The Serial Spender's Guide to Saving Money

If you struggle with credit card debt while also trying to put money away, you’re not alone.


According to a NerdWallet survey, the average U.S. household with debt owed $15,675 on their credit cards in 2015. Their total household debt? $132,158.1


For those who can’t resist the urge to spend, saving is a tough task. The good news: It doesn’t have to be. Tried-and-true spenders can use these strategies to help reach their savings goals without feeling the pinch.

Direct deposit into savings

Perhaps the most reliable way to save is to establish an account that sends a percentage of your paycheck straight into savings. The benefit here is two-fold: In addition to growing your liquidity, after a few paycheck cycles you likely will not miss those funds since you didn’t see it in your checking account in the first place.


This will require some planning. Start by establishing the amount you want to save (how much will depend on your savings goals and income), then establish a budget to earmark the remaining funds for essentials like rent or mortgage, groceries, gas, and insurance. It might be a good idea to put some money into an “entertainment” bucket so you’re not tempted to abandon your savings strategy.

Put savings into a CD

Unlike savings accounts, which allow you to access your cash fast, certificates of deposit (CDs) offer a higher interest rate for those willing to set aside funds for a set period of time, often between three months and five years. (Returns may vary according to the length of your term.)


Generally, you may need up to $1,000 to establish a CD. Penalty fees may apply should you withdraw your money early.

Set up a retirement account

While having access to immediate cash is important, making sure you have enough money to live on once you stop working is also key. But according to the Economic Policy Institute, the median working-age American couple has saved only $5,000 toward retirement.


You can avoid that by establishing a retirement savings plan now. Options include:

  • Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). Opt for this type of account and you will put money into a fund managed by a financial institution such as a bank. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) limits how much you can put into an IRA each year. And depending on the type of IRA you choose, you may be taxed as you contribute, or as you begin withdrawing your funds. Do note that if you withdraw this money early, you will be assessed a penalty.
  • 401(k)s. These allow you to contribute — and automatically deduct — a set amount of your paycheck each month to your retirement plan. Some employers will match your contribution either on a dollar-for-dollar or percentage basis. Like with an IRA, the IRS limits how much you can contribute to a 401(k) in a year.

More information

We are committed to helping you bank better by providing personalized solutions. Our dedicated colleagues can help you find the right product to match your needs. To learn more about how to open a new Citizens Bank savings account, please call 1-877-360-2472, visit us online, or Ask a Citizen at your nearest Citizens Bank Branch.


1. The 2015 NerdWallet survey results came from an 11-question survey aimed at understanding credit card payments habits and feelings toward different types of debt. It was conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet.


Disclaimer: Views expressed may not necessarily reflect those of Citizens Bank. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only as a service to the public, and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel, nor does it constitute advertising or a solicitation. You should do your own research and/or contact your own legal or tax advisor for assistance with questions you may have on the information contained herein.