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Savings accounts that force you to save

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Saving money is easier said than done. Without a strict regimen, it's nearly impossible to stick to a savings plan. In order to help, we've dug up a few alternative methods of setting aside money. These methods automatically deposit money into your savings account when you do things like use your debit card or pay your bills online. So whether you're saving for a short-term goal, like a new high-end LCD TV, or just looking to fatten your emergency funds, these methods below are simple ways for the lazy person to save money. And of course, all of these services are from traditional banks (not investment banks) and are FDIC-insured.

Wachovia Way2Save
How it works: This program automatically transfers $1 from your Wachovia checking account to your Way2Save savings account every time you make a debit card purchase or schedule an electronic payment. To help boost your earnings, Wachovia offers a 5% APY and a 5% banking bonus (up to $300) on your accumulated savings for the first year.
Small Print: Your Way2Save account must be linked to a Wachovia checking account. (Neither account requires any fees.) In addition, you're only allowed to transfer up to $100 into your Way2Save account each month via automatic debits. After your first year of membership, your APY and annual bonus both drop to 2%.
We say: This account is worth opening if you have modest savings goals. Unfortunately, the APY on this account drops after the first year, but luckily you can take your money and transfer it elsewhere with no fees or penalties.

Bank of America Keep the Change
How it works: Each time you purchase something with your Bank of America debit card, BofA will round up your purchase to the nearest whole dollar and transfer the difference from your checking account to your savings account. For the first three months, BofA will match 100% of your Keep the Change transfers and contribute 5% per year (up to $250 annually).
Small Print: To enroll, you must visit a BofA branch in person. Rewards cards are not eligible for the match (only personal accounts). BofA's Regular Savings account requires a $25 minimum opening balance and pays a paltry .20% APY.
We say: Kudos to BofA for offering one of the most unique savings programs available. However, unless you use your debit card ferociously, the amount of money you save with this program will be very small, and that measly .20% APY isn't helping either.

Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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