HomeFamilyHelp me convince Girl Ninja she's crazy.

Help me convince Girl Ninja she’s crazy.

I was asking Girl Ninja
what I should blog about tonight (she is often the source of inspiration of my posts) and we began talking about dedicated savings account. We ended the conversation agreeing to disagree. She likes the idea of multiple dedicated savings accounts and I hate it. We debated for about 2 minutes about this before she began beating me profusely and yelling “Girl Ninja owns you!!!!”

….Yeah, that’s exactly what happened 🙂

Here’s my opinion:

Multiple savings accounts, while probably a good idea for most, seem totally inefficient to me. I love keeping all our money in one main account and watching that sucker grow as much as possible each month. It promotes intense focus and allows us the ability to achieve our BIG goals faster. As you know, we are working towards a $100,000 savings fund. By putting all of our discretionary savings in to one account, we will be able to reach that down payment goal pretty quick. If we were splitting our savings amongst a dedicated house fund, vacation fund, new car fund, furniture fund, etc, I would feel like we were barely making progress. Essentially I like to check one goal of the list before moving on to the next one.

Girl Ninja’s opinion:

My hotty with a naughty body, however, thinks dedicated savings account are pretty darn terrific. For her, it supports guilt free spending. If the travel fund has $2,000 in it, and an opportunity to go to on a sweet vacation cones our way, we book the trip no questions asked. Instead of picking one thing and focusing on it, she’d rather make a list of all our goals and work towards accomplishing all of them at the same time.

Since this is MY blog, and not hers, I declare myself the winner of this argument!

Booya for winning. Haha, kidding. I imagine most of you probably set savings goals for a whole bunch of things, but hopefully there are at least a few of you that side with me. Anyone, anyone? Bueller…Bueller?

How many separate DEDICATED savings account do you have and what are they for?

If you only have one primary savings account, do you ever feel guilty taking from it to do other things like go on vacation, etc?

If you have multiple savings accounts, do you ever get frustrated that you aren’t able to check goals of the list as quickly?




  1. Girl Ninja’s side here, sorry. And since my hubby doesn’t give a darn, I win. 🙂 I’ve set up *ahem* a few in ING. Specifically – taxes, emergency fund, car/home fund, investment fund, vacation, his fun money, and my fun money. I, like Girl Ninja, like knowing we have put 5% aside just for cool vacations or splurges. 🙂

  2. El I would side with GN. Even though I’m like you and have one mega savings account. The problem I have with the one big savings account is that I don’t feel focusing on just one goal at a time is good. There are so many goals competing for my money I never really know how much I should allocate to each one. Because of that I never spend money on any goals. Nothing gets done without goals is what I’m trying to say I guess. Been a long Thanksgiving week for me…..

  3. I reckon this is because women are able to multitask much better. 😉

    I also have my accounts set up the Girl Ninja way – travel fund, house emergency fund, retirement fund, plus debt payoff. I’m not putting my life on hold while I try to reach a single goal, then another single goal, then another single goal… I’m setting up my savings and payments so I’m able to do more than one at the same time.

  4. I understand your reasoning, but I definitely agree with GN. If I have multiple goals…why wouldn’t I have multiple accoutns? it’s also a mental thing for me. If I have $10,000 in a general savings account…and I take out $1,000 for a vacation (even if planned for) I will feel somewhat guilty and I won’t like seeing my overall balance drop because that is my long-term money. However, if I keep money in separate spots..I’ll feel like it’s technically already spent and I’m ALLOWED to use it because it was specifically ear marked for vacation. Currently my accounts are broken into: General Savings, Emergency Fund, Car, Vacation, Gifts, Christmas, and Fun Fund.

  5. Our savings accounts are managed a bit differently from many other people, I think, because I tally up the various checking and savings accounts and consider that our big savings pool. I include checking accounts because it’ is our money — and interest rates are so low, transfering to savings is not a high priority. I would rather keep a healthy buffer and never overdraft. Neither myself nor my husband are big spenders, so we are never tempted to drain our checking account on stuff. And the checking account does fluctuate, but not drastically given weekly paychecks.

    Like you Ninja, I like the idea of one big savings pool. It motivates me to save more (and my husband is a saver with no interest in the details 🙂 ). But I do keep a breakdown. So we have money to cover a general efund, car efund, home efund, car replacement fund, home remodel fund etc. The only savings account I consider completely separate is for our property taxes.

  6. We’ve created a few saving accounts for specific goals – one general fund, a car fund, and a freedom fund. It’s more of psychological motivation for us. it’s nice to see the balances grow. However we kind of have a reverse debt snowball. We focus our energy on one goal at a time and the other accounts get minimum deposits.

  7. We have 4 separate accounts; 1 main account for anything pertaining to the household, 1 for Emergency Savings, 1 US Account (that we hardly every use anymore), and 1 TFS Account that we’re building to take a big trip for our 15th wedding anniversary in 5 years. I see the value in both sides of the argument, but like you, I like to see a chunk of $ in any one account… it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something.

  8. I agree with Girl Ninja too, I keep separate savings accounts for my big items. I have an emergency fund, a car fund, a house fund and a fun money fund. I used to have only 1 big bucket, but I found myself loathsome to spend any money on a car or a vacation, because it brought the total down, and now, I find it easier to spend that money.

  9. Different accounts for us with varying goal dates; emergency, vacations, car,fluff. There are specific amounts that add to each every payday and while ti doesn’t grow quite as fast, we make adjustments if we see the goal not being made fast enough – all judgemental though.

    By the way, that photo is the cover photo of my friends book she wrote:

  10. Girl Ninja for the win! Sorry, Ninja, but A: GN is a lot more beautiful than you are, and B: she is right. If you put everything into one account, then you never want to touch that account for anything else. Hence, if you wanted to take a vacation, where would the money come from? Can’t take it from our house savings, because then we would feel guilty and it would taint the entire vacation.

    And since you are someone who has stated before that you don’t want to save money just for the sake of saving money, you should definitely have multiple accounts. Just the thoughts of an aging veteran here…. but GN still wins!

  11. My wife got me into dedicated savings accounts too, and now I like it. Spreading the money out makes you “feel” like you have less, but isn’t that a good thing? It makes you less likely to spend on nonsense. It also makes it clear how much you’re saving.

    If I split my money into accounts like: car maintenance, vacation, christmas gifts, daycare, investment fund, long-term-savings, and I have automatic transfers into each of those accounts, I know EXACTLY how fast my long-term savings account is growing … because it’s whatever is left over.

    If one of those accounts grows too large, we stop putting money into it, or lower the automatic payments, or pull some of it out into savings.

    Also, we started putting what we THOUGHT we’d need to pay for daycare into a daycare account about 6 months before we had our daughter. So not only do we already know how much of a financial burden she’s going to be before she’s actually born, but by the time she’s born, we’ve saved 6 months worth of daycare payments … booya.

    I’m sure you could do the exact same thing with some accounting software, or a spreadsheet or something. But by using different accounts, everything is clear.

    What I also like about this method is that all these different accounts ALSO serve as an emergency fund. If you tend to move all your long-term-savings money to a higher-yield account somewhere that takes days to get to, and you have an emergency, you can just re-purpose all these other accounts as an emergency fund. You no longer need to actually have a separate emergency fund.

  12. I’m with you Ninja. Having one savings account and watching it grow is much more motivating to me. However, I will admit that I do have sub-accounts within my savings account that allows me to have multiple goals. I use them for short-term savings needs like insurance and taxes. So, perhaps I am a fan of both – but watching the overall money balance grow is the main objective!

  13. Well right now it’s poor student all the way so it’s more like my paycheck goes into my savings account and slowly filters into my checking..

  14. I’m with GN on this one. I manage the finances in our house (hubby doesn’t care much, which works OK for me, since I’m a bit control-freak-ish when it comes to our money) and for me, I like having several different savings accounts set up so I know how much money we have to spend in certain areas. We have separate accounts for our emergency fund, house repairs (we are doing some DIY renos on our home right now), Christmas gits, car/motorcycle maintenance, and travel. I have these set up through ING, and for me, I like knowing how much we have to spend in certain areas. If hubby and I want to go on a weekend vacation, I can quickly check and see how much we have set aside to spend at that given moment. On the same note, ING gives a total sum of all my separate accounts, so I can still see the “overall” amount that we have saved. It’s kind of like the best of both worlds for me. I know that if I were to have just one lump savings account, I would never want to pull money from it, even for fun things like vacations and concert tickets.

  15. GN’s side here! We have ELEVEN targeted savings accounts. Yes, for a while it felt like we weren’t making any progress but now that we’ve been at it a few years some of the accounts have quite healthy balances. I definitely agree with GN that having things already allocated helps ease the guilt in spending. However, many of our accounts are for “musts” not “wants” like car repair, so it’s not so much guilt-free spending as worry-free spending. Even when we’re hit with multiple big expenses like this month, we don’t have to be concerned about our other goals being underfunded.

    So far, we haven’t had to move money from one targeted account to another as far as I remember. That would really bother me unless we were doing a general rebalancing because of changing goals. We have a general/catch-all savings account so money can come from there if we run out in one of the targeted accounts.

  16. I use PNC’s Virtual Wallet, which gives me the ability to earmark money for different savings goals – but it all happens inside ONE account. So all my money is in one place (making it easier to keep up with it) but I can segment it into savings for different things. Its the best of both worlds, IMO.

  17. I’m on your side on this one. It’s easier for me to have one with a huge (relatively speaking) balance rather than multiple, and I like seeing a bigger #. And I don’t suffer too much with spending guilt, as long as I’ve saved for it, then I’m ok with spending it. Right now I have a almost singular focus and that is saving to pay down my mortgage (2 large lump payments a year). I also assume I’ll have one “large” trip per year. My car is still new enough that I won’t need to replace it until after the house is paid off, so I’ll earmark the savings for that afterwards.

    All this is noted in my supercool financial spreadsheet! 🙂

  18. Boy Ninja here. I see absolutely no reason to clutter my finances with multiple checking or savings accounts, when all I need to do is allocate my money within a single account. I keep one master file, a simple Notepad file called Finances.Txt, where I track all my financial information. (If I was a whiz at Excel, I’d probably use Excel, but no need to be fancy.) Money is money. If the car needs repair or I want to buy gifts, I just set aside whatever I need for the purpose.

  19. We have multiple savings accounts, including: vacation, car maintenance, home repairs, emergency fund, planned spending and another one that was used for the wedding, but will now be used for a baby fund if/when it’s needed.

  20. Both! We went through the same debate in our household and wound up with a compromise that is working great for us. We keep all of our money in a single account, but split it up in our spreadsheet that we manage ourselves. In our spreadsheet we have our total networth, cash and investment totals,at the top but then at the bottom we split up our savings into dedicated areas. Works great for us!

  21. It seems I have the fence lodged right up my %$#, ouch! We only have one savings account, but I’m with girl ninja I hate taking anything out of it, for any reason! If I had an account dedicated to vacation I would have a much easier time spending the cash, and enjoying the trip.

  22. Did you just get beat up by a girl?
    One account, I like simplicity in my finances. All the investment options make it complex enough

  23. I am with Ninja! I tried multiple accounts, but they frustrate me. I like to see the BIG numbers. Another thing is how do you decide what money goes into which specific account? One account makes my life so much easier 🙂

  24. I have one large ING (now Capital One, boo) savings account that I make automatic transfers to each pay period, and a fairly large balance in my checking account that I do all daily and >2k purchases with. I have not yet touched the savings account in the ~1.5 years I have had it. My reason for not bothering with multiple accounts is that when it reaches the 50k level, I plan to put 50k in an electric orange checking account, which actually has a higher interest rate than the savings accounts once you hit that 50k mark. I do a fairly detailed annual budget with investment/long term savings goals, gift amounts for various charities, holiday spending, travel for specific events, etc. So if something comes up, if it’s within that budget, or I can shift the budget around, then I am OK with the spending.

    However, I can understand why the multiple accounts are appealing. My boyfriend wants to go heli-skiing this year in the San Juan mountains, and it’s $1100 for the one day. Part of me is like, I’ve never spent that much in one place! No way! But the other part of me is like, you should do this while you’re young and still can and can drive there and won’t need to fly, too. If I had a dedicated skiing account, maybe I’d jump at it more easily. But I’d get too stressed over splitting up my savings into multiple priorities that way.

  25. I think for your household Girl Ninja might be right. Having separate accounts for a few things helps with the guilt associated with spending a good sized chunk of money on something like a vacation. Even if you know that $2000 from your giant account was earmarked for a vacation, I have a feeling you won’t like to see your account balance go down $2000 when it is time to take that vacation. Maybe you can compromise and pick just one or two small, short-term goals to start separate accounts for.

    I have one big account, but I also don’t hesitate to spend money out of that account if I’ve decided to travel, or that I need a new laptop, or whatever (within reasonable limits!).

  26. I think GN might be right as well. I have two “accounts” one is the mattress account and one at the bank.

    I believe I am going to open up 2 more accounts. One to move my mattress money which is actually Emergency Fund and one for Travel and Vacation. Actually, maybe one more for Christmas.

    This has got me thinking!

  27. I’m totally on GN’s side, but my husband wants just one savings account like you. We do a compromise — we have just one savings account and then I get to separate it out to my hearts content on spreadsheets.

  28. I think you are both right.

    We have one savings account but keep a spreadsheet of what the money in that account represents. So we are technically doing both!

  29. I’m with GN on this one. I have long term savings accounts (education/retirement/emergency fund) & planned spending accounts (vacations/clothing/etc). One type I only touch for major life changes or a dire emergency. The other type is guilt free. I would cringe to see my EF go down because I bought a pre-planned plane ticket.

    If I had to pay a fee for each individual account, it would be a different story.

  30. Outside of our normal savings/checking we have 3 savings goals: Emergency Fund, Vacation Fund and Car Fund. Personally I just think it keeps things easier in my head to have the money in different “buckets” instead of one giant account.

  31. Although I have just one savings account, I think whatever works is just fine. The goal is savings not how you get there.

  32. Mostly with GN on this one. We have three accounts.
    1. Emergency Fund/Major Purchases (we have a minimum we maintain for emergencies but also build on top of it in the same account. Its not attached to our main bank so its less convenient to get into if we need funds. As of now the only time we’ve reached into the account is when we bought our house and needed to grab the down payment (still maintaining our emergency fund).
    2. Property tax account (having it auto set up to take the monthly amounts so the $$ is always available when it comes time to pay the county)
    3. Savings Account for bigger purchases (new roof, vacations, etc).

  33. Girl Ninja fo’ sho’!! We have a fair amount of accounts if you will and I have no problem allocating different percentages to each one for our goals. Truly I think my best financial ideas the last couple of years have been to A-have a separate rent/mortgage account and B-have a travel fund. A-my husband gets paid twice a month and each paycheck we put 1/2 of the rent in, that way come the first the money is there no problem. B-the travel fund is spectacular! We put in 10% of my husband’s pay check and that may seem high, but travel is super important to us! Plus paying for 5 (soon to be 6!) people to travel takes a lot…so having the money there makes it rad! Coming down the line we have Vegas, Hawaii, WA, Egypt! And I don’t feel guilty at all since the money is already earmarked. BTW-did you see that Apple Cup? 😉

  34. I am a dedicated savings account fan. I like watching one grow quickly, though. I typically focus on one big goal and try to fund that completely, before saving for the next goal. That way I get the best of both worlds.

  35. You can BOTH win!

    I have one savings account BUT I also have a spreadsheet for each section of my savings.

    When I look at my savings bank account amount, BAM! I’m a hundredaire! (I’m still getting out of debt) and I feel rich (for me). I use the spreadsheet on Google Drive (so I can check it from anywhere) so I know how much I have in car repair or gifts, or vacation, etc.


  36. Like Andrea, my boyfriend and I have a PNC virtual wallet, which comes with a short term savings account and a long-term account. The long term account is the emergency fund, and is not touched. The short term account houses bulk savings for car maintenance, vacations, etc. For me, those aren’t really savings, they’re just deferred spending. I KNOW I’m going to get my oil changed, have car insurance, and see my family (and him see his) annually. The emergency fund is for, well, emergencies, and car insurance that happens bi-annually does not fall into that category.

    We use YNAB for budgeting, which really works for us. Through it, I can tell how much we’ve allocated to each category included in the short-term savings (e.g. right now there’s $1200 in the short term savings, of which $850 is for vacation, etc.). It works well for us :).

  37. If you use Mint you can have it both ways. Since it aggregates all your savings accounts or you can also have a single account and multiple goals, which is what I do.

  38. I’m with Girl Ninja. I have a savings account but actually keep everthing in my checking account because it pays 3% interest. and my savings pays like, a quarter percent or something. So basically everything is in one account but I break it down on paper into about 12 categories. I have had several people say to me that they would spend all of their money if they saw it in their checking account. It sounds silly, but I “transfer” my money out of my checking account into a sinking fund–but its all on paper (I used to keep a spreadsheet but jotting down on paper works better for me) so if I look at my checkbook balance on paper it may say I have a few hundered (or a few dozen) dollars. But if I look at my account online or on an ATM receipt or something I am often surprised by my real balance. Still, I am not tempted to spend it (and I am a total Spender, not a natural Saver) My system sounds strange but it works for me.

  39. We have one main savings account, but it is broken into multiple savings goals in our spreadsheet: Opportunity (a small portion of retirement goes into this account in case an investment opportunity comes our way…rent house, etc),Emergency, Baby (future adoption), Missions, House(updates, etc), Vehicle (paying cash for the next one, yay!), Medical, Christmas, Vacation. An automatic amount is drafted into the Opportunity fund every month, and then our “extra” money after bills is divided into the others based on a loose percentage that we set and evaluate every year as we reach/change/add goals. This works great for us! I like to see each individual fund grow, the hubs likes to see the total grow.

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