How much money should you keep in your checking account?
/ AVP, Pleasant Plains Branch Manager
More money, more problems?
The song lyrics by Notorious B.I.G. might actually hold some truth when it comes to your checking account.
When it comes to savings accounts, many finance experts agree that 3-6 months of living expenses is a good idea for an “emergency fund.” But what about checking, that most of us use every day?
According to a 2019 NerdWallet survey, the average American checking account balance is around $2,900. However, this number could be very different for your unique situation.
Of course, you should have enough money in your account to pay for the things you need. And let’s not forget that keeping your balance above the bare minimum is important for avoiding any monthly fees or overdraft charges.
So why is too much a problem?
There are two main reasons:
- Money in a checking account is easy to access, which means it’s easy to spend unintentionally.
- With a surplus just sitting in your checking account, you’re missing the opportunity to invest in a savings or retirement account that will likely provide higher returns.
When it comes to the cash in your checking account, it’s important to find the right balance for you and your family.
Need a little boost with savings? Be sure to sign up for INB Pocket Change. Any purchase you make with your debit card will be rounded up to the nearest dollar with the extra money going straight into your savings account!
How can you figure out that number?
- Keep track. I know – budgeting can seem so boring! But you won’t have any idea how much you typically spend from your account unless you track it.
- Keep a log or spreadsheet for at least one month to see what your spending is like (two or three months would be better, though!) Don’t forget to factor in seasonal and occasional expenses.
- Add a buffer. Most people don’t spend the same way each month. You’ll want to have a buffer amount in addition to your regular monthly spend so you don’t incur extra fees for overdrawing on your account. Trust me, that can add up! Many experts recommend 30% for your buffer.
Once you figure out how much you typically need to keep in your checking account each month, anything extra can go to another savings vehicle to earn interest.
Covering your daily needs and potential short-term emergencies is most important when it comes to how much money to keep in your account – then you can watch your savings grow to meet future financial goals!