Having a savings account is essential when you have children, or thinking about starting a family. Experts say you should be saving at least 10% of your household income. For most, that is easier said than done. And, if you think saving is difficult, or impossible, for someone with a lower income, consider using these 3 passive ways to save.

1. “Keep the Change” Programs

Most larger banks have some sort of “keep the change” program you can take advantage of. These programs, essentially, round up your total charge on your debit card, and puts the change into a linked savings account. For instance, if your purchase was $1.83, major retail banks like Bank of America, Chase, or U.S. Bank will deposit .17 cents into your savings account, making your total charge $2.00. Participating in “keep the change” or similar programs is a quick and painless way to save. The small amount of change from each purchase won’t put a huge dent in your budget, and the change will quickly add up in your savings account. This program is a great way to passively save a few hundred dollars a year.

Use this Bank of America spare change calculator to see how much you could potentially be saving each year, without ever having to think about it.

2. Automatic Transfer Accounts

Setting up an automatic transfer from your checking to savings account every month is another easy passive way to save. There are a few different ways you can utilize the auto transfer. First, you can transfer a certain amount each month, from your checking to your savings account. You can set up this auto transfer through your retail bank. Regardless of the amount, big or small, an automatic transfer each month will make a difference in your savings account at the end of the year. Because consistency is key to saving.

Another auto transfer method is having a percentage or specific dollar amount be deposited into your savings account each paycheck. When you set up a direct deposit through your work, they will give you the option to deposit a certain precent or dollar amount into separate accounts. Setting up an automatic 10% deposit into your savings each paycheck will get you to your goal quickly, and effortlessly.

If your job offers a 401(k) take advantage of it as a savings opportunity as well. A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by your employer. It lets you as the employee, save and invest a piece of your paycheck before taxes are taken out. Taxes aren’t paid until the money is withdrawn from the account, at retirement. Many employers will match your contribution up to a certain percentage as well, giving you the opportunity to easily double your invest!

I will be going into a more in-depth discussion about retirement accounts in a future post, so stay tuned, but in the meantime, you can read more about 401(k) at the Wall Street Journal.

3. Cash Back Apps

If you’re an online shop addict like myself, the cash back option is for you! If you shop online even a few times a month, this is a no brainer option to get cash back on everyday purchases.

Apps like Ebates, and Dosh will literally give you free money, just for shopping through their website. I do my regular, everyday shopping online already, so now I just log into my Ebates account, and use their search engine to get to my preferred shops. They have hundreds of stores affiliated with them, all offering a variety of cash back percentages. Each quarter they send me a check for the amount of cash I earned. And guess what I do with that, SAVE!

*disclosure – This post contains affiliate links, so if you decide to purchase and/or sign up through my link, at no cost or extra effort on your part, I may receive a small commission. Thanks so much for the help!

Dosh is a similar app, but you will have to link your credit or debit card to utilize this one. There are dozens of cash back apps, so find whichever one works best for you and your spending habits, and sign up. You are missing out on free money if you don’t. And don’t forget to save your quarterly rewards. Ebates is a great, easy, free and passive way to help you save!

Saving for a rainy day, a large purchase or for your kid’s college shouldn’t be such a hassle. If done smart and effectively, saving can be done passively, and be a painless yet fulfilling experience. Try using these three ways one at a time, until you can do all three simultaneously and watch your account grow! Thank me later.

If you already have a healthy savings account, share with us how you got it there, and any other tips you found successful. If you’re just starting out, let me know what your savings goal is for the year. Good luck, and happy SAVINGS ladies!

With love,

Mommi Brittanie