High-yield savings accounts have become very popular. With many boasting interest rates over 5% — far greater than the average savings account interest rate — there’s no question why they’re on so many people’s minds.

This reignited interest has garnered discussion about where to find the best high-yield savings account rates. Because interest rates are always fluctuating (I’ve received 15 emails over the past year telling me that Ally increased my rate, again), and the features of many accounts are the same, there really is no “best” account. As long as the account doesn’t have any bank maintenance fees, using any HYSA is far better than using a “traditional” savings account.

My first high-yield savings account was with Ally

When I started my savings journey, I opened my Ally high-yield savings account after reading articles that compared different banks and seeing that name come up often.

Overall, I’ve been satisfied with this choice, and it’s worked well for me. I started saving my emergency fund in this account. Experts recommend you begin with an emergency fund, because it becomes incredibly challenging to save for anything else if you need to withdraw funds anytime something unexpected happens. My emergency fund allows me to create a stable foundation for my savings journey.

One thing I like about Ally is its “savings buckets” feature, which allows you to set up multiple sinking funds — or savings accounts for different goals — in one place. Many users take advantage of this benefit and use this approach to save up for their various goals. Some common “buckets” are emergency funds, holiday savings, and vacation funds.

While this is a useful strategy if it works for you, I knew that it wasn’t the one that would allow me to save the most. I decided to open another HYSA instead, because I prefer keeping my sinking funds at different banks.

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I have 2 more accounts with Capital One 360 for long-term goals

I chose to open a Capital One 360 savings account, because they had a generous new user bonus when I signed up. Capital One’s interest rate was comparable to Ally’s when I signed up, and I haven’t seen a significant difference in interest deposits. I opened this account to save for a major medical expense — InvisAlign — and I was able to reach my goal quickly due to the high interest rate, the bonus, and my sole focus on that goal.

Currently, I have one account with Ally and two with Capital One. I’ve kept my emergency fund in Ally throughout this time, and the total has rarely dipped below $6,000 (roughly six months of bare-bone necessities for me). I receive my monthly interest deposit every month, which is a nice little bonus that helps keep the fund padded.

My Capital One accounts are more active. I use the savings account for longer-term savings (right now, an upcoming extended time off from work) and the checking account for shorter-term goals, like buying a new iPad.

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I allocate different amounts to each of my accounts each month

Using these accounts in this manner has allowed me to reach a number of goals over the past three years that may have seemed impossible on a teacher’s salary (a $5,000 car, $6,000 InvisAlign, my $5,000-plus trip to the Maldives, and now a long-term break from work).

Once my emergency fund was where I needed it to be, I consistently allocated $100 to $200 a month to the other accounts and made those the priority. This often meant declining other things I may have wanted — I buy very few material items — and instead prioritizing what was most important to me. Using high-yield savings accounts with high interest rates helped, allowing me to get a small bonus deposit each month.

As the excitement about HYSAs continues to bloom, I recommend not spending too much time stressing about which account is the “best” and just getting started. I read more articles than I needed to and ended up opening different accounts anyway.

With interest rates varying between 4% and 5.50% and always changing, I’m happy with most HYSAs without fees. Small, consistent deposits and sinking funds placed in different accounts have allowed my savings to add up faster than I might have thought was possible.

This article was originally published in August 2023.

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