolts of basic accounts

Savings accounts aren’t intended for short-term spending; rather, they’re designed to be used to save for the long term. Unlike a checking account, where you can make unlimited withdrawals, write checks, use your debit card, set up electronic bill payments, etc., your options with a savings account are limited. You can attach it to your checking account in case of overdrafts, and an ATM card is available if you need one for emergency cash withdrawals. And that’s usually the extent of it. Yes, there are types of savings accounts that offer checks, such as a money market account, but that’s not what we’re referring to here. We’re talking about a “regular” savings account — the kind they called a “passbook savings” back in the day. The options are limited because a savings account is designed for saving. Your money is meant to be safely tucked away, on standby for an emergency or working toward your future goals.


Savings are meant to be saved

Generally speaking, banks prefer savers to be careful about how many transfers or withdrawals they make, which is why many banks, including UBT, assess a debit activity fee for each debit transaction in excess of six per month. (In layman’s terms: Most banks let you withdraw or transfer money out of your savings account up to six times each month for free; after that, you’ll be charged a small fee.) However, there’s no limit to the number of deposits you can make into a savings account each month — making the account ideal for long-term accumulation.

Essentially, savings accounts are meant to encourage long-term saving, not short-term spending. It’s best to build — and store — your emergency fund in your savings account, using your checking account for spending. Need more than what you’re earning now for living expenses? Consider transferring what you’ll need for the whole month, or even twice a month, to your checking account and spending from that account instead. You’ll avoid debit activity fees, maintain your savings account for its original intent, and be able to enjoy the flexibility of a checking account and all the perks that come with it.


Make saving automatic

If you have checking and savings accounts with UBT, an easy way to bolster your savings would be to sign up for RoundUp, which attaches to your checking account, rounds your debit card transactions up to the next dollar, and deposits the difference in your savings account. Effortless savings — what could be better?

If you don’t yet have a checking or savings account with UBT, now’s a great time to get started. We’ll give you up to $250* when you open new checking and savings accounts and meet requirements. That’s a pretty nice addition to your savings account — you could even treat yourself to a little something! 

Have questions, or ready to get started? You can open an account online in about five minutes — less time than it takes to figure out what to eat for dinner. Or simply visit the UBT branch nearest you. And of course, if you need help, we’re here for you.

Looking for more information about building your safety net? Check out our Emergency Funds resource center.

  • Personal
  • Managing Your Money
  • Savings

Learning Center articles, guides, blogs, podcasts, and videos are for informational purposes only and are not an advertisement for a product or service. The accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed and does not constitute legal or tax advice. Please consult with your own tax, legal, and financial advisors.

**Checking offer not valid for primary accountholder on existing UBT personal checking account(s). Savings offer not valid for primary accountholder on existing Simply Savings or Simply Savings Student account(s). Offer not valid if existing checking or savings accounts closed within the last 120 days. Receive $100 when you open a Simply Free checking account and complete the following within 90 calendar days of account opening: (1) have $500 in electronic direct deposits posted; and (2) enroll in paperless statements via online or mobile banking. Receive $150 when you open an interest-earning checking account (Simply Free Plus, Simply Free Platinum, or Premium Interest Advantage) and complete the following within 90 days of account opening: (1) have $2,500 in electronic direct deposits posted; and (2) enroll in paperless statements via online or mobile banking. Receive $100 when you open a Simply Savings account and complete the following within 90 days of account opening: (1) maintain a $2,500 balance; and (2) enroll in paperless statements via online or mobile banking. Bonus is credited to your active account within 100 days of account opening if you meet requirements. $1,000 opening deposit required on Simply Free Plus checking accounts. Simply Savings requires a $2,500 opening deposit in new money. Various Annual Percentage Yields (APYs) offered for interest-earning checking accounts based on the account and balance maintained. For example, Simply Free Platinum requires a $100 minimum daily balance to earn .25% APY. Simply Savings earns .50% APY. APYs accurate as of 07/1/2024. Fees may reduce earnings; rates subject to change. Promotion offers limited to one new checking account and one new savings account per person and cannot be combined with other offers. Simply Free Platinum accounts are designed for people ages 50 and over. Premium Interest Advantage is limited to residents of Douglas, Sarpy, and Washington counties in Nebraska. Promotions available 07/1/2024 to 11/22/2024. Member FDIC.