My middle school education consisted of a lot of “visual aides.” In lieu of classroom time, the entire grade would pour into the auditorium to watch something that would allegedly enhance our education. This practice was so common that teachers between the grades fought over auditorium time, each defending the necessity of the movie or … Continue reading “How My Environmentalism Serves My Frugality”
How Much Emergency Fund is Enough? An emergency fund is sometimes called a rainy day fund. Rainy days are very common here in Vancouver. We can all agree that an emergency fund is a good idea. However, how much emergency fund is enough can often be a grey area in the personal finance space. […]
The post North American Savings Bank High Rate Savings Account Review – Is It Right for You? appeared first on Club Thrifty.
This NASB High Rate Savings Account review will walk you through how the account works, ways to use it, and who its best for.
North American Savings Bank (NASB) is a full-service bank operating out of Kansas City, Missouri. NASB has 11 branches, 3 mortgage offices, and 50 ATMs, but you don’t need to reside in Kansas City to bank there. Product offerings include checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit, money markets, and IRA accounts. It also offers mortgage lending.
You can open accounts online, and the bank’s robust online and mobile platforms mean you can access your accounts from anywhere.
Why should you consider North American Savings Bank? Because some of its savings accounts pay higher rates than other traditional brick-and-mortar banks. In fact, it offers a high-yield savings account that pays a lot more than most banks – as long as you maintain a balance of at least $50,000.
Let’s take a look at how NASB’s High Rate Savings Account works.
NASB High Rate Savings Account at a Glance
- Earn 1.97% APY on balances of $50,000 to $5,000,000 (fixed for 6 months)
- No monthly service charges
- Free online withdrawals
- Free withdrawals at NASB or U.S. Bank ATMs
- FDIC insurance on savings up to $250,000
- Online and mobile banking services, including digital check deposits
- Open an account here
What is the NASB High Rate Savings Account?
The North American Savings Bank High Rate Savings Account is an FDIC-insured high-yield savings account for large balances. The current APY on account balances between $50,000 and $5,000,000 is 1.97%, though the rate is variable and is subject to change. Account balances under $50,000 earn 0.10% APY.
The NASB High Rate Savings Account is just a regular savings account that pays a higher-than-normal interest rate. Your funds aren’t locked in as they would be with a certificate of deposit (CD) and it is FDIC insured. Unlike some other online high-yield savings accounts, the NASB account includes optional ATM access.
What I Love About the NASB High Rate Savings Account
High Interest Rate Without Locking You In
The NASB High Rate Savings Account offers a high interest rate on large balances. The (up to) 1.97% APY is one of the best rates available on a savings account.
You might be wondering why anyone would want to earn 1.97% APY on $50,000. Couldn’t you get better returns by investing in the market? Well, sometimes. But there are plenty of situations in which a low-risk short-term investment makes more sense.
One example might be someone who is planning to make a large down payment on a home in a few months. It likely wouldn’t be appropriate to invest the funds in the market since that would introduce risk you wouldn’t have time to recover from. It also wouldn’t make sense to lock the money into a CD, since the funds would be required in a few months.
At the same time, it would be a shame to forfeit interest earnings on such a large sum. This is where the NASB High Rate Savings Account shines. It pays a competitive interest rate while keeping the funds liquid with (mostly) unrestricted access. You get the conveniences of a bank account without having to accept the measly rates typical of many traditional banks.
Another benefit of the account is that it’s FDIC insured. FDIC insurance covers $250,000 per depositor and per insured institution for each account ownership type. That means if the High Rate Savings Account is your only sole-owner product with NASB, up to $250,000 is insured.
That means $250,000 is protected in the unlikely event the bank goes under. If that were to happen, you would be reimbursed. That makes the NASB High Rate Savings Account a nearly risk-free account – up to $250,000, anyway.
Convenient Access With No Monthly Fees
The NASB High Rate Savings Account comes with minimal fees. There is no monthly fee and no deposit fee. Plus, online transfers to NASB or to external accounts are free using online banking. You can even withdraw funds from an ATM for free, provided you use an NASB or U.S. Bank ATM. If you have checks to deposit, you can deposit them digitally using the NASB mobile banking app.
Earn up to 1.97% APY on your savings – Grab one of the best rates around at NASB with their High Rate Savings Account. Learn more here.
Where the NASB High Rate Savings Account Falls Short
Let’s be honest: This account targets a small percentage of the population. You need $50,000 to open the account, which is more than most people have lying around.
Yes, you can hold this account with a smaller balance if you withdraw a portion of your funds after opening the account. But once your balance drops below $50,000, the interest rate shifts from a competitive 1.97% APY to a paltry 0.10% APY. Needless to say, that’s nothing to get excited about, and there are plenty of other banks that offer comparable rates.
It’s also worth noting that NASB only has brick-and-mortar branches in Missouri. The convenience of online and mobile banking means this won’t be a significant drawback for many, but there are instances when it could be frustrating.
Another drawback is that, although the funds held in the NASB High Rate Savings Account are accessible online any time, there is a withdrawal cap of $250,000 per 30-day period. Most people probably will not hold that much in their account. However, if you do plan to hold a balance larger than that, be aware that you won’t be able to withdraw it all at once. This could pose a problem if you need quick access.
Fees on this account are minimal, but a $30 closure fee applies if you close the account within 90 days of opening. So, if your balance is around $50,000 and you close your account, that fee could negate most of your interest earnings. The way around this is to keep the account open for at least 90 days, even if you need the funds sooner. Just leave a tiny balance to keep it open and avoid the $30 fee.
With these limitations in mind, the NASB High Rate Savings Account is best for someone who wants to park a large balance in a high-yield account for short-term goals.
How to Open an NASB High Rate Savings Account
You can easily open an NASB High Rate Savings Account online. You’ll need to provide your name, address, contact info, driver’s license, and Social Security number. Standard stuff. The application also asks for your employment status, income, and living situation, including rent or mortgage costs.
You’ll need to provide your current bank’s info to facilitate funding your new account. That means the bank’s routing number and account number where your money currently lives. That info is printed on your checks, if you have them, and should also be available through your online banking portal if you’ve already gone digital. If you’re not sure, it’s best to contact your bank to make sure you get it right.
You will need to deposit a minimum of $50,000 to open the account. You don’t need to maintain a $50,000 balance to keep the account open, but remember that if your balance drops below that point, your interest rate will drop to 0.10% APY. Holding $49,000 at 0.10% APY wouldn’t be a smart move.
Once your account is open, you can download the mobile banking app for iOS or Android to enjoy convenient, on-the-go access to your new account.
How to Use the NASB High Rate Savings Account
The NASB High Rate Savings Account is just that – a savings account. It’s not designed to be your day-to-day transaction account. That means you won’t be using it for point-of-sale transactions or routine bill payments.
Deposits to the account are always free, as are online withdrawals — even when transferring funds to another bank.
If you need ATM access, you can request a card from NASB. Withdrawals are free at NASB ATMs, but these are only located in Missouri. Luckily, NASB partners with U.S. Bank to offer free withdrawals at U.S. Bank ATMs as well. A $3 fee applies at any other ATM. If there are no NASB or U.S. Bank ATMs near you, you can transfer the funds for free using online banking and then go to your regular ATM.
You can access your account anywhere using online banking or the NASB mobile banking app. With the app, you can deposit checks into your account remotely, eliminating a trip to a brick-and-mortar branch or ATM.
NASB High Rate Savings Account: The Verdict
I view this as a niche account. It’s for a specific type of customer and it serves that customer well. People outside this niche won’t reap the benefits. Beginning savers with starting balances under $50,000 will only earn 0.10% APY and are better off with an account that would reward you for saving.
However, if you are in the enviable position of having more than $50,000 in non-tax-deferred savings and will need those funds in the short term, the NASB High Rate Savings Account may be the perfect place to park them.
The highly competitive 1.97% APY variable rate paired with flexible and convenient access and FDIC insurance make this account an ideal short-term solution for large balances.
Earn more with NASB – If you need a short-term place to stash $50,000 or more, the High Rate Savings Account at NASB earns more than a traditional savings account. Learn more here.
The post North American Savings Bank High Rate Savings Account Review – Is It Right for You? appeared first on Club Thrifty.
Your heating bill can be an unpleasant surprise during the cooler months of the year. Not every person or a house owner can afford to have an internal heating system working for them 24/7.
People like to save as much as they can from everywhere, be it food or water. For those with a fixed income, it can be extremely hard to save at the end of the month because of inflation and rising prices.
In the coldest regions of the world, heating is basic necessity, but heating can be very expensive. Learning how to save a few bucks in small but effective ways can save you a lot of money. There are a few practical steps that you can take to save on your heating bill.
1. Regulate Your Thermostat
The thermostat controls the temperature in an HVAC system that cools or warms the air. You can reduce your heating bills by making a few changes in the way you use your thermostat.
For example, you can reduce your thermostat by a few degrees before you sleep. Since air temperature can impact your sleep quality, and people tend to sleep better in a cool environment, lowering your thermostat can actually help you sleep better and reduce your heating bill.
The easiest and least expensive approach to bring down your warming expenses is to turn down the heat. Rather than wrenching up the indoor regulator to 72°F, keep it at a consistent 68°F or underneath and dress for the climate.
By bringing down the indoor regulator one single degree somewhere in the range of 60°F and 70°F, you can spare 5 percent on your heating bill.
You can also reduce your thermostat when you are not at home to avoid wasting energy by heating an empty house. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat that is easy to control.
2. Benefit from Natural Light
Keeping your windows uncovered during the day lets natural light into your home or office. This can heat your building naturally for a few hours each day, but remember to close your blinds or curtains at night to retain your indoor temperature.
Additionally, clinical research shows that vitamin D is essential for your health to maintain healthy bones and reduce the risk of fractures. Exposing your skin to sunlight indoors during the early hours of the day can help your body to make the vitamin D that it needs in addition to reducing your heating bill.
3. Check Your Insulation
Your home’s insulation, a layer that is built into your building to keep your indoor air, can have a big impact on your heating bill. Insulation helps keep the warm air inside and the cold air outside.
In a home with damaged or insufficient insulation, the HVAC system has to work harder to maintain a specific temperature, which leads to a higher heating bill during the winter months. Checking your insulation regularly and making any necessary repairs can reduce your heating costs.
Water damage, unusually high energy bills, or pests can be indicators of faulty insulation. Sealing your chimney flue when you are not using it is one of the many things that you can do to improve your home’s insulation.
4. Maintain Your Heating Unit
The efficiency of your heating system can also impact how much you need to spend to heat your home. Hiring a regular HVAC service to maintain your system and perform any necessary repairs or installations can reduce your heating bill in the long term. Additionally, remember to clean your vents and radiators, and avoid blocking them with heavy furniture or rugs to maintain their performance.
Even though all the above-mentioned points cover the technology aspects, here are different types of insulations that should be added to reduce the heating bills as well as save money.
Wearing proper clothes like warm jackets and sweaters can keep the heat, and you would be warm enough to not need so much heat inside or even outside the house, which would automatically save money.
You can use these techniques to start reducing your heating costs. While some of these methods do require an initial investment such as insulation, this can be offset by the long-term savings on your heating bills. So, gear up to save on your next bill!
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Saving for life’s most important things doesn’t need to be as complicated as it sounds, especially when you have an app at your fingertips that makes the process simple and fun.
One of the most crucial elements in saving money is giving that money purpose. When we save for a reason, we’re much more likely to stick with it. Setting goals is what makes us human.
And frankly, that’s true of virtually anything we do in life.
Going to the gym every day gets easier when our goal is to lose 25 pounds before a wedding. Taking night classes is easier to stomach when we need those classes to get a promotion.
Goals make life easier, so why should saving money be any different?
Dobot was built to help you visualize your goals and to make it super simple to start saving for them. Dobot makes saving money easy by using the power of automation.
Imagine not having to lift a finger to meticulously meet every one of your savings goals.
How Dobot Works to Save Money
Dobot helps you and your family save by visualizing your goals and then makes saving easy by automating the entire process. Just connect your checking account, and Dobot goes to work.
And don’t worry. Dobot is 100% free to use.
Key savings features of Dobot include:
- Smart Savings – Dobot does all the work. Every few days, Dobot will calculate “safe savings amounts” and automatically move small amounts of money into your Dobot savings.
- Scheduled Savings – You set your schedule. Just select how much and how often you’d like to save, and Dobot will take care of it automatically.
Save On Your Own – You are always free to save by transferring funds directly into your Dobot savings. Open the app and ‘Add Money’ from your goals, or just send a text like “Save 20” and Dobot will take care of the transfer for you.
The process is simple. To use Dobot, you’ll need to be 18 years of age or older with a checking account from a U.S. financial institution with a valid Social Security or U.S. tax ID number and a current U.S. mailing address.
5 Steps To Using Dobot
Step 1: Download The App
After downloading the app to your phone, create your Dobot account and establish your goals (with photos!). Then, connect your checking account. Simply select your bank from a list of thousands of supported banks, enter your credentials, and you’ll be on your way.
You’re only able to connect a single checking account to comply with anti-money laundering regulations, so keep that in mind when you choose what checking account to connect to Dobot’s app.
Dobot is available for Apple as well as Android.
Dobot and the D Dobot mark are registered trademarks of Fifth Third Acquisition Holdings, LLC.
App Store is a registered service mark of Apple, Inc. Google Play is a registered trademark of Google LLC.
Step 2: Set Up Your Savings Goals
Your goals can include virtually anything, such as saving for your future wedding, a nice vacation, a brand new car or a shiny new computer. Heck, just building up an emergency fund for a rainy day (that’s smart!). Anything that you’d like to save money for is fair game.
You’re not boxed in. Your goals are entirely up to you.
Use Dobot’s “group savings goal” feature to let multiple people – like family or friends, save for the same goal. This feature works great to let a group of people save for larger family vacations and other goals that include more than just you. Save as a group and reach your goal faster.
For example, let’s assume you’re saving up for a trip to Hawaii together with several other friends who use the Dobot app. Dobot will track each person’s contribution and how close they are to reaching their savings goal.
Here’s an example of what that might look like:
Step 3: Decide How Much You’d Like To Save
Typically, Dobot users save between $5 and $25 each time.
Use Dobot’s Smart Savings feature to let the app look for clever opportunities to automatically save every few days, or set up a savings schedule on your own for more granular control.
If you’d rather have complete control over each contribution, Dobot allows you to manually control your savings process by letting you transfer funds yourself whenever you like.
It usually takes about 2 business days to transfer money if the transfer request is initiated before 6 pm ET. Once the money is transferred, it’s immediately available to be withdrawn at any time.
Step 4: Get Regular Updates About Your Savings Goals
You’ll receive a weekly text message at the end of the week with how much money you saved that week, and you always have access to your savings activity straight from the app.
You’ll also receive a monthly email highlighting your savings activity. Additionally, you can text ‘Savings’ to Dobot at any time to receive your account balance.
Step 5: Withdraw Money At Any Time
As I’ve mentioned before, you’re not boxed in when saving money with Dobot. Dobot users can always withdraw money straight from within the app, or you can text Dobot with a message to ‘Save’ or ‘Withdraw’. They make sure your money gets where it needs to be.
It’s a simple and easy process.
If you’re wondering if Dobot is safe, then don’t worry. Dobot uses a variety of measures to anonymize and encrypt your personal information before it’s stored on their secure servers, and they never store bank account log-ins. Your Dobot savings are kept in a bank with all its inherent protections and is FDIC-insured.
Lastly, Dobot is only available for U.S.-based users.
Use Dobot To Boost Your Rainy Day Fund
Dobot doesn’t restrict your savings goals, but popular goals include vacations, travel, cars and other higher priced items. But, don’t forget that Dobot is great for building emergency savings.
Saving for an emergency (or a “rainy day”) will help with sudden medical bills, job losses or anything else that happens unexpectedly. If you don’t have an emergency or rainy day fund, use Dobot to start building one up immediately. It’s easy.
All you need to do is set up your new Rainy Day Fund goal in the Dobot app, choose your desired contribution frequency using Dobot’s Smart Savings, Scheduled Savings or Save On Your Own feature and watch your emergency fund build slowly but surely over time.
Hopefully, you’ll never need it. But if you do, you’ll be glad that you have it and that money will be immediately available for withdrawal.
The Dobot Savings Movement
Dobot isn’t just an app. It’s also a movement that challenges you to save more of your hard earned cash. For example, if you meet Dobot’s “Future Me” challenge, you’ll be automatically entered to win up to a $100 match in savings each and every month.
Check Dobot’s Money Movement page for the latest savings challenges and start earning gift cards and savings matches – not to mention a more prosperous future you!
We didn’t want to spend another night in a freezing cold rental house. The heat was out, and the temporary space heater was woefully undersized. Seriously–I was reading my book with gloves on. But we also weren’t hearing any news from AirBnb customer service—would we be able to get a refund? It was a pickle. And when life puts you in a pickle, an emergency fund helps ensure that money isn’t a source of additional stress.
Baby, it’s cold outside
Upstate New York is snowy and cold in the winter. Animals grow thicker fur, humans need a decent jacket, and a house needs a central heating system. When we walked into our small rental cabin last weekend, it was clear that the central heating was broken, and that our jackets would need to stay on.
We called AirBnb customer service the next morning to discuss. Ravi was very helpful and sympathetic. He escalated our situation to a Case Manager, and then we waited for a call back.
We grabbed breakfast and coffee–no call back. We visited tourist traps and gift shops–no call. Then we went “full throttle” on the “Sky Coaster”…still no call back from AirBnb. We had no idea if we’d get a refund, or get a new place to stay, or be able to continue on with our weekend as planned.
Emergency fund in the budget
Thanks to some personal finance decisions that we’ve made over many months, this $300 issue wasn’t stressful. Proper budgeting and a fully-funded emergency fund gave us the flexibility to decide where to sleep. We didn’t have to worry about the financial implications.
We felt AirBnb would probably refund us (…eventually). But what if they didn’t? We’d have eat to the money we’d already spent, and spend more on another place to stay. Nobody wants to spend twice for the same service. But this is the exact reason to have some slack built in to your personal finances.
Thanks to YNAB*, I know exactly how much money I have assigned to various “jobs” in my budget. There are simple jobs, like next month’s mortgage and groceries. But also more infrequent jobs, like an “Auto Maintenance Fund.” I know the car will break down eventually, but I don’t know exactly when. In my one year review post, I shared my experience of tracking every single dollar in 2019.
My Emergency Fund is part of my budget. For a few years now, I’ve been earmarking a couple hundred dollars per month into that fund. Why?
Did I know that one day I would need to make a $300 decision about a cold cabin on a wintry getaway? Certainly not!
But I was pretty sure that–eventually–I would have to make a quick decision involving hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Did I want to make that decision using next month’s grocery money? Not if I could help it!
How big should an emergency fund be?
As with many personal finance topics, the easiest answer is, “It depends. Different strokes for different folks.” But let’s talk about some of the options.
The basic emergency fund should be enough to cover a sudden car repair, or household replacement, or the deductibles in your insurance. It should be enough to answer the question, “If you needed $500 tomorrow, where would it come from?” The amount will be slightly different for everyone, but it’ll typically be in the $500 – $2000 range.
The more advanced emergency fund answers the question, “How will you support yourself and your family if you lose your job?” Rather than spending on a sudden need, the financial expense becomes: what do you need to live off of for a few months while you search for your next job? Typically, 3-6 months of living expenses is recommended.
This is another spot where a budget comes in handy. If you know that your average monthly expenses are $3000, then all you need is arithmetic to calculate 3 months’ expenses. No guesswork required.
While a chilly cabin isn’t everyone’s “emergency,” our experience was an excellent example of the safety provided by an emergency fund. When life threw us a curveball, money was not a source of additional stress.
After last week’s monster post about the index fund bubble, this one is short and sweet. Extra savings and emergency funds matter. They’re shock absorbers when you hit bumps–big, small…or cold–in the road. It’s not a matter of if, but when.
As always, thanks for reading the Best Interest.
*Note: you and I both get a free month of YNAB if you end up signing yourself (or someone else) up with the link above. No extra cost to anyone involved. You get a 34-day trial, and then an additional free month. That’s two free months to figure out if you like it.