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Want to start saving more money? Here's what one expert recommends

A high-yield savings account paired with a great savings strategy can help you get the most from your money. Getty Images/iStockphoto

If you're looking to save more money today, it helps to rethink where you save - and how you do it.

In today's high interest rate environment, it can be especially beneficial to make sure you're saving in the right place. For many savers, that's likely in a high-yield savings account with a competitive rate and easy access when you need your money. Today's best high-yield savings accounts offer rates of 4% to 4.5% APY or even more — which can earn you hundreds of extra dollars throughout the year.

How you save, on the other hand, can depend a lot on your individual circumstances and goals. Maybe you prefer the set-it-and-forget-it method of automated transfers. Or maybe you'd rather track a thorough budgeting plan month-to-month. Below, we'll talk about a strategy one expert recommends, which you can implement today to start boosting your balance.

But first, make sure you're getting the highest return by comparing the best high-yield savings rates available now.

One strategy to start saving more today

If you need to jumpstart your savings, make it a priority among your monthly finances.

"I advocate for a 'savings-first' system where income is directed to a high-yield savings account first, then a monthly transfer to checking is set up to pay expenses," says Cristina Guglielmetti, CFP, founder of Future Perfect Planning. "The specifics are something that I often work through with clients, but I like the behavioral hack of separating earnings from spending money."

Here's an example of how it might work:

Say you receive $1,500 in income via direct deposit every two weeks. Instead of setting up the direct deposit to go to your checking account, you send it to your savings account instead — for a total of around $3,000 each month. When it's time to pay your monthly bills, you can transfer what you need to a checking account to make the payments, while leaving the rest to continue earning interest in savings.

You can even simplify the process for fixed expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, car payments and more. Set up an automatic transfer each month to your checking account when those payments are due, since you can better anticipate how much you'll owe each month.

One thing to watch out for: Check for any transaction limits on your savings account. Some banks still impose a limit of six transactions (transfers or withdrawals) per month, so you should make sure to stay under this limit or look for an account with no limitations.

Compare today's best high-yield savings account rates and start saving more now.

More ways to save

In addition to the "savings-first" strategy, there are plenty of small ways you can begin to improve your savings balance today. 

First and foremost, make sure you're using a high-yield savings account with a competitive rate. Some of the very top interest rates now earn near 5% APY. If you aren't earning at least 4% APY today, you could be missing out.

You can also make use of your account's added features. Some high-yield savings accounts, especially from online banks, offer online and mobile tools to make saving money easier. Automated transfers, account buckets you can use to break out different savings goals, round-up savings features and more can all make small differences in your balance that add up over time.

Finally, look for ways you might be able to increase your own contributions. Take a look at your expenses over the past few months, and look for areas where you might be able to cut down. Subscriptions and monthly services are a great place to start. If you're set on saving more money, it could be worth cutting back on unnecessary spending to have more left to save at the end of the month. 

The bottom line

If you want to start saving more money, a "savings-first" system could be a simple way to ensure you prioritize saving while still meeting your other monthly financial obligations. To maximize the strategy, just make sure you use a high-yield savings account to get the best interest rate on the extra money you keep and boost your balance over time.

See how much more you could be earning right now with today's best high-yield savings rates.

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