Saving Money with Wachovia's Way2Save

By glblguy

Wachovia way2save

Wachovia bank recently announced a new program called Way2Save. If you watched the super bowl last night, you were bound to see a few ads for the program. The Wachovia Way2Save program works by automatically transferring $1 from your Wachovia checking account into a high interest (5.00% APY) Way2Save savings account for each dollar you spend when you:

  • Use your Wachovia bank check card to make purchases
  • Pay a bill online, including through Wachovia Online Banking and BillPay
  • Set up automatic debits

As part of the overall promotion, there is a current bonus promotion where Wachovia will award you an annual bonus for the first 3 years of the program as follows:

  • 1st year – 5% of the eligible balance(i.e. the sum of your $1 transfers up to $300 or your Way2Save balance, whichever is less)
  • 2nd year – 2% of the eligible balance up to $300
  • 3rd year – 2% of the eligible balance up to $300

For those of you that have been struggling to save, this is a really great program that will not only “force” you to save, but will pay you a bonus for doing so. Wachovia provides a calculator that allows you to enter different spending amounts and determine your overall savings.

Don’t have Wachovia accounts? No problem, they offer a Wachovia free checking account and you can even get a $50 bonus right now.

A few concerns with Way2Save

I do have a few concerns about the program, but if you exercise good judgment and planning they can be mitigated:

  • Way2Save will make budgeting a little more difficult
  • Some people will spend more to save more

Budgeting with Way2Save

I would suggest looking back over your past 2-3 months of bank statements and determine the average amount you spend on debit card transactions and bill pay. Use this average as a baseline for your budget, and put a line item in your budget for this amount for the Way2Save program. For example, if you generally conduct 50 debit card transactions per month, than you would add a Way2Save line item under Savings Expenses for $50.00.

Spending more to save more

Some people may be inclined to spend more to save more and get a higher bonus. Please don’t do this. It does make sense to use your debit card and bill pay for as many of your normal transactions as you can, but don’t spend more. Keep the same levels of spending you’ve had (or less), but look for opportunities to use bill pay and your debit card more.

Making the most with Way2Save

Here are a few savings tips to get the most from the program:

  • Create goals, both short term and long term for your savings.
  • Create and follow a budget to avoid overspending
  • Save for retirement using a retirement account (401k, Roth, or IRA)
  • Track your spending – Use a budgeting program (like You Need A Budget) or some other software to track and manage your spending
  • Save your unexpected windfalls – Receive a tax refund, bonus or raise? Don’t spend them, save them
  • Be patient – It takes time to build savings and wealth. Note the name and scripture verse for this blog.

To really optimize the program, read this article over on the Hustler Money Blog.

Any thoughts on the Way2Save program? Think it’s a good deal? Have you signed up for it? Add a comment!

21 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Saving Money with Wachovia's Way2Save”

  1. Lynnae @ Says:

    Sounds like a great program. Now I just need to wait for a Wachovia to open near me. :)

  2. Justin Says:

    So, what happens if you have $50 in your account and make 9 $5 check card purchases? Do you go $4 into the red and get charged bounce fees?

  3. deepali Says:

    I’m not sure this makes sense to me. You make a purchase on your check card, and Wachovia transfers an equivalent amount into a savings account? So if you draw down your checking account every month, this isn’t the best plan for you. And if you don’t, you probably already have a savings plan.
    I suppose there are those people who keep all their money sitting in their checking account, but wouldn’t it make more sense to just open a savings account and sweep all the extra money in? Wachovia should just offer a bonus for opening the account.

    I am clearing missing something. :)

  4. Mrs. Micah Says:

    Dollar for dollar? Well, if it’s the only way to get the money into that account I suppose one could come up with a budget to fit it. But I’d rather be in more control of my savings…knowing that money is disappearing from my account makes me nervous. Especially since I don’t think our financial situation is steady enough to have that much money in checking anyway.

    Does Way2Save work as an overdraft account for the linked checking, just in case?

  5. glblguy Says:

    @Justin – No, they have overdraft protection. The $1 transfers will not allow you to overdraft due to them.

    @deepali – It’s a way to encourage people who aren’t saving to save. It automates the process, and pays them a bonus for doing so. It’s also the only way to get a high interest bearing account with Wachovia. Frankly, it’s higher than most other high interest bearing accounts, including ING.

    @Mrs. Michah – I agree, the only thing that has made me think about trying it is the bonus and high interest rate. No, it does not work as an overdraft account, at least not that I aware of.

  6. Come on... Says:

    Hey, fruitcake, you missed the point of this program altogether!

    Wachovia doesn’t transfer a dollar for every *dollar* you spend, they transfer a dollar for every *TRANSACTION*. It’s very similar to the Bank of America “Keep the Change” program. BoA rounds up each transaction to the nearest dollar, and auto-deposits the extra “change” (the difference) into your savings account.

    …and another thing – please don’t mix your religious beliefs with your financial blogging. You almost lost me for good with Christian Lyrics post a few days ago. Boooooooooooooo. Keep on topic, please!!

  7. Lisa Spinelli Says:

    This seems a bit too complicated for my tastes. I can imagine forgetting some rule or other and getting stuck with an exorbitant fee of some sort. I’ll stick to just transfering the money myself.

  8. glblguy Says:

    Thanks “Come on” for so kindly pointing out my error, I appreciate it. In the first part of the article I stated it was a dollar transfer per transaction, then later in the article showed an example that implied a $1 or $1 match. My apologies, mistake on my part. The article has been corrected.

    @Come on – Thanks for the correction. If you want personal finance without my Christian faith thrown in, you are reading the wrong blog. My other readers seem to appreciate it very much. Note my 4th most popular article is a Sunday lyrics post. Thanks for reading and for pointing out the error.

  9. Lynnae @ Says:

    @Come on – The first line of glblguy’s about page says “Gather Little by Little is a personal finance blog with a Christian perspective.” I’d say he’s right on topic!

    (and I appreciate the Christian perspective)

  10. justin Says:

    Re: The religious stuff. Some of us tolerate it, rather than appreciate it. However, it’s pretty easy to ignore.

  11. deepali Says:

    Oh, I see what I missed – the $1 per transaction, not $1 per $1. Well, now it makes more sense to me. :)

    And if it’s the only way to get a high-interest account – now THAT makes sense. Thanks for clearing up!

  12. Ron@TheWisdomJournal Says:

    More and more banks are coming up with promotions like this. It just goes to show you that people CAN save if they want to. Imagine how much the Federal Government could save up under a similar program . . . 900 kajillion checks per year is a lot of dollar bills!

  13. Roshawn @ Watson Inc Says:

    This is very much like BOA’s Keep the Change program, which I have had for about a year and a half. I have no complaints because it pays me for spending money that I would need to spend anyway.

  14. Sean Says:

    Thank you for a very informative article. This sound like a good program for those of us who save in little ways without the hassle. One of the things we do (like so many others) is use a mason jar for loose change. That helps boost savings from cash transactions, this could be a double whammy for debit transactions!!

    I do not know if I will sign up, we are fairly happy with ING, but definately will do some more research.

    I for one enjoy the Christian aspect of this blog, so please do not change anything. Those who do not appreciate it have a whole plethora of personal finance blogs available w/o the Christian faith. They might wish to read the second half of Proverbs 13:22 as well.

    May God bless you and your family.

  15. glblguy Says:

    @Sean – Thanks Sean, no plans to change :-)

  16. Lisa Spinelli Says:

    Glad you’re not changing. Live and let live, if you ask me. ISn’t that one of the treats of being an American in this world? I enjoy your Christian perspective. It kind of makes your blog unique.


  17. RobY Says:

    Thanks for pointing this program out glblguy. I used the calculator (link above in article) and found over 3 years I would earn $316 in bonuses and interest based on a steady $130 in monthly transfers (my max without changing spending habits).

    If I already banked at Wachovia then I would be tempted to signup. However, for my personal circumstances that is not enough to get me to switch banks… for others it will be. Instead, in my case I will put that same money ($4,996) to work on my existing debts.

    When considering a program like this I would urge people to make sure they really understand their finances, how the program works inside and out and how it applies to their personal situation. Is it a gimmick? Would it change you behavior (or increase the risk)? Is it a good fit for your existing financial plan (i.e. free money) or will you be making changes to your plan (that you might not fully understand).

    Most importantly, I would look at it from the sellers point of view. Does Wachovia just want the warm fuzzy feeling of knowing they helped you or do their benefits run much deeper? After all superbowl ads don’t come cheap. I don’t mind the seller of a product making money but I also want to make sure I didn’t let my guard down.

    In the hands of the right person this may be a good program. If it causes you to lose focus and change your behavior then it may be a CHEETAH (I would be curious to hear Dave Ramsey’s take on it).

    I enjoy your blog… it gets me to thinking.

  18. Matt Keegan Says:

    I just signed up today — it looks like the Wachovia program could be a good thing.

    We’ve used automatic withdrawals for years, taking money out for college funds, retirement, Christmas, and vacations. My only recommendation for users is to keep tabs via online banking to see how this program works for them. I’m sure it’ll be a good one, but like any financial arrangement, managing it is important.

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