Keep the Change
I suck at saving. There. I said it.
Well, seriously, I was never one that could keep a savings goal unless I gave all the money to my parents for them to hold until I reached my goal. Savings for "emergency use?" It was always an emergency when I didn't have quite enough to cushion my checking account. After I exhausted my savings, I wouldn't have the willpower to move more money over. But now my bank has come to save me from this vicious cycle. First I thought, "why didn't anybody think of this before?" By the time I finished thinking, I had already enrolled in the program.
Let's get down to business. Bank of America recently started a new program called "Keep the Change". Simply, it's a program that will round all your debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and deposit the rest into the savings account of your choice. And this is on every purchase you make with your debit card. If you happen to pay $.15 for a stick of gum, $.85 will be deposited into your savings account. At the end of every day, you'll get an online banking notification of how much you saved that day. It's like having an electronic coin jar for all your extra change. For one, I think this is an awesome idea that doesn't require you to think about saving your money.
If you want to get started, all you need is a Bank of America debit card, checking account and savings account and you're all ready to go. It takes about 10 business days for them to enroll you (I have no idea why it needs to take that long), and you'll get a notification when you're enrolled. If all this hasn't been enough persuasion for you to join, Bank of America will match your savings at for the first 3 months you're enrolled. Come on, if you pass this by, you'd be declining free money. After your first three months are over, they'll give you 5% of what you saved a year.
On a side note, if you're not a Bank of America customer (I'm certain that other banks will start mimicking this if none already have) and you're credit doesn't suck like mine, I encourage you to look at the new American Express One credit card. All I know about it so far is that they'll deposit 1% of all your purchases into a "high yield" (3.5% interest) American Express savings account. So it's another way to make sure you're saving up money without really thinking about it. Hell, I won't be surprised if people will spend more because of it.