How I Use Automatic Transfers to Budget and Save Money

Economy, Investment And Saving Concept

When it comes to saving, it’s best if you don’t have to think about it.  This is why my wife and I direct deposit into our savings account instead of our checking.  From there we have a specified amount, which is less than what we earn, automatically transferred to our checking account.  It’s the opposite of the norm, but it forces us to budget and it allows us to save unhindered by our spending temptations.

When we started doing this many years ago, I was only vaguely aware of the finance mantra “pay yourself first.”  We only knew that we were more likely to spend money in our checking account than in our savings, so it made sense to direct deposit there.  We discovered Bank of the Ozarks could set up regular automated transfers between checking and savings accounts just about any way we could want, so we set ours to transfer a large amount once a month when our mortgage and other bills are due, and then have a smaller amount transferred once a week to cover food, entertainment, and other discretionary expenses.

Since we started doing this, the only time we’ve had to adjust our transfer amounts is after our children were born.  Other than that, as our wages increased, only our savings—not our spending—increased.  And as our savings grew, our freedom and quality of life grew too.

Editorial Note: Please be aware that federal transaction limitations apply to savings and money market deposit accounts.  These limit preauthorized transfers, which include automatic and online transfers, to six (6) per month.  A $10 fee will be assessed each month in which the transaction limits are exceeded.  If transaction limits are exceeded three (3) times in any twelve (12) month period, the account will be changed to one that does not have transaction limitations.  Reach out to your local banking office to discuss transaction limitations and what account may be best for you.

By Adam Lucas Adam Lucas holds a Finance degree and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in many major outlets including Yahoo,, and

Monday on the Money is a weekly commentary from Bank of the Ozarks providing financial advice and solutions important to you and your family.