(StatePoint) With the holiday season in full swing, minding one's budget can sometimes be as much of a challenge as watching your waistline. Despite signs of an improving economy, consumers have identified managing spending at the top of their holiday stress list, according to a recent poll conducted by Ally Bank, Member FDIC.
"The real key to keeping your expenses in line during the season is to establish savings goals and a budget for your holiday-related spending, from gifts, decorations and entertainment to charitable donations and tips for service providers," says Diane Morais, an Ally Bank executive in charge of deposits and lines of business integration.
While it may be too late in the game to start saving for this season, consumers should be thinking of their financial goals for 2014, if they haven't already. When it comes to saving money, every little bit counts toward fiscal fitness, and the first step would be to establish a goal for next year and set up a savings plan to get there.
A good savings account is crucial. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a savings account that will help you grow your money faster:
No maintenance fees: Some banks charge a monthly fee if a deposit doesn't come directly from an employer, or will charge a fee if a balance dips too low. This can put a dent in savings. Find a bank that doesn't charge monthly maintenance fees or require a minimum balance in order to waive those fees.
Competitive, consistent interest rates: A little advance research will help you identify a bank that offers consistent, competitive rates as opposed to those that tempt new customers with promotional rates and one-time offers. An added bonus is finding a bank that compounds interest daily - such as Ally Bank - as opposed to monthly, quarterly, or even annually.
Mobile convenience: Rapidly becoming a "must have," mobile banking enables consumers to easily access account information, deposit checks, transfer money and locate nearby ATMs to save ATM fees or surcharges. Also growing in popularity is the ability to create custom accounts for specific savings goals, such as "2014 Holidays." This feature allows people to track their progress toward specific goals.
More information about different types of savings accounts can be found at www.allybank.com.
Between buying the right gifts for everyone and juggling family and social obligations, the holiday season can be a time of stress. But getting your finances in order can help you better enjoy the season.