education | savings strategies
What Kind of Saver Are You? Take Our Savings Strategies Quiz
By Kali Roberge
Everyone understands the importance of saving money. It's vital to building up cash reserves and reaching financial goals. But knowing something is often different from executing on that knowledge. As a result, people tend to fall across a spectrum of savings types, from aggressively pursuing their personal goals to occasionally remembering to put money into savings.
We're all motivated and inspired by different things. Discovering your "savings style" can help you hone your savings approach based on your preferences and habits.
Take the savings strategies quiz below and identify your savings type, then read on to better understand the pros and cons of your personal style.
What Type of Saver Are You?
Select the answer that most closely reflects your situation for each question. When finished, add up your responses to see what savings type category might best describe your current habits.
Question 1: Do you have set savings goals?
A: Not really.
B: I do, and I have an automated monthly contribution set up to fund them.
C: Yes, and I contribute to them when I can.
D: I have savings goals that I fund and track each month, and I regularly set new ones because I usually achieve my goals on a consistent basis.
Question 2: Do you actively research different types of savings vehicles and rate offerings?
A: No. Aren’t they all about the same?
B: I don’t. I just have my savings and checking accounts set up with my primary bank.
C: Yes, I did when I set up my high yield savings account and CD. However I have not checked how my rate is doing in comparison to other high yield savings accounts.
D: Yes, I compared rates when I opened my account as well as researched the banks that did not have fees. I check rate tables on sites like NerdWallet regularly to ensure I am still receiving a competitive rate.
Question 3: Where do you save money?
A: I usually just let it build up in my checking account.
B: I save the same amount each month and everything goes into the same savings account I've used for years. It's automated and I don't pay much attention.
C: I transfer money to my savings account whenever I feel like I have some extra funds available.
D: It depends on the goal I'm trying to reach. For short- or mid-term goals, I use automated contributions to high-yield savings accounts or certificates of deposit. For long-term goals, I funnel money into investment accounts to help me earn a return over time.
Question 4: What do you do with unexpected money (such as a higher-than-usual bonus or a gift) when you receive it?
A: It depends. Sometimes I save it but other times I need to use it to catch up on bills or pay for a big expense.
B: I automatically save half and spend half.
C: I like building my savings when I get the opportunity, so I usually put most or all of the "extra" money I receive into my savings.
D: I review my financial plan and determine how to best use unexpected money to further my progress toward a specific goal.
Question 5: When is the last time you reviewed your automated contributions to savings?
A: What are automated contributions?
B: I have automated contributions, but I can't remember the last time I reviewed them.
C: I don't have automated transfers set up; I like to move money into my savings account manually whenever I feel like I have money available.
D: Last month, when I sat down to review my budget, evaluate my spending, track my progress toward my goals and ensure my finances are in order.
Question 6: Do you enjoy checking in on your financial accounts and reviewing your balances?
A: If anything, I tend to ignore my finances in general; looking at my accounts makes me feel stressed or confused, so I tend not to.
B: Nope. That's why I have as much as I can set on autopilot, so I don't have to spend a lot of time managing it.
C: I think about it a lot and often log in to my accounts (and make little contributions to my savings while I'm logged on).
D: I do, and I have a very organized system with scheduled check-ins on a periodic basis.
Total up your answers, and then see what kind of saver you are and what kind of savings strategies you're most likely to employ:
If you got mostly As: Inactive Saver
You know it's important to save but sometimes, it just doesn't happen. You don't have a savings system set up yet.
If you got mostly Bs: Passive Saver
You like to save, but you don't like spending too much time worrying about it, so you tend to use a set-it-and-forget-it approach to saving money.
If you got mostly Cs: Active Saver
You're a good saver who wants to transfer funds to savings accounts whenever you can.
If you got mostly Ds: Aggressive Saver
You're achievement-oriented and make sure you always follow your plan. You regularly set — and successfully reach — personal financial goals.
Savings Strategies for Every Kind of Saver
No matter what kind of saver you identify with, you can reach financial success. Depending on the savings style that you naturally gravitate toward, there are different savings strategies that might work best for you. Here are some to consider, based on your savings type:
For Inactive Savers
It's important to start somewhere when it comes to saving, and something is always better than nothing. If you're currently not paying much attention to your savings, look for quick and easy ways to get started — set up a small monthly contribution to your savings account so you can start building cash reserves, and consider a new high yield savings or CD account if your financial institution doesn’t offer them, to help you earn faster. You can always optimize with different accounts, strategies and specific goals later. For now, just focus on taking that first step, so you have something to work with in the future.
For Passive Savers
You're already doing well by having a set, automated contribution to your savings account. To take your savings to the next level, you might want to periodically check in with those contribution amounts and increase them as you earn more money.
It's also important to track your progress toward your goals to understand how far you've come and if you need to make any adjustments to your current actions to get where you want to be in the future.
For Active Savers
You probably like to be hands-on and very aware of your finances, which is a great thing — but you should also look to automate what you can. Automation in your financial life can save you a lot of time and help you avoid mistakes (even if that mistake is simply forgetting to make a transfer when you intended to do so). Are you getting the best rates? You may want to compare high yield savings rates and look to limit fees, too.
For Aggressive Savers
You already know and value the importance of saving money, and don't struggle to meet your goals, which is fantastic. However, your focus on saving for the future might mean you don't often use your money to enjoy your life today. Remember that balance is a good thing; it's OK to treat yourself every now and then.
Having a set financial plan with a specific savings target can help you understand how much you need to save, and once you hit that goal, you may feel more freedom to enjoy life to its fullest.