Zack doesn’t make a lot of money—but he still found a way to save $1,300 in a year. In this video, he shares his journey from not having a savings account and spending every penny he earned to becoming a dedicated saver with this one habit.

Watch his story.

Dear Varo,

Do I have to stop spending money on lattes to save money?

The answer is no, of course not. Not at all. We love supporting the craft of coffee and local businesses too.

But this does bring up a bigger question.

When it comes to saving money, what should you spend money on and what should you cut?

Here’s an easy way to think about it:

  1. Automatically put a percentage of your paycheck in savings. Varo’s Save Your Pay feature can help!
  2. Make sure all your bills are paid on time.
  3. Have fun with the rest — whatever fun means to you. Sports, travel, coffee.

Good luck! We’d love to have a coffee with you!

At Varo, we believe everyone deserves a great bank account—fee free.

We want to help you get there.

It can be time-consuming to switch bank accounts but it’s an important relationship to get right.

Moving to the right bank account may not only save you money with lower fees, it can also offer you peace of mind by saving you time with convenience and great customer service.

Step 1: Find a good fit.

Think of finding a bank account like finding a great assistant to work for the company of YOU. Your company is small and you need something reliable, that never lets you down.

Here are some key features to look for:

Take a look around and read the reviews about your potential new bank account. Call customer service and have a chat. This is an important job you’re hiring for.

Read more: Varo vs Big Banks: The Savings Rate Challenge

Step 2: Apply for your new account.

Great job—you’ve decided to make an offer to your new assistant also known as your new bank account.

You’ll likely want to open your new bank account before closing your existing bank account. It typically takes only a few minutes to apply for a bank account.

To open most bank accounts you’ll need:

For a Varo Bank Account, applicants must also be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident status in the United States and the District of Columbia.

how to switch banks

Step 3: Make a checklist.

Take a moment to review income and bills connected to your old bank account.

You might take a screenshot of your statement to create a checklist. Make sure you don’t leave out any bills that are billed quarterly or annually.

Your checklist could include the following:

Step 4: Fund your new bank account.

Depending on your new bank account, there will be options for funding it whether that’s electronically or with a cash or check.

Some banks require you to make a deposit to open your account and others do not. (Varo does not require a deposit to open a bank account.)

A few ways to electronically move money into your new bank account:

  1. Move your direct deposit. You’ll need to provide your employer or payor with your new bank account number and routing number.
  2. Link your new bank account to your existing bank account and request funds electronically. If you’re opening a Varo Bank Account, this process can take 2-4 business days and requires a test deposit for verification.
  3. Transfer money from a digital wallet (e.g., PayPal) into your new bank account by connecting your new bank account to the wallet service.

Depending on your new bank account, you’ll want to check with the company on methods of funding. You can read more about funding a Varo Bank Account in our FAQ.

Read more: Getting Started with Your Varo Account

Step 5: Transfer auto-pay bills.

Once you have money in your new bank account, you can start moving over the bills that are on automatic payment.

Go back to the checklist you made in Step 3. Some of these bills may be connected to your debit card number and others may be connected to your bank account number.

Typically, service providers that are connected via your debit card are ones like your mobile, cable/internet, Netflix, Hulu, Uber, Lyft, etc. Log into these service providers and update the connected debit card with your new information.

Utilities, credit card companies, and lenders typically connect directly to your bank account. Log into these service providers and update your connected bank account number and routing number with your new information.

Spend an extra minute to double check you have entered all the right numbers with your billers.

You got this!

Step 5: Close your old account.

Now it’s time to politely terminate your old bank account—no need to get emotional.

Simply call the customer service of your existing bank account and tell them you would like to close the account.

If you have not already emptied the bank account, ask for a paper check to be sent to you.

You may also want to follow up with a letter or email clearly stating the name and bank account number you would like to close.

Congratulations! You have switched bank accounts.

Meet Marcus Sisk: an entrepreneur and music producer in Gallatin, Tennessee. Currently, Marcus, 29, is working to build his own Earthship—a dirt-rich, off-grid, self-sustaining home—in order to minimize his monthly expenses.

 

Here are Marcus’ money saving tips:

Minimize your expenses

“I make things work by minimizing my expenses to a point where I don’t have to rely on a whole lot of money to maintain my lifestyle. I don’t consider [avoiding major purchases] a sacrifice, because it’s never something I was interested in. I’m interested in making art and spending time with friends and family.”

Avoid debt—unless you’re investing in your future

“My parents use credit cards quite a bit, and have been in a constant state of debt—it’s something that they always warned me against. I do use credit cards sometimes—but just to make an investment in something that I feel will bring in more money in the long term. Like, I invested in this computer that I’m using for video production. I’m hoping it will allow me to secure bigger jobs and stuff like that.”

Balance your financial and mental comfort

“If I ever have children, I want to be able to provide for them comfortably—hopefully, without having to sell my time doing something that I don’t enjoy. It’s important to me to figure out a lifestyle that’s comfortable and enjoyable for me both financially and just mentally. I want to get to that point before starting a family.”

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Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank (“Bank”). Bank is not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).

Meet Bella Livingstone: a 24-year-old pastry chef who was able to build a successful career in the food industry with zero financial help. After moving out of her house at just 18, Bella was forced to get serious about her money—and fast. Bella’s best money tips:

Your financial mistakes do not define you.

If I could go back and give my younger self some advice, I would say, ’Chin up, kid. Even though everyone thinks you’re really irresponsible now, it’s going to do a total 180. You’re going to be by far the most responsible person in your whole family, by a large margin.”

Avoid comparing your finances to others.

I was seeing other people being so subsidized by their parents, and them just doing it so lovingly and easily. Some part of me was like, ‘My parents just don’t love me like that.’ That’s not the case, it’s just my parents didn’t have the income to do that.”

As your income grows, don’t get carried away.

Your mentality changes once you have money. Especially if you haven’t had it before. I started feeling like I could afford more things. It’s always been a little bit of a back and forth of like, ‘No, you can’t actually afford that.’ Since having a steady job, I’ve never put myself in a situation where I was in trouble with money. I feel like I have my intense struggles with money to thank that. It’s made me more cautious.”

Tracking your spending can be a powerful urge to save.

“It was exciting to watch my savings grow. Every time I’d get a paycheck, I would allot a certain amount to my savings, and calculate how much I could have, in whatever amount of time, if I kept saving. I would probably look at my bank statement every other day or every three days or something, roughly.”

Meet Sami Perez: a freelance audio engineer, musician, and student in San Francisco, CA. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Sami is hustling to pursue a creative lifestyle in one of the country’s most expensive cities. Here are Sami’s top tips for making it work:

Plan for the future in baby steps

“The future to me means everything from tomorrow to the day I die. I think the only way to handle the future without getting extremely overwhelmed is to think about it in baby steps—more frequently than long-term. Right now, I’m working on building a good foundation, which really just requires me to build networks for myself and to find new opportunities, which I think I’m doing.”

Recognize your own worth

“The part of me that wants to bring myself down is like, ‘I am not worth any money.’ I think in order to recognize my worth in a studio, I had to go from trainee to trainer, and realize that I can teach others. I do know what I’m doing, and can teach someone how to do it.”

Keep an eye on your money

“I’m keeping a closer eye on my bank account now because I have to. Just like visually seeing my bank account, I’m realizing I need to put more in my savings. I check on my bank account probably every couple of days—I’m not super paranoid about it. But it’s important to know.”

Make financial decisions that make you happy

“Even though it’s a struggle to make money doing what you like in a city that’s nearly impossible to live in, it’s so worth it. If I were anywhere else I think I would be struggling to feel comfortable and liberated creatively. I feel I can really be creative, be myself, and enjoy all the opportunities in San Francisco with my friends and my family—and I wouldn’t leave it.”

Meet Elias Rodriguez: a nurse whose investment in education allowed him to build a comfortable life for his family. After years of living paycheck to paycheck, Elias, 29, grew an appreciation for money that later helped him to gain financial footing.

Here are Elias’s top tips for those looking to improve their financial health:

Never spend money for the sake of impressing others.

“It’s so expensive to buy a house. There were several times I was tempted to just jump into one. It was this external image that I was subconsciously trying to portray. It did take a little bit of sacrifice to think, ‘Okay, just hold off. The time will come. Don’t worry so much about what other people think. Just worry about making sure that it’s the right move for you and for your family.’”

Always do your research ahead of a large purchase.  

“I like to know a lot before going into a big purchase—like my car, for instance. I get online, I ask questions. I want to know what I’m getting into. What is my monthly payment going to look like? How much of it is property taxes? Can that be separated/can I do anything to help with that? How much is my homeowners insurance going to be?”

Find the joy in saving.

“When we were able to save up a bit, all of a sudden we were able to have these incredible experiences. I now associate saving money with experiences—wonderful vacations. Be a little thrifty, and then you’re able to experience these big moments.”

Embrace your relationship with money.

“Money has allowed me to do so many things. I think of education. I think of this house. I think of these trips. I think of this baby. I think it’s important to embrace the fact that money and finances can really help you in a very positive way and to manage it so that it does.”

Meet Eugene Choe, 25, who’s building his breakdancing career as a b-boy in New Jersey. After opening his own dance school, aka Loose Lee Academy, Eugene has learned to embrace his relationship with money—without allowing finances to dictate his every move.

Here are Eugene’s top tips for those looking to improve their financial health:

Find a healthy balance between saving and living.

“Some people, they just spend spend spend. Other people, they’re very frugal—like don’t want to go out. I think there needs to be a balance where, yes save your money, but also spend your money at the right time at the right moment.”

Create your own opportunities to make money.

“My friends and I, we always say that we can make money out of thin air. All that we’ve got is a speaker. But my friend and I, we can go outside and hit or busk—dance outside and make a few bucks. You can make $90 or $100 in 20 minutes. Why not?”

Give money to people in need.

“I remember my mom, even though we had tough times, she always—like religiously—made payments to [charity] World Vision. Just give money to those who are more in need, because as long as we have a roof and we have food on our table, then what more do you need? I think that as a human being, we’re so disconnected because of money, but even though it disconnects us, money can actually bring us back together.”

Use your money to gain a new skill.

“Even though my parents did not have a lot of money, they always had enough money to help me get a new skill set—like going to take SAT classes, or learning a couple instruments. That’s the value of money. Always, if it’s time and if it’s a new skill set that you could learn, then spend your money.”

 

Meet Candy Washington: a social media influencer, blogger, aspiring novelist, and budding actress who’s hustling to build her career in West Hollywood.

When Candy left behind her corporate job to pursue her passions, she was forced to take full control of her finances—and fast. Here are Candy’s top road-tested tips for those looking to improve their financial health:

Get your financial plan in order—before the money starts rolling in.

“You need to have a [financial] strategy and plan in place first—then the money can come. I used to think, ‘Oh, you know, when I make my first million, then I’ll figure out what I’m going to do with it.’ But it’s the opposite. It’s really smart to get a strategy in place, so then when you do get your come-up, you manage it correctly.”

Admit when you don’t understand something, and ask questions until you do.

“I think there’s power in speaking up and in asking questions. If there is a post to my account that I don’t understand, or if I’m getting a different APR on my credit card that’s higher than I thought it would be, I will call them and ask them, ‘What are my options?’ It goes back to opening up the conversation and admitting to not knowing, and being open to learning—not thinking you’re going to be judged, or you’re stupid, or you’re the only person who hasn’t had it figured out.”

Whenever possible, save for a rainy day.

“When I had my corporate job, I would always make sure to have one-month expenses of rent and all of my bills in my savings account, just in case, God forbid, something happened and I didn’t get any money that month.”

“I’m Candy Washington and I’m a Social Media Influencer. I grew up in upstate New York with four older sisters and my mom my father passed away when I was little so she had to raise us all by herself.

I’m really really inspired by her. She was just an amazing woman. She definitely showed me the blueprint for what it meant to be strong and independent and smart.

I always loved storytelling and I always loved writing but I definitely had this fear of saying “That’s what I want to do.” It was safe to put my passion on the side because then I didn’t have to own it.  

Success actually forced me to make a decision. I had booked a national commercial while I was in New York and simultaneously I was promoted at my job. We all have a certain level of capacity, a certain level of passion and a certain level of commitment and intention that you can bring to anything and if you spread yourself too thin, you’re doing yourself, and anything you’re trying to do, an injustice. So I got to the point where I was like I can no longer do this. I need to make that choice.

When it comes to looking back at where I started—just a little girl writing plays at church and having no connection whatsoever to fashion or entertainment or any of that.

It’s extremely humbling. I would like to tell other young people looking to do their passion or to go into a creative field to not give up and to believe in yourself.

It sounds very cliche but to know that you’re worthy and you’re worth it and you deserve to live the life that you see for yourself.”

 

Apply for a Varo Bank Account today.