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Wedding, Christmas, emergency fund—here are the top 10 financial goals people are creating and saving up for

Using data from Ally Bank, CNBC Select reveals what savers today are putting their money toward.

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Amid an ongoing global pandemic, it's no surprise that more and more Americans are putting any extra cash they have toward building an emergency fund or saving up for potential future medical bills.

Yet, in the spirit of the holiday season and with hope for a better year in 2021, consumers are also creating savings goals for things like Christmas and weddings, data from Ally Bank finds.

To see what consumers are saving up for these days, CNBC Select asked Ally Bank to provide insight into how their customers are using their Ally Online Savings Account (one of our top-rated high-yield savings accounts). One of Ally's Smart Savings Tools called "Buckets" acts as digital envelopes within a person's savings account. They allow users to categorize their savings goals, whether they be a special event or a big purchase.

Being able to visualize and personalize a specific savings goal creates an emotional attachment to help you save, which can be a powerful motivator.

According to Ally Bank, here are the top 10 bucket nicknames people are currently creating and saving up for:

  1. Wedding
  2. Christmas
  3. Emergency fund (6 out of 10 customers who have buckets have an "emergency fund" bucket)
  4. Retirement
  5. Car insurance
  6. Medical
  7. Gifts
  8. Interest
  9. Insurance
  10. Investments

Outside of these above 10 goals, Ally Bank also notes that they have seen some unique bucket names pop up this year, some of which reflect the current state of people in quarantine. These include names like "fur baby," "nursing school," "treadmill" and "my own apartment."

"What's interesting with Covid is how these buckets are influenced by things that are both micro and macro," Emily Shallal, senior director of customer strategy and innovation at Ally Bank, tells CNBC Select. She points out that savers are thinking of what's happening within their four walls but also within the greater economy.

"It's been interesting to watch patterns arise as people keep a pulse on things happening around them," Shallal says, indicating that going into December, Christmas has popped to the top. When the federal government announced student loan deferrals, she says she saw a significant amount of people start to create savings buckets for future student loan payments.

If you have any extra money to put toward your savings goals right now, it can certainly help to be organized. Ally Bank's "Buckets" are a good way to do that, or you could consider opening a second or third savings account your current bank.

Just make sure you know the fees ahead of time. Ideally, whatever savings account you use helps you get to your goals faster at no additional cost.

Learn more with CNBC Select's review of the Ally Online Savings Account: Here’s the best high-yield savings account for doing all your banking in one place

Ally Bank Online Savings Account

Ally Bank is a Member FDIC.
  • Annual Percentage Yield (APY)


  • Minimum balance


  • Monthly fee

    No monthly maintenance fee

  • Maximum transactions

    Unlimited withdrawals or transfers per statement cycle

  • Excessive transactions fee


  • Overdraft fees


  • Offer checking account?


  • Offer ATM card?

    Yes, if have an Ally checking account

Terms apply.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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