Atlanta Consumers Save Money With Virtual Savings Accounts and Automatic Payments

My piggy bank has served me well, but he's just not cutting it anymore.

It's not that putting money in a jar doesn't work. Socking away my spare change every week actually helped me pay for college. It's just that, in this day and age, we don't really have spare change since we rely on credit and debit cards rather than cash. And that means folks that rely on their change for saving aren't really saving that much anymore.

But there's hope - today there are virtual savings methods to match our virtual spending habits. You might say that they make saving automatic.

Take the Keep the Change program at Bank of America, for instance. When you join, the bank rounds up every purchase made on your debit card to the nearest dollar and puts the "change" into your account. So if you fill your car up with $20.30 worth of gas, you get charged $21 - but that extra 70 cents goes right into your savings. No excuses, no worrying about whether you can afford to save - it just happens automatically. And in small increments that make it feel more affordable.

Of course, the more you save the better. That's where automatic payments can come in handy. The golden is rule is to save 10 percent of every paycheck, but that's easier said than done - unless it happens automatically. Many banks will let you set up a recurring payment from your checking account into your savings account every time you deposit your paycheck. They say what you don't know can't hurt you. If that money doesn't pass through your hands, you're a lot less likely to think about it - and therefore spend it. Worried that 10 percent is too steep? Try something lower. The amount you'll be able to save varies person to person - what matters is that you save something.

If you just can't bring yourself to spare a dime, chances are you've been spending more than you earn -- and now you're in over your head in debt. Bankruptcy might be your ticket to financial freedom. The right bankruptcy plan can lower or even eliminate your debt, depending on your situation. It also has the power to protect your assets from lenders. Learn more about what bankruptcy can do for you when you try a free, no-strings-attached personal debt analysis with an Atlanta bankruptcy attorney. Because lower debt means more money for you every month - and that's no small change.

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