Tangerine Bank Recipes: Save More Than Ever


The Tangerine Bank Recipes are “rules” that Tangerine will apply to increase the amount of money you save through everyday purchases. Whether you want to round up purchases or save a percentage of your paycheque, there’s a recipe for that.

Using the Tangerine Bank Recipes right can help you save for almost any goal without extra effort!

Get up to $200 in free cash by opening a chequing account with Tangerine with at least $100, and setting up direct deposit or two recurring bill payments. To learn more and sign up, click HERE!

What are Tangerine Recipes?

Tangerine Recipes are automatic savings actions you direct Tangerine will take with your day-to-day banking. There are 7 recipe templates to choose from, and Tangerine lets you have up to 10 recipes running at once. Mix and match the recipes below to make the absolute most of your own spending habits and bring goals into your reach. The seven recipes to pick from are:

  • Stash
  • Top Up
  • Sports
  • The 52 Week Challenge
  • Round-Up
  • Pay Yourself First
  • Tax My Habits

We’ll do a bit of dive into each one below!

How to Set Up Tangerine Recipes

Finding and setting up Tangerine Recipes is easy. Simply log into your Tangerine Account. If you don’t have one, you can set one up here. 

 If you look at the top and to the right of “Insights” you’ll see a little tab called Recipes. This is where Tangerine really shines. Recipes are essentially automated “rules” that the bank will execute for you whenever certain conditions (that you set) are met. Select different types of transactions or account balances and the recipes will do the rest to move your money where you want it to go.

Reach Your Goals Faster

Right now my husband and I are working on a lot of different goals; saving for a new car, working on paying down as much debt as aggressively as possible, and finding ways to boost our household income. We’ve been using Tangerine as our bank for several years, and cannot recommend it enough for someone who needs a no-fee unlimited chequing account and a decently high online savings account option.

The Seven Recipes Broken Down

The 7 Tangerine recipes available to you are below:


Whenever the balance in an account of your choice increases past a set amount Tangerine will automatically move the surplus to another account of your choice. This is really useful for anyone who has a steady budget and income stream and it can forward any extra money. Even small amounts like a kickback from eBates, which Bridget just did a full review on here, can be sent directly to a savings goal.

Top Up

If the balance in your account ever falls below a certain amount, Top Up will immediately pull funds (if available) from another account to bring the original back up. While this is useful to make sure you don’t fall into overdraft, use it with utmost caution. Top Up could sabotage your savings accounts if you aren’t diligently keeping track of your spending.


This one is a lot of fun! Whenever your team wins (or loses if you’re a little masochistic), Tangerine can move a set amount from one account to another. You can choose teams from the NBA, NHL, NFL, and MLB.

The 52-Week Challenge

While not the best way to save, it is still a popular way of getting people into the habit of savings. Once a week on a day you choose $1 will transfer from one account to another. $2 will transfer the next week, and $3 the following, all the way up until $52 leaves your account on the last week of the year.


This is a feature offered by other banks as well, but Tangerine goes a little further in that they let you mix this with other recipes too. Essentially, every purchase you make on designated cards will be rounded up to the nearest $1, $2, or $5. That difference will be moved into another savings account of your choice. This is a great way to painlessly save towards some of your savings goals. This also makes it much easier to track your spending day to day in a spending journal.

Pay Yourself First

Whenever a paycheque hits your account, a set amount will immediately move to savings. This ensures you are always saving and you don’t get the chance to spend it first.

Tax My Habits

This is the one recipe template I would recommend you use multiple versions of. You can select from a variety of categories that may suit your habits; booze, shoes, food, coffee, etc.

Whatever your vice is, Tangerine probably has a category for it. Just select the habit you want to “tax” and then tell Tangerine how much it should tax you up to 8% of the purchase price. From then on the bank will take an extra amount from each card tap and put it into a savings account.

There is a downside here in that you need to rely on Tangerine’s filter to categorize the correct purchases to the right group. For a while, my coffee habit was evading the tax I had placed on it because Tangerine had labelled my favourite cafes as fast-food instead of coffee shops. You can recategorize the different purchases you make in your account transaction overview and help the automated system learn as you go.

Make sure you “Tangerine-Pick” the best for You

These recipes are best when you mix and match. Lining up some of your worst habits with a good budget and some common sense can really help you make a dent in a savings goal. Here’s how I’ve been using them over the past month to put some extra cash into my emergency fund without feeling too much of a pinch.

  1. Turned on Tax My Habits for coffee, and set it to 8%.
    • I spend about $100 a month on coffee. It’s high, but it’s probably where I spend the most money on food and its how I start my day. 8% of $100 = $8.00
  2. Using Round-Up and setting it to $2.
    • This alone has made even the mental load of keeping track of my spending so much easier. Now when I buy something I don’t look at the decimal. I just round to the nearest $2 and write that into my spending tracker. This makes it so much easier to track my spending day to day. Every bit of extra, if it’s a penny or $1.99 adds up so quickly in a savings account. So far this month it’s tossed an extra $89 into my savings.
  3. Pay Yourself First set to 10%.
    • This is classic advice from almost every personal finance blog and guru. It’s just a lot harder to do so when your income is variable like mine is. To save 10% of my paycheque before this rule existed meant I had to check my paystub and create a transfer for the 10% before my paycheque hit my account. This recipe has made it easier to avoid the temptation of adding to my collection of random tech toys.  Instead, it goes right to savings without my input or visual.

Where the Tangerine Bank Recipes fall a little Short

Right now the accounts have to be inside Tangerine’s umbrella. This is fine until you realize that you can still see all of the money sitting pretty in a savings account. The money is still there, and still in plain view which can make it harder to adhere to more strict goals. To help sort this out you can set up an automatic transfer with a different bank or service to clear the “holding account” in Tangerine about once a month.

What I do is check the “Temporary Savings” account about once a month when I plan my budget for the next 30 days. If the balance is above $100 I move half the difference to my emergency fund and the other half to my TFSA account. The remaining money stays behind as a slush fund to handle anything in my regular budget that goes out of whack over the next month.

A recipe for success

Using Tangerine Recipes is a super-easy way to help you meet your goals. Big or small. Sitting down for an afternoon of cooking and playing around with the templates is a great way to help get your finances in order. It’s also a good chance to make sure your current banking and account set up is working for you, and to do some spring/summer cleaning on your banking products. If you find a tasty way of making these work, let us know!

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6 Comments. Leave new

  • I use YNAB and I prefer just “moving” the money into the different categories myself. I never look at the balance of my account, only at the amount I have allotted for that category. I like it because I always have a clear idea of what every dollar is for, instead of trying to trick myself into saving money that was actually allotted for something else. But I understand not everyone has such detail when looking at their accounts. So if it’s working for you, that’s good!

    • Colton Politte
      August 13, 2019 8:31 am

      YNAB is still an app I haven’t gotten really into but I am so excited to try out soon. Right now my system works so I haven’t been tempted to try it just yet.
      It’s great that it works so well for you though! And I totally get how it lets you ensure every dollar is counted for instead of getting messed up down the line.

  • I still can’t believe I’ve been using Tangerine as my main bank for 10 years and I didn’t know these existed!!!

    • Colton Politte
      August 13, 2019 8:38 am

      I actually never noticed it until I was going over my accounts one day and accidentally hit the recipes tab myself! It’s not something that they really push when you sign up or just check your account on a day to day, my only hope is that they bring it to the android app soon!

  • For the 52-week challenge, I wish they had some of the variants out there such as Reverse (start at $52, amount goes down every week, and if started in January, it means less pressure during the December holiday rush), biweekly (two weeks worth of payments in one go), half/double rate, or even one that I forgot the name of but would call “ping-pong” (one week is a high value, starting at $52, next week is a low value, starting at $1).

    …But recipies are nice. Just wish they had more flexibility to them. ^_^

    • oh man, I 100% agree. It’s way too stressful to have your savings rate increase at expensive times like the holidays. I’ve never liked savings challenges for exactly this reason!! Hopefully Tangerine adds some flexibility in the future.


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