jar of cash

@lira_n4/Twenty20

Like anything in life—whether it’s getting back in the dating game after a bad breakup or finally starting your workout regimen—half the battle is just getting started.

Starting that savings account you’ve been putting off is no exception! Once you get it kicked off, though, the rest can be cake; as long as you have a bit of self-discipline and stash your cash in the right spot.

Here’s your step-by-step guide for saving at every stage!

$0

Forget any stereotype you had about saving; there are banks out there that don’t require a minimum balance, offer pretty good interest rates, and don’t have monthly maintenance fees! A few standout rates currently include Ally Bank and Synchrony’s APY of 1.20 percent, which isn’t too shabby.

It’s worth noting that many of these banks—like Ally Bank and Synchrony—are online banks, which is a smart spot for banking beginners to stash their cash. Online banks often have lower operating costs, so they can offer competitive rates without bogus fees.

$1

TFW you find a crumpled dollar at the bottom of your bag and you feel RICH… just kidding. But seriously, saving money starts with $1! One saving method that is popular among penny-pinchers is saving every $1, $5 or $10 bill they get their hands on. Your stash of cash will grow faster than you think.

Need a place to put all those dolla dolla bills? There are banks that require a minimum deposit of just $1. Interest rates at a few of these banks are really competitive—including a 1.40 percent APY from DollarSavingsDirect and a 1.30 percent APY at BankPurely.

$100

Zero to 100 real quick, am I right? Kidding, but if you get a windfall (maybe grandma slipping you a hundy in a birthday card or winning a cash prize at your company’s offsite), then set it aside and start saving! Try starting with $100 as the amount you automatically transfer from your paycheck into a savings account; it’s not a crippling amount of cash, but enough to give you a solid start on your savings.

There are a number of banks that require minimum deposits of just $100, but be wary of ones that offer monthly maintenance fees, and snag one with a high APY.

P.S. There’s a handy table at the bottom of this post, so you can easily shop the best savings accounts rates. Keep scrolling!

$1,000

When you start seeing commas in your bank account balance, it’s a really good feeling. It’s also the perfect time to re-evaluate if your money is really stashed in the best spot, and whether you should move it to a higher-yielding account that you now might qualify for.

Many money market accounts actually require minimum deposits of $500 or $1,000, so that might be the money move you prefer. The major, differentiating factor of money market accounts is that they allow a limited number of checks to be drawn from the account each month. I did a quick search, however, and found the most competitive APYs are currently coming from savings accounts as opposed to money markets. Could be worth exploring, though.

$5,000

Yasss girl, you’ve hit the sweet spot of saving. With $5,000, you’ve built up a solid foundation for an emergency savings fund, which is essential for being financially fit. It’s generally recommended to have enough in your emergency savings account to cover four to seven months of expenses, so that if you lose your job or get sick, you have funds to fall back on.

Now, stash that emergency savings fund in an account that offers you competitive interest, so you can really maximize your money.

$10,000

MAKE IT RAIN!! Seriously, $10,000 is an amazing stash of savings to strive for, and you should definitely shop around a bit to find the perfect home for your growing fortune. Once you reach this level of savings, those APYs actually can make a significant difference in the amount of interest you earn on your account.

PurePoint Financial—for example—requires a minimum of $10,000 to open an online savings account with a 1.30 percent APY, which will yield $130 in interest a year. Keep that savings account open and untouched, and over the course of five years you’ll score about $667 in compounded interest. Not bad for having a little self-discipline.

Check out the rate table below for all of your options when choosing which bank account is right for your savings situation!