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How Long Will it Take to Save?

Thumbnail image of Alastair Hazell By Alastair Hazell. Reviewed by Chris Hindle.
Use our calculator to work out how long it might take to save towards a goal. Enter your current savings balance, savings target and the regular amounts you intend to save.

If you're planning for a future purchase or devising a strategy for saving towards a goal, you may be wondering how long it's going to take to achieve it. To assist you with working this out, we've created an easy-to-use savings goal calculator, which you can find at the top of this page. The tool will help you calculate:

  1. The date on which you will hit your savings target.
  2. How many weeks, months and years it will take.
  3. How much interest you will earn.

To use the calculator, simply enter your current savings or investment balance, your target and the regular amounts you intend to save (daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly). Easy as that.

How long to save...

In addition to the calculator, I thought it might be helpful to show some example timescales. Below is a chart showing how long it might take you to save incremental amounts from $5,000 to $100,000 from a $0 principal figure with set monthly deposits and no interest.

Savings target
25 months
17 months
13 months
50 months
34 months
25 months
100 months
67 months
50 months
150 months
100 months
75 months
200 months
134 months
100 months
250 months
167 months
125 months
300 months
200 months
150 months
350 months
234 months
175 months
400 months
267 months
200 months
450 months
300 months
225 months
500 months
334 months
250 months

Let's take a closer look at some of these figures...

How long will it take to save $10k?

If you save $200 per month it will take you 4 years and 2 months to reach $10,000. If you save $300 per month it will take you 2 years and 10 months. Saving $400 per month will mean that you reach your $10,000 target in just 2 years and 1 month. These figures assume no interest is being accumulated on your savings.

We can improve on these timescales by exploring options that yield interest. If you place your money in a high-yield savings account, you'll get the benefit of interest compounding and reach your target quicker. Here's an example with deposits being made into a savings account earning 5% annual interest.

Savings target
46 months
32 months
24 months

Let's look at another example...

How long will it take to save $100k?

If you save $400 each month, it wil take you 20 years and 10 months to reach your $100,000 target. The length of time required increases to 27 years and 10 months if you only manage to put aside $300 each month. Note that these figures again assume no interest is being earned on your savings.

Once again, if you set up a regular deposit into a high-yield savings account, you'll reach your goal quicker. Here's an example with an annual interest rate of 5%.

Savings target
22 years, 7 months
17 years, 5 months
14 years, 4 months

Looking at the comparison, the benefit of the interest compounding is clear to see. Using the example of depositing $400 per month, saving your money inside a high interest savings account earning 5% interest would help you reach your goal six and a half years sooner.

To illustrate the impact of compounding further, let's take a look at an example showing a breakdown of regular savings rates with compounded interest.

Regular saving and compound interest

The following example shows regular deposits of $100 into a savings account (at the start of each month), with $0 initial principal, at 0%, 3% and 5% annual interest rates, compounded monthly.

(0% rate)
(3% rate)
(5% rate)

As you can see, the regular deposits and interest compounding really make a big difference to the savings total.

We've covered the benefits of earning interest on savings balances to accelerate growth. But, what additional steps can you take to ensure you hit your savings goal? Let's look at a few suggestions.

Effective strategies for saving

Below is a list of ten useful tips for maximizing your savings to reach your goal more quickly: 1234

  1. Automate Your Savings - Establish automatic transfers to your savings account to ensure you consistently save without thinking about it​​​​.
  2. Set a Target Savings Rate Before Budgeting - Decide on a savings figure that challenges you, then budget your expenses around this target to accelerate your wealth building​​.
  3. Pay Off High-Interest Debt - Prioritize eliminating any high-interest debt, as the interest paid on these debts can significantly hinder your savings growth​​​​.
  4. Utilize High-Yield Savings Accounts - Store your savings in high-yield accounts to earn more interest over time, making your money work harder for you​​.
  5. Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions - Regularly review and eliminate subscriptions you no longer use or need, freeing up more funds for your savings​​.
  6. Reduce Energy Costs - Implement energy-saving practices to lower your monthly utility bills, allowing you to save more​​​​.
  7. Set Clear Savings Goals - Have specific, measurable, and time-bound goals to motivate you to save more effectively and track your progress​​.
  8. Earn Extra Income Through Side Hustles - Consider increasing your earning potential by finding additional sources of income, such as freelancing or part-time jobs​​.
  9. Maximize Employer Retirement Contributions - If your employer offers a match on retirement contributions, make sure to contribute enough to get the full match, effectively doubling that portion of your savings​​.
  10. Adopt a Savings Mindset - Consider embracing a mindset that focuses on building wealth and being frugal, rather than keeping up with social pressures to spend​​.

There are many excellent articles discussing tips and strategies in more detail. Two of our favourites are this article by Ramsey Solutions and an incredible list of 105 ideas from Jim Wang at WalletHacks.com. Finally, we've written our own article looking at saving tips specifically for young people.

When evaluating strategies, consider the following questions to tailor the approaches to your own financial situation:

  1. Where can I place my savings to maximize interest earnings?
  2. How can I make the strategy of saving as effortless as possible?

Where should I put my savings?

Look around for a good savings account that offers a high-interest rate and allows you to pay in regular amounts. Be aware that some accounts can offer you a high rate at first, before reducing down to a lower rate after a fixed period. If you look at fixed-term deposit accounts, it's worth bearing in mind that whilst they tend to offer higher rates of interest, your money may be inaccessible for a number of years, when you may need it sooner.

It's worth noting that you can get higher interest rates from other forms of investment, so you may wish to talk to an independent financial advisor for some advice.

In seeking higher interest rates through investments, be aware that there are increased levels of risk. Investments with higher returns typically carry greater risk, so evaluate your risk tolerance carefully. In addition, regularly review your investment strategy to ensure it aligns with your financial goals and the market.

How can I make my saving strategy work?

To ensure that you keep making the regular monthly transfers required to achieve your savings goal without accidentally missing a payment, consider setting up an automatic monthly payment from your deposit account into your savings or investment account. You can then rest easy that everything is taken care of so that you're sipping drinks on your beach or taking possession of your car or house keys just when you expect to, without having to save any longer to achieve your goal.

Be aware of investment risk

We'll conclude with a note on risk. Investing comes with risks, so you should never invest more than you can afford to lose. It's important to align your investments with your risk tolerance and goals, balancing the pursuit of returns against the potential for loss. Educating yourself and staying informed are key to navigating these risks effectively.

Calculator references

  1. Money Crashers. How to Maximize Your Savings Rate.
  2. CreditDonkey. How to Maximize Savings.
  3. NerdWallet. How to Save Money Now.
  4. Ramsey Solutions. How to Save Money: 23 Tips That Work.
  5. FINRA. Investing Basics - Risk.

If you have any problems using our calculator tool, please contact us.