*This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure for more info.
When you’re in debt or struggling to stay on budget, the thought of managing multiple bank accounts is intimidating. Rightfully so! However, I’m here to tell you that it will make your financial life so much easier!
Before separating my expenses into different bank accounts my budgeting was a hot mess. It wasn’t the fact that I didn’t have a budget, I had one, but I could never stay on track!
If you always find yourself scratching your head because you don’t know where your money is going then consider using multiple bank accounts to stay on budget! Here’s how I use them:
Does it cost?
Honey, if your bank is charging you for multiple accounts then hit the ground running!
Most financial institutions offer free basic checking and savings accounts which do just fine with getting the job done. Some free accounts even come with additional perks like cash back rewards from debit card purchases. The interest rates may not be the most competitive, but I refuse to pay a monthly fee!
Before opening your accounts, be sure to understand the minimum balance requirements. Some may not have a minimum balance while others, mostly savings accounts, must have at least $5 in it.
Look over other account information such as overdraft fees, transfer limits, point-of-sale limits, etc.
Benefits of having multiple bank accounts
They keep you on budget
A budget consists of multiple categories, as well as how much money is to be contributed to each one. You can determine if you are staying on budget judging by the funds available in each account.
Simply add the amount you’ve budgeted to each account and let it do the work for you.
I like to have a portion of my paycheck direct deposited into each one. If I budget $160 for gas, then $80 from each paycheck is deposited into that account. Recently, I’ve taken it up a notch and started using the cash envelope system as well which has been saving me over $140 a month!
They stop you from overspending
When your money is all in one place it’s difficult to figure out what goes where. You may miscalculate and wind up pulling from funds that belonged to a different expense. Or worse, you may overdraft your account and get hit with a lovely fee! Perfect.
With multiple accounts, if you have an uh-oh moment then at least you know that the other categories of your budget weren’t affected.
For example, if you have an account strictly for entertainment and you have a little too much fun then your bills account is left untouched. You may be sitting at home watching paint dry until your next payday, but it won’t be in the dark due to an unpaid light bill.
Related reading to check out next:
- Save or Pay off Debt? Here’s Which Makes the Most Sense for Your Journey.
- 7 Tips to Improve Your Credit Score 100 Points in One Year
- The “Broke” Girl’s Guide to Saving Money
- The Simple Trick to Paying off Credit Card Debt Fast!
- How to Pay off Thousands in Debt as a Single Mom. Yes, Even on a Low Income!
- How Much Money You Should Have Saved at Your Age
- Simple Lifestyle Changes Moms Can Make to Save Thousands – Without Feeling Deprived!
- How the Cash Envelope System Keeps You from Bulldozing Your Budget!
- Simple Tips to Create a Bomb Budget When You’re Paid Bi-weekly
- 5 Telltale Signs That Your Budget is Failing! + How to Fix It!
- 4 Crazy Simple Ways to Reduce Monthly Expenses – I Found an Extra $350!
They keep you out of debt
We all know that most debt comes from poor financial management. I’m guilty, and so are millions of others.
When your money is all jumbled into one account, unless you’re some mathematical genius, you don’t really know exactly what portion of your balance goes where.
You can crunch numbers all day long, but if you’re making multiple transactions using one bank account then you may be unknowingly using money that you shouldn’t.
Sometimes we make purchases that take a few days to post so we’re strutting around thinking we have more money than we do. Then, when that transaction finally clears we’re left with a catastrophe!
What happens when you overspend and need money fast? You dip into your overdraft, use up credit cards, or get trapped into a personal loan. You’ll wind up owing money to others, and when the next month rolls around you’re right back to needing extra cash again.
You can easily keep track of your spending
At this point you may be thinking, I don’t have time to keep track of multiple bank accounts!
I’m telling you that if I can do it then anyone can. I’m extremely scatterbrained and would forget my head if it weren’t on my neck! The crazy thing about using multiple bank accounts to stay on budget is that keeping track of your spending is actually a breeze.
How is that? Because you know what you’ve contributed to each account as well as what the money is to be used for.
The point of multiple accounts is to be strategic about your money. If your car payment is $250, then you know that is how much will be added to the account and taken out. No surprises.
What not to do when you have multiple accounts
I won’t lie and make it sound like you will never run into any problems when you have more than one bank account.
When I was getting into the swing of things I definitely made a few mistakes.
Don’t mix up accounts
I like to use credit cards whenever I shop so that I get cash back. Sometimes I would withdraw funds from the wrong bank account and nearly have a heart attack the next morning.
This is just one of those things you have to watch for because it’s easy to misread an account number or use the wrong card.
Don’t become a transfer lunatic
Online transfers are a wonderful thing, but they can also get you into trouble.
Continuously moving funds from one bank account to another is indicative of poor financial management. You spent too much money from one account so you’re using another account as a back-up.
By pulling too much money from an account you can wind up shorting yourself when another transaction comes through. You’re combining both accounts in a sense, although the point is to keep them separated.
Banks also have limits on the number of transfers you can make in a month, mostly on savings. Going over that limit can result in fees.
My seven bank accounts and those you should consider:
Checking account #1: Bills account
My first checking account serves as my ‘bills account’. Here, a portion of my paycheck is direct deposited.
All of my bills are on auto-draft, meaning that they’re automatically deducted (cause I’m scatterbrained remember?) so I don’t have a debit card. This account is kind of like a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing.
Checking account #2: Gas & groceries account
This account funds my gas and groceries. I budget $150 every two weeks for my groceries so I take that out in cash as soon as it’s deposited. This leaves just my gas money, so I’m back down to one particular expense.
Taking out the grocery money makes it a lot easier to determine how much I have to fill up my tank.
Checking account #3: Fun/entertainment account
Any remaining funds from my paycheck get deposited into this account as spendable income. I can do as I please with this money knowing my other bills and financial duties are taken care of.
Checking account #4: Blog account
This account is used strictly for my brand. All of my earnings are deposited here and all expenses are withdrawn from the funds.
Savings account #1: Basic savings
My first savings account is just your basic savings. I contribute a little sum-sum to this every two weeks to help create financial stability.
Savings account #2: Emergency savings
My second savings account is my emergency savings. You should aim to have at least $1000 saved to prepare for a financial emergency.
This account ensures I have enough money on hand to handle the unknown without having to dip into my other accounts.
Savings account #3: Sinking funds
A sinking fund is a savings account set up for a specific expense. It’s different from a regular savings because you know exactly how much you’re saving and what it is to be used for.
Currently, I use the money-saving app Digit for all of my sinking funds. This app saves your spare change so you’re saving without actually having to do anything! Just link the account you wish to use and Digit will analyze your spending behavior to determine how much it can safely set aside for you. It’s backed by a no over-draft guarantee and if you sign up using this link you can try it free for 30 days!
I like to take the smarter not harder approach when it comes to my money, which is why I started using multiple bank accounts to stay on budget. If you’re struggling to get your budgeting life together, consider giving multiple bank accounts a try and grab my FREE BUDGET PRINTABLE!
My Current Faves!
Break up with Debt online course. This free course is for those who are ready to destroy debt but don’t exactly know how to go about it.
Here are some things you’ll learn:
- Learn how to identify and stop money leaks that are hindering your ability to pay off debt
- Learn three quick ways to squeeze more money from your budget to beef up your debt payments
- I’ll teach you the top three things that have allowed me to:
- Stay out of the “yo-yo effect”. This is when you lower your balances but turn around and run them right back up!
- Smash through my financial goals
- Easily turn making debt payments into an unconscious habit
Personal Capital– Personal Capital is a money-management app that allows you to manage all of your finances under one log-in. Through this app, you can see your net worth, account balances, transactions, and stay on track for retirement all for free. Check out my review here!