This article is by staff writer Megan Wells.

Looking to save versus spend? Eager to sock money away not just for a rainy day but potentially for stormy months, even years, ahead?

Consider heading to the Heartland.

The Midwest is home to some of the very best places to save money and get ahead in the U.S., according to a new analysis by Get Rich Slowly.

To find out which parts of the U.S. exemplify a “super saving” ethos, we dug into government and private data, seeking places where residents deposit more money in federally insured banks, carry the least amount of credit card debt, and happily snip and clip coupons to pay less than the next guy. And, perhaps predictably, taxes played a central role in states whose residents seem to save the most. Of the seven states without a personal income tax, three made our top-10 list of best states for saving money.

Our research also led us to discover some of the most challenging places for savers. The themes there were just as pronounced: High taxes and plenty of debt conspired to keep savings rates there among the lowest in the nation. Places like Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii all showed signs of savings struggles.

They are not isolated cases. In all, we’re no longer a nation of savers. It appears today, in many places, we’re a nation of recession-scarred survivors accustomed to discussing nest eggs and safety nets in hushed tones, if at all.

Our analysis

Get Rich Slowly used a weighted-average method with the following factors and sources. States which scored the highest overall were deemed the best states for saving.

  • Total deposits per capita (30%): Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) data on deposits per state was divided by the state population to find total deposits per capita. States with a higher total of deposits per capita were given the highest score in this category. (Totals are written per thousand.)

  • Credit card debt by state (30%): Average credit card debt per household by state as measured by Equifax, a leading credit-scoring agency. States with the least amount of credit card debt were ranked the highest in this category.

  • Highest marginal income tax rate by state (30%): States with the highest marginal income tax, according to state tax laws, scored the lowest. States that taxed income less, if at all, were given a higher score here.

  • Coupons printed by state (10%): Using proprietary data that Coupons.com shared with Get Rich Slowly, we ranked coupons printed by state. States that printed the most coupons through Coupons.com were ranked the highest in this category.


How do super savers do it? Meet the Economides family of Scottsdale, Arizona. They saved their way to nearly $1 million in assets raising five children on about $40,000-a-year.


Key takeaways

  • The lack of credit card debt helped boost the profile of several states, with six in the top 10 boasting average household debt balances below the national average of $5,116.
  • South Carolina has an average credit card debt lower than six of the states in the top 10, but the fourth worst deposit rate in the country, landing the Palmetto State among the worst states for saving.
  • While total coupons printed per state can rely heavily on population size, North Carolinians proved to be extra-savvy clippers, placing sixth in total coupons despite a population rank of ninth.
  • Don’t venture too far west to seek a serious savings lifestyle. While Nevada placed fourth on the best-states-for-saving list, Oregon, Hawaii, Alaska, Idaho, California and New Mexico all scored in the bottom 10 of the study.

How did your state measure up? Click on a state to reveal its statistics below the map.

Top 10 best states for saving 2015

1. South Dakota

South Dakota, a state notorious for lackadaisical banking laws, managed to create the most advantageous climate for financial success.

Perhaps those laws enable a transient community in the oil industry to put more money in the banks without affecting the overall population, thereby over-inflating deposits per capita. Couple that with no state income tax it is hard to escape the logic that with more money staying in individual paychecks, putting cash in the bank gets a lot easier.

  • Deposits per capita: $489.91
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 0 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,355
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $1,306,664.19

2. North Dakota

This Great Plains state is the third-least populous state in the United States, but it ranks in the 81st percentile for deposits per capita.

Basically, the few people who call North Dakota home are making a big splash in the deposits world. Quite possibly, the abundance of fossil fuels in this area has made it so that this state’s residents can thrive financially, but it may also be that they’re just diligent when it comes to saving.

  • Deposits per capita: $33.60
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 3.22 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,414
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $1,054,767.67

3. North Carolina

By national standards, the middle-of-the-road income tax in North Carolina is high for this top-10 list, but they still rank No. 3 as a best state for saving.

North Carolina proves to be a state of coupon-clippers. They ranked sixth on the Coupons.com list for the amount of savings earned through the website while ranking ninth for population.

  • Deposits per capita: $34.18
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 5.8 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,799
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $26,187,308.29

4. Nevada

If Nevadans can avoid the abundance of slot machines sprinkled throughout the state, then residents are set up to save.

Ranked the seventh state for deposits per capita and one of seven states that does not collect any income tax, Nevada has proven to be a great state for saving.

  • Deposits per capita: $52.33
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 0 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $5,276
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $3,572,877.88

5. Illinois

Holding the highest average credit card debt per household of the top 10 states, could the stereotypical “frugal Midwestern” theory crack?

Not so fast. Illinois makes its debut as the fifth best state for saving. The fact that income taxes dropped 1.25 percent from the 2014-2015 tax seasons makes the 3.75 percent income tax one of the lowest in the nation.

  • Deposits per capita: $33.81
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 3.75 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $5,541
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $24,584,595.63

6. Texas

Everything is bigger in Texas – including the ability to save. The exports industry in Texas surely plays a large part in the financial well-being of this state.

In addition to the 0 percent income tax rate, Texas ranked third, nationally, for the amount of money saved by using Coupons.com. Save on, Texas!

  • Deposits per capita: $26.70
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 0 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $5,320
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $36,366,548.17

7. Utah

The census recently rated Utah as one of the fastest growing states in the U.S.

In part, new growth is being fueled by high-tech companies relocating to the state, and perhaps the influx will lead to a change in deposits per capita in the near future; but for now, the state will stay ranked third, nationally, as most deposits per capita.

  • Deposits per capita: $152.43
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 5 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $5,108
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $3,145,413.44

8. Pennsylvania

Home to the first nationally chartered bank and the sixth largest bank in the United States, it seems only natural that Pennsylvania would make it on the list of top states for saving.

Although its impact on the overall score was smaller than other factors, Pennsylvania proves to be a super saver state with coupons as well. The only other state in our top 10 to beat out Pennsylvania’s coupon-clipping habits is Texas.

  • Deposits per capita: $24.90
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 3.07 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $5,273
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $31,140,722.85

9. Missouri

Missouri ranks in the 70th percentile in all categories — the consistency of high-ranking scores in each category is what helped Missouri clench its spot on this list.

Missouri has the highest marginal income tax rate of the top 10, though, which kept the Show Me State from rising higher.

  • Deposits per capita: $26.01
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 6 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,525
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $10,751,593.19

10. Oklahoma

Oklahoma has the lowest credit card debt of all states on the top-10 list, a huge indicator of financial freedom.

However, the low amount of deposits per capita (38th percentile) was detrimental to Oklahoma’s proof of savings ability.

  • Deposits per capita: $20.48
  • Highest marginal income tax rate: 5.25 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,126
  • Savings per Coupons.com: $5,755,309.21

The data at a glance

You can easily peruse our data in the table below. The default view shows the top 10 states for saving, but you can filter the table for a particular state or show the entire data set by selecting “100” in the “Show entries” field. The table can be sorted on any column as well.

Rank State Deposits Per Capita (in thousands) 30% Highest Marginal Income Tax Rate 30% Credit Card Debt 30% Savings Per Coupons.com 10%
Rank State Deposits Per Capita (in thousands) 30% Highest Marginal Income Tax Rate 30% Credit Card Debt 30% Savings Per Coupons.com 10%
1 South Dakota $489.91 0% $4,355 $1,306,664.19
2 North Dakota $33.60 3.22% $4,414 $1,054,767.67
3 North Carolina $34.18 5.8% $4,799 $26,187,308.29
4 Nevada $52.33 0% $5,276 $3,572,877.88
5 Illinois $33.81 3.75% $5,541 $24,584,595.63
6 Texas $26.70 0% $5,320 $36,366,548.17
7 Utah $152.43 5% $5,108 $3,145,413.44
8 Pennsylvania $24.90 3.07% $5,273 $31,140,722.85
9 Missouri $26.01 6% $4,525 $10,751,593.19
10 Oklahoma $20.48 5.25% $4,126 $5,755,309.21
11 Alabama $18.33 5% $4,181 $12,503,090.87
12 Louisiana $20.68 6% $4,096 $6,013,075.62
13 Wyoming $23.84 0% $4,725 $450,551.30
14 Indiana $16.37 3.4% $4,385 $11,515,323.06
15 Kansas $22.91 4.8% $4,597 $5,758,210.64
16 Michigan $17.85 4.25% $4,504 $16,094,397.13
17 Florida $23.24 0% $5,651 $48,272,253.7
18 Ohio $23.42 5.33% $4,734 $23,264,204.48
19 Massachusetts $51.32 5.15% $5,960 $12,594,357.39
20 Tennessee $18.65 6% $4,210 $16,525,725.12
21 Mississippi $16.00 5% $3,476 $3,746,853.52
22 Iowa $24.36 8.98% $4,089 $4,221,497.76
23 Nebraska $30.87 6.84% $4,661 $3,055,322.6
24 Wisconsin $23.71 7.65% $4,455 $10,356,550.95
25 Kentucky $16.15 6% $3,918 $8,855,639.33
26 New York $65.49 8.82% $5,861 $31,887,896.77
27 Minnesota $46.70 9.85% $5,087 $8,221,588.41
28 Arkansas $18.14 7% $3,768 $3,561,581.06
29 West Virginia $16.76 6.5% $3,938 $3,410,835.75
30 Delaware $444.14 6.6% $5,887 $1,135,602.05
31 Maine $28.41 7.95% $4,808 $3,779,399.27
32 District of Columbia $62.70 8.95% $5,578 $5,525,639.59
33 Virginia $28.82 5.75% $6,606 $16,601,242.49
34 Montana $20.14 6.9% $4,425 $662,550.81
35 Georgia $19.51 6% $5,268 $25,950,499.32
36 Connecticut $31.47 6.7% $6,558 $6,920,845.89
37 Rhode Island $25.65 5.99% $5,699 $2,754,442.44
38 Washington $17.42 0% $5,775 $5,225,755.81
39 Arizona $14.44 4.54% $5,068 $10,654,877.23
40 Colorado $20.43 4.63% $5,926 $4,022,546.39
41 New Hampshire $21.78 5% $6,154 $4,646,026.46
42 New Jersey $32.03 8.97% $7,112 $19,479,073.96
43 South Carolina $14.47 7% $4,572 $10,970,986.03
44 New Mexico $13.56 4.9% $4,667 $1,293,225.67
45 California $27.99 13.3% $6,146 $49,107,131.53
46 Maryland $20.68 5.75% $6,710 $12,707,579.25
47 Vermont $18.80 8.95% $4,882 $1,074,403.11
48 Idaho $12.57 7.4% $4,554 $1,583,986.97
49 Alaska $14.47 0% $7,609 $339,158.42
50 Hawaii $25.77 11% $6,906 $1,692,511.79
51 Oregon $15.61 9.9% $4,976 $3,637,717.65

The 10 worst states for saving 2015

A penny saved is a penny earned – unless you live in Oregon, or any of the other states to make this list.

Looking at the data, we saw that the worst states for saving were largely found on the West Coast. What caused such a lackluster performance in the savings categories? A combination of low deposits per capita and high income tax rates have proven to be a challenge for residents in these states that hope to set up a large nest egg.

These 10 states exemplified the worst saving patterns, according to our data.

1. Oregon

The very low deposits per capita in Oregon were a main contributor to the lowest ranking state for savings.

Ranking 51st (including the District of Columbia), Oregon fell in the 30th percentile for deposits per capita ranking 46th of all states.

In addition, Oregon’s dreadfully high income tax rate is making it harder for Oregonians to put money in the bank.

  • Deposits per capita: $15.61
  • Highest marginal income tax: 9.9 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,976
  • Savings per Coupons.com data: $3,637,717.65

2. Hawaii

The 11.0 percent income tax in Hawaii is the second highest in the nation, just barely behind California.

Hawaii also has the third worst credit card debt in the country. Mixing the high income tax and the high credit card debt has not proven to be a good recipe for savings success in the Aloha state unfortunately.

  • Deposits per capita: $25.77
  • Highest marginal income tax: 11 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $6,906
  • Savings per Coupons.com data: $1,692,511.79

3. Alaska

Alaska households have the highest credit card debt in the entire nation at a whopping $7,609.

Perhaps the Last Frontier should consider coupon-clipping to avoid escalating credit card debt. When it came to utilizing the offerings of Coupons.com, Alaska ranked 51st on the list of states.

Alaska’s 0 percent income tax proves that even states with the best income tax laws still experience money obstacles that prevent effective saving.

  • Deposits per capita: $14.47
  • Highest marginal income tax: 0 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $7,609
  • Savings per Coupons.com data: $339,158.42

4. Idaho

At least hiking through Idaho’s gorgeous terrain is free.

Idaho claims the title as the state with the lowest amount of deposits per capita in the entire nation, which is somewhat surprising considering its small population.

In total, there is $20,551,233 resting in Idaho’s FDIC institutions.

  • Deposits per capita: $12.57
  • Highest marginal income tax: 7.4 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,554
  • Savings per Coupons.com data: $1,583,986.97

5. Vermont

Vermont is the first of three northeastern states to make the list, and a small one at that. Vermont is the second least populous state in the United States.

The 8.95 percent marginal income tax rate in Vermont is a national high, the seventh highest in the nation to be exact.

  • Deposits per capita: $18.80
  • Highest marginal income tax: 8.95 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,882
  • Savings per Coupons.com data: $1,074,403.11

6. Maryland

Of each category taken into consideration for the best and worst saving states, Maryland scored the worst in credit card debt. The state has an average credit card debt per household of $6,710, the fourth highest in the nation.

Maryland scored the highest in coupon-clipping rankings, but unfortunately their overall score wasn’t high enough to keep them off the worst-states-for-saving list.

  • Deposits per capita: $20.68
  • Highest marginal income tax: 5.75 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $6,710
  • Savings per Coupons.com data: $12,707,579.25

7. California

California’s income tax is the highest in the nation at 13.3 percent.

Although California ranked highest in the Coupons.com clipping survey, the high income tax, high credit card debt, and mid-range score for deposits per capita prove that California is not golden when it comes to saving.

Thanks to the tech boom and entertainment industry, California does have quite a bit of money in the bank—if only the population wasn’t so high.

  1. Deposits per capita:$27.99
  2. Highest marginal income tax: 13.3 percent
  3. Average credit card debt: $6,146
  4. Savings per Coupons.com data: $49,107,131.53

8. New Mexico (tie)

The Land of Enchantment maintained a competitive score in each category considered by Get Rich Slowly when you look at savings apart from deposits per capita.

New Mexico was actually the second lowest state for deposits per capita in the nation.

  • Deposits per capita: $13.56
  • Highest marginal income tax: 4.9 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,667
  • Savings per Coupons.com data: $1,293,225.67

9. South Carolina (tie)

Not far behind New Mexico in the deposits category, South Carolina was the fourth lowest state for deposits per capita in the nation.

The 7 percent income tax is the highest tax bracket in South Carolina, which affects anyone who earns over $14,401. Yikes.

  • Deposits per capita: $14.47
  • Highest marginal income tax: 7 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $4,562
  • Savings per Coupons.com data: $10,970,986.03

10. New Jersey

Just barely lower than Alaska’s credit card debt, New Jersey has the second-highest average credit card debt in the nation, which is the leading cause for the Garden State’s position on the worst-states-for-saving list.

The other downfall for New Jersey is its 8.97 percent income tax which hovers around the 40th percentile for the entire nation.

  • Deposits per capita: $32.03
  • Highest marginal income tax: 8.97 percent
  • Average credit card debt: $7,112
  • Savings per Coupons.com data: $19,479,073.96

Looking to save? We have the latest rates:


The trend line

The ratio of personal income saved, as compared to the amount of personal net disposable income available, has been on a steady downward slide since the 1970s. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, that savings marker went from an all-time-high of 17 percent in May of 1975 to just about 5 percent today.

source: tradingeconomics.com

What’s next?

Top-10 lists always make great fodder for the water cooler. And while we found the results surprising in many ways, we also think this is actionable information.

Would moving to South Dakota be the best thing for your pocketbook, or would North Carolina be a better choice? Now that you know a little about what makes each place great for saving, you can keep that in mind if you’re faced with a career move, for example, or are just starting out.

Others may decide to keep a tighter focus on the discretionary spending that leads to escalating credit card debt. It may also be cause for concern as some realize the uphill battle they will have building their savings.

We will be profiling American families who have become successful savers in this space in weeks to come, but we’d love to hear your savings story. How do you scrimp and save? Is it possible to save effectively if you live in one of the worst states for saving?

If you would like to be profiled email Editor Linda Vergon at lvergon@getrichslowly.org.

GRS is committed to helping our readers save and achieve their financial goals. Savings interest rates may be low, but that is all the more reason to shop for the best rate. Find the highest savings interest rates and CD rates from Synchrony Bank, Ally Bank, and more.