Open a checking account that works for you
Don’t have a checking account? You will very shortly after reading this. There are plenty of checking account options out there, it’s about finding the right one for you. Typically, when you open a checking account, they’ll require you to have a minimum balance or make a minimum initial deposit. Some banks don’t, but this is pretty common so don’t be freaked out when this is chucked your way. There are plenty of options where the minimum balance is minimally terrifying, like $100. Even better, there’s a lot of online checking account options that have no fees and no minimums. If this is your first checking account, one of these are probably your best bet.
How much should you keep in your checking account?
If you’re able, a good general rule of thumb is to have one or two months worth of income in your checking account. This way, you’re never caught by surprise and you’ll always have enough to pay your bills or go out to your favourite restaurant. However, this isn’t always entirely realistic for everyone, what do we look like, Warren Buffett? Still, if you can pull this off, you’ll feel a lot better about your financial situation. Otherwise, it’s good to have a little over at least one month's expenses at all times. This will help you avoid the two grim reapers of college students everywhere: overdraft fees and preauthorization charges. Let’s talk about these two and how you can avoid them:
Overdraft Fees: Let’s be real, sometimes your bank balance might get close to zero. It’s not ideal, but it happens. The worst part about this is when something forgettable is charged to your account, like a Netflix subscription or automatic bill pay, and your account is overdrafted. When this happens, you’ll get an overdraft fee and have to pay even more money to dig yourself out of the hole. In short, overdraft fees suck gigantic ass. By having enough money in your bank account to cover all your monthly expenses, you can avoid this. Also, having an app like Cleo to remind you of your balance and let you know when money is coming out is a big help too.
Preauthorizations: Preauthorizations happen when a business, like a gas station, holds some of your money up until the transaction clears. They usually hold a decent amount more than you actually spent, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to figure out your bills for the month. Obviously all of this isn’t taken out of your account, but it’s still held up in the meantime. When you have enough money in your bank account, the annoyance of preauthorizations can mostly be ignored. Mostly.
Keep a savings account too
Having a checking account is great, but if you have some extra money in your bank balance every month, it’s a good idea to have a separate savings account as well. This way all of your money isn’t tied up in one place and this way you gradually build up a financial nest egg. So all of these tips are easier said than done, right? Wrong. Thank God. You can set up savings with Cleo.
Stop ignoring your balance
Perhaps the simplest advice we can give here is literally to check on your bank balance regularly. The easiest way to do this is to use your bank's app if they have one, which nowadays is pretty standard for most banks. If you don’t have an app for your bank, you can log on to your account on your bank's website, use an ATM to ask for your balance, call your bank, and even set up text alerts for when you have a low balance. Of course, what’s even easier than doing all that is simply using the services of Cleo.
Keep your bank balance… balancing. With Cleo.
Saving and budgeting has never been less boring. When you use Cleo, you’ll get savings advice, budgeting help, and the occasional loving kick up the *ss. With Cleo’s help, you’ll never have to second-guess your bank account balance. Just give Cleo what she needs and she’ll keep track of everything – no touching your money, just looking at it from above and figuring it the hell out. Next thing you know, paying bills will be a breeze and you’ll know exactly how much you have left for that extra large pizza you’ve been craving. Ok, so paying bills will still suck because, well they’re bills, but at least you’ll have enough money for them. Download Cleo today and get your financial life together.