General Question

round_pie's avatar

How much money do you keep in your checking account?

Asked by round_pie (90 points ) July 24th, 2008

What amount do you consider comfortable?

If it’s less than $2,000, I worry that my mortgage payment will bounce, but if it’s more than $3,000, I worry that I’m missing out on interest.

Is there an easy way for me to keep my money in a high-interest savings account until just before I need to make a mortgage payment? I would want it to be an automated transfer, so that I could never forget.

I’ve looked into interest-bearing checking accounts but the interest rate is typically so low it’s not worth it.

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23 Answers

dragonflyfaith's avatar

We try to keep two weeks salary in our checking account at all times. Currently it is a bit lower because we’re moving and having to pay bills for both places, but that’s our comfort level.

As far as the rest of your question, I can fully admit that I am not the person to be handing out advice!

jballou's avatar

Yes, a lot of banks have online-only savings accounts with much higher interest rates. (3+%) You could easily set up an automated transfer once a month to cover any checks you write. That’s almost exactly what I do, although I use a slightly bigger cushion just in case.

Lovelocke's avatar

At least $50. I tend to deal in cash…

gailcalled's avatar

I am careful to know what my monthly budget is, I keep a cushion of $1000 (the difference in interest between $1 and $3 isn’t important,) and then, since I have a regular expenses deducted or paid on a card, I know what I need to get thru the month.

genevievejones's avatar

Jack Donnaghy- “Liz, what does your investment portfolio look like these days?”
Liz Lemon- “well I have $12,000 in checking”

i’ve always love this scene… i’m pretty sure if i don’t get a savings plan together soon i will find myself in my 40s with it all in checking… wondering why i still rent. but if you’re like liz lemon at least you’re still in good character company

mirza's avatar

Right now I have $ 574.93 on it.

Tone's avatar

When I went to the ATM a couple days ago, the receipt the previous user had left in it showed a checking account balance of over $47,000. That’s just crazy.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

@tone Wow don’t you wish they had left the card too?

flameboi's avatar

I normally have less than $5.00 (I hate banks), I’m a cash kid :)

waterskier2007's avatar

i am only 18 and i keep around 200 bucks in it.

timothykinney's avatar

Not enough.

gailcalled's avatar

Interesting answers. I almost never deal in cash and keep $20 and a blant check in wallet and another $20 in secret hiding place in bag that I am not supposed to know about.

Allie's avatar

Hahaha, I just checked and I have $1.32 in it. I never use it, I always pay with cash.
(high five flameboi)

Supergirl's avatar

We are constantly transferring funds back and forth between checking and savings. But on average we like to keep around $2000 in checking. We try to save half of each of our paychecks.

flameboi's avatar

@Allie yep!
high five!!

ninjaxmarc's avatar

3 months worth of pay.
California is crazy expensive to live in.

dwtorres's avatar

We keep enough to pay the bills every month and for petty cash throughout the month. The rest stays in savings and gets transferred to checking.

Knotmyday's avatar

I keep it all in there. Direct-deposit.

sdeutsch's avatar

I’m with dwtorres – I figure out how much we need for bills and petty cash at the beginning of every month, and all the rest goes in the savings account.

If you’re worried about not having enough to cover your mortgage payment, most banks have a way to set up an automatic transfer once a month – that way, if you know what day your mortgage payment is withdrawn, you can set up the account to transfer enough from your savings a few days before that.

But Gail’s right too – the interest on that much money for a few extra days probably isn’t enough to really worry about…

Summer's avatar

Yes, there is a way to solve this dilemma! Open a Money Merge Account! The online Money Merge Account system makes a virtual connection between your bank account, the advanced line of credit, and your primary mortgage. Each time you transfer income into your account, it registers as a decrease to your mortgage balance. By decreasing your mortgage balance, you now lower the balance on which interest accrues. By decreasing the balance on which interest accrues, you increase the portion of your monthly payment which is credited toward your principal pay down. The algorithms in the proprietary Money Merge Account system are systematically programmed to create the highest interest savings possible in the least amount of time under this system.

ht1979's avatar

I have my short-term savings (e.g. not in stocks/etc) in an ING (ingdirect.com) account that is setup to deposit my mortgage amount into my checking account in advance of the due date each month. This has a much higher interest rate than most savings accounts and is really easy to transfer money into and out of. I also have my paycheck setup to direct deposit partially into ING so I don’t have all of my money accessible in my checking account to spend. It keeps me honest in my budgeting/living expenses… I know I allow myself $XX each paycheck to live (excluding mortgage), so if my bank account balance is low, I’ve been over-consuming… or if it’s high, i pat myself on the back and pull some of it out. I usually try to keep ~$1K -$1500 in there (excluding mortgage that goes in and out close to the mortgage due date).

mikewillbe's avatar

I have a no-interest checking, and and interest checking account. I keep about 750k to 1mill combined in both accounts. I understand that B of A will insure their non-interest checking accounts to an unlimited dollar amount, while their interest checking is at a limit of 250k. Normally, I would not have this kind of balance in my checking accounts, but I’ve been standing on the side lines waiting for homes prices to drop and the market to settle down.

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