How to Save Money: Creating a Strategy

No matter your income, the key to saving money is to create a strategy that works for you. To do this, you’ll need to know a few things:

  • Why do you need to save — what are you trying to achieve?
  • What saving methods make the most sense for you based on your needs and goals?
  • Are there additional ways to increase the amount of money you save?

In this article, we’ll walk through how to answer these questions, and we’ll outline the saving methods available to you through INTRUST Bank, so you can build a saving strategy that fits your life.

Identify your savings goals

A good first step is to determine why you need to save. Saving can be easier and feel more effective when you have clear goals you’re working toward. Consider thinking in terms of short-term and long-term goals so you can identify what’s most realistic for you. Short-term goals can take up to five years to reach, and long-term goals will take more than five years.

Examples of short-term goals

  • Establish an emergency fund. (It’s good to have at least three to six months’ worth of expenses at the ready.)
  • Budget for a tax payment.
  • Save money to invest.

Examples of long-term goals

  • Save for a down payment on a home.
  • Save for your child’s college tuition.
  • Save for your retirement.

Evaluate your needs

Once you’ve identified your goals, there are several questions you’ll want to consider related to your needs.

  • Amount: How much money do I need to save?
  • Timing: When am I going to need the money?
  • Accessibility: Will I need access to the money as I save it?
  • Risk: Do I prefer a low-risk option or a high-risk option with the potential for a higher return?

Accessibility, timing, and risk are often connected. You’ll want to consider all three as you weigh your saving options and the amount you need to save. Be sure to take your time and talk with financial professionals you trust when you need guidance.


Accessibility is the ease with which you can access your money. Let’s use an INTRUST Certificate of Deposit (more on that below) as an example. When you open a Certificate of Deposit, that money is off-limits to you for an agreed-upon term — a few months to a few years — because you’re essentially loaning that money to the bank. The bank pays you interest on that money, so you’ll have more of it when the term ends, but you may not have the option to withdraw any money without paying a penalty. That money isn’t easily accessible. If you need your money to be easily accessible, you may want to consider an INTRUST Regular Savings account or a Money Market account (more on those below). 


Timing, or the length of time you plan to save money, can depend on several factors, including your investment approach, goals, and economic factors (such as changes in interest rates and stock market value). With some saving methods, you control the timeline. With others, you have less control. In general, the longer you save, the likelier it is that you’ll save more money. Asking when you’re going to need the money may help you choose a saving option with an appropriate timeline.


Risk is the safety of your money. An INTRUST Certificate of Deposit, for example, is a low-risk option. It's a safe place to put your money because you choose the term, and you know what the return (money you make) will be. The return on a Certificate of Deposit and other low-risk options, however, is generally lower than the potential return you could make on high-risk options like investing (more on that below).

Investing your money could generate a larger return, but you’re often at the mercy of the stock market on timing. You’ll want to wait and sell your stocks at a time when you’re likely to make money — or you’ll risk losing some or all of your initial investment. There’s no guarantee you’ll make money when investing, which is why it’s considered riskier.

Find options that work for you

Next, you’ll want to evaluate the saving options available to you. Understanding which options best match your needs can help you save money as efficiently as possible and in a way that’s comfortable for you.

Below, we’ve outlined the options we offer at INTRUST Bank along with benefits and considerations. If you’re unsure which option is right for you, we recommend starting with an INTRUST Regular Savings account. As you learn about features, benefits, interest rates, and how to calculate interest earned, you can evaluate if an INTRUST Money Market or Certificate of Deposit account makes sense for you. If you want to learn about investing, INTRUST Financial Services can be a great place to start.

Youth Savings

An INTRUST Youth Savings account is a good option if you’re looking for a safe way to help your child (younger than 18) learn about the benefits of using a bank and the value of saving money. You must have at least $10 to open the account, but after that there is no minimum balance or monthly1 service charge. The account earns variable interest, meaning it can change based on current rates. The interest is calculated daily and is compounded and credited monthly1. It also includes access to online and mobile banking, so you can instantly check the balance. With a Youth Savings account, you can help your child:

  • Learn how to deposit money.
  • Set short-term savings goals and establish positive saving habits.
  • Understand how interest works.
  • Watch their money grow.

A Youth Savings account automatically shifts to an INTRUST Regular Savings account when the youth owner turns 18.

Regular Savings

An INTRUST Regular Savings account helps you keep the money you want to save separate from the money in your checking or spending account. Separating these balances can be a smart financial strategy because:

  • It could help you avoid accidentally dipping into your savings to cover everyday expenses.
  • You can intentionally move money into savings and track your progress.
  • It can help you budget for unplanned expenses such as a car repair or medical emergency.

A savings account is one of the most popular ways to build savings because your funds are safe and easily accessible2. Up to $250,000 is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC) so that in the unlikely event INTRUST goes out of business, you’ll get your money back.

You also earn interest on your money. The interest rate is variable, meaning it can change based on current rates, but the return is generally lower than other saving methods. Because of this, a savings account can be a helpful tool for both short- and long-term goals in which the focus is less on earning as much interest as possible and more on building your savings over time as your budget allows. For example, a savings account can be useful for establishing an emergency savings fund (short-term goal) or saving for a down payment on a home (long-term goal), because you may prefer the convenience of accessible funds while you save.


  • Low risk.
  • Earns variable compound interest.
  • Funds are accessible2.
  • Useful for both short- and long-term goals depending on the goal, desired amount, and timing.


  • Lower return than some Money Market accounts and Certificates of Deposit. Potentially lower return than investing.
  • Must maintain a $300 average collected account balance.

What is average collected account balance?

The average collected account balance is calculated by adding the collected balance in the account for each day of the period and dividing the figure by the number of days in the period. It’s essentially the amount of money you keep in your savings account per monthly1 cycle. When you open your account, make sure you’re ready to start actively saving. Although you can open the account with $100, you must maintain a $300 average collected account balance to avoid the $5 monthly1 service charge. Learn how to deposit money into your account.

Money Market

An INTRUST Money Market account is like a Regular Savings account with a few key differences. Like a Regular Savings account, the interest rate is variable, meaning it can change based on current rates. But Money Market interest rates are also tiered, which generally means the higher your balance, the higher your interest rate. If you maintain a certain threshold balance, you could earn a slightly higher interest rate than a Regular Savings account. Additionally, you receive the convenience of check access2.

An INTRUST Money Market account can be a good option if you’re looking for a low-risk way to earn interest on a sizeable chunk of money while keeping the funds accessible. Some people use Money Market accounts to help budget for more expensive, lump-sum transactions such as yearly tax payments or tuition fees.


  • Low risk.
  • Earns variable compound interest.
  • Opportunity to earn a higher interest rate than a Regular Savings account if you can maintain a certain balance.
  • Funds are accessible2 (includes check access).


  • Similar return as a Regular Savings account depending on balance. Potentially lower return than investing.
  • Must maintain a $5,000 average collected balance to avoid the monthly2 service charge.
  • Monthly2 service charge is $10 if you fall below the minimum balance requirement.
Certificate of Deposit

An INTRUST Certificate of Deposit is money you place in an account for a term (an agreed-upon length of time) without making any withdrawals. The money in this account earns fixed interest based on the length of the term. If you attempt to withdraw your money early, you’ll pay a penalty. At the end of the term, you can withdraw the money or choose to renew for a new term and continue saving.

Depending on the length of your term, you can earn a higher interest rate than an INTRUST Regular Savings account. A Certificate of Deposit can be an easy way to earn extra money if you can afford to set aside money without the ability to access it. It often makes the most sense for long-term saving goals such as a down payment on a home.

A Certificate of Deposit can also complement other saving options. For example, if you are already investing a portion of money in a high-risk option, you may want to also consider placing money into a lower-risk option, such as a Certificate of Deposit, to diversify your portfolio.


  • Low risk.
  • You choose the term.
  • Earns fixed interest based on the term, meaning your rate won’t go down.
  • Generally, the longer the term, the higher the interest rate.


  • Evaluate your needs — particularly the amount of money you want to save, your timeline, and if you can get by without having access to the funds.
  • Rates may vary by bank location. Be sure to calculate the interest you’ll earn before agreeing to a term. This is how you’ll know if a Certificate of Deposit will help you reach your saving goal.
  • Funds are not accessible. You generally cannot make withdrawals without an early withdrawal penalty.
  • In most cases, Certificates of Deposit are automatically renewable and, once the term expires, you have 10 calendar days to withdraw your money, add money, or change the term with no penalty.
Individual retirement account (IRA)

An IRA is an investment account to help you save for retirement. It’s often used by those who may not have access to a 401(k) plan through their employer. However, those who have a 401(k) plan sometimes opt to have both as a combined saving strategy. When you open an IRA, you can contribute money to the account up to the federally allowable amount (which can change from year to year). You then invest that money in potentially high-return assets like stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and more.

There are two types of IRAs: traditional and Roth. The difference is essentially when you want to pay taxes on the money — now or in retirement. With a traditional IRA3, you’re deferring paying taxes, meaning you’re opting to pay taxes when you withdraw that money in retirement. With a Roth IRA3, you’re contributing after-tax dollars (money that has already been taxed), so you won’t be charged taxes when you withdraw your money in retirement. You’ll likely want to speak to a tax advisor to better understand which option makes the most sense for you.


  • Broader investment selection than a 401(k).
  • Specific tax benefits3 depending on the IRA you choose.


  • Know the federal contribution limits. This can change from year to year and is generally lower than a 401(k).
  • Do you expect your tax bracket to be lower or higher in retirement than in the prime of your career? This can depend on how much you plan to save before you retire and how much you plan to withdraw each year when you’re retired to help fund your retirement. The answer may affect whether you choose a traditional IRA3 (pay taxes later) or Roth IRA3 (pay taxes now).

When you invest, you’re committing money now with the expectation of earning more money later. Two common examples of investments are owning a home and buying a company’s stock (investing in the stock market). In this section, we focus on the stock market.

If you want to invest in stocks, you have two options: You can go the do-it-yourself route or you can choose to work with professionals. Maximizing your investment outcomes requires time and know-how. You’ll need to understand your investment goals, the different types of risk, and your risk tolerance. Although it can seem more expensive than going it alone, working with professionals can be beneficial because of their knowledge and the guidance they can provide related to risk, risk tolerance, and other important factors such as portfolio diversification (the mix of investments you choose).

Before you consider investing, it can be good to evaluate your finances. The money you plan to invest should be money you’ve set aside for this purpose. For example, you should not invest money from your emergency savings fund. Instead, you may need to establish a separate short-term savings goal to help you build what you want to invest.

Investing can help you work toward long-term goals such as retirement. Stock prices rise and fall, so it may at times look like you’re losing money in the short term. That’s why many investment professionals will encourage you to be patient and think long-term. For more information on goals-based investing, learn about the financial services we offer.


  • Good for specific long-term savings goals such as retirement funds.
  • Potential for a larger return than Regular Savings Accounts, Money Market Accounts, and Certificates of Deposit.


  • Often high risk. A return is not guaranteed. Your money is not FDIC insured.
  • Stock prices rise and fall. You don’t control the timing or the amount you’ll earn.
  • You can sell your stocks at any time, meaning they’re technically accessible. However, if you don’t sell at the right time, you may be forced to lose some of your initial investment in exchange for accessing your funds.

This information is general in nature and is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal or tax advice. In addition, the information is subject to change and although based upon information that INTRUST considers reliable, is not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. INTRUST makes no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Not FDIC InsuredNo Bank GuaranteeMay Lose Value

Find small ways to save more money

As you enhance your saving strategy, consider evaluating your finances regularly to see if you can free up money you’re spending and reallocate it to savings.

Pay down debt

Payments on things like a car or credit card can be a large portion of many people’s monthly expenses. Making a short-term goal and a plan to pay off manageable debt could help you free up some money that you can put into savings.

Evaluate the amount you’re paying in bills

If you live in an area where multiple companies offer the same service (such as trash and recycling), take a few minutes to browse websites and see if you can find a better rate. Call your current service, tell them you’ve found a company who offers a better rate, and ask if they’ll match it. They might and they might not — but it’s always worth asking. Whether you negotiate a better rate with your current service or switch services for the cheaper rate, calculate what you’ll be saving in costs over the course of year and reallocate that toward one of your savings goals.

Automate your saving

Saving money doesn’t have to be manual. If you have an INTRUST checking or spending account and a savings account, you can set up automatic transfers to and from those accounts. You choose the amount and the frequency (weekly, monthly, etc.). When saving is automatic, it becomes part of your budget. Learn how to transfer money.

This information is general in nature and is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal or tax advice. In addition, the information is subject to change and although based upon information that INTRUST considers reliable, is not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. INTRUST makes no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

  1. Month or monthly is an approximate four (4) week period or cycle, not necessarily a calendar month.
  2. This account allows you to make nine (9) transfers or withdrawals from your account per monthly1 cycle, including preauthorized, automatic or telephone transfers.
  3. Consult your tax advisor about tax benefits and the deductibility of contributions. Visit with a personal banker regarding contribution limits.




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