U.S. savings bonds are a good way to save and they make great gifts for birthdays and holidays. You can purchase from $25 to $5,000 each of Series EE fixed rate and Series I inflation-adjusted bonds per year. The main difference between the types is that interest rates on Series I bonds are adjusted to offset inflation. If you are at least 18, a U.S. citizen and have a valid Social Security number, you can buy U.S. savings bonds. Minors can only get savings bonds as gifts or with their parents' help. With either Series EE or Series I bonds, you must wait at least 12 months before cashing them.
Buy US Series EE paper bonds at banks, savings and loans or credit unions. You’ll need your Social security number and a valid photo ID. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The Treasury Department is phasing out paper savings bonds and they are no longer available as part of payroll savings plans. However, as of 2010 no date had been set for eliminating individual paper bond purchases. Series I bonds aren't available in paper form.
Open an online account at TreasuryDirect.gov to purchase electronic Series EE and Series I bonds. You’ll need your social security number and a valid bank debit card number for payment purposes.
Enter the amount you want to save and which type of savings bond you want to purchase. You can register the bond in your name only, with another person or designate a beneficiary.
Set up Purchase Express. This is a feature of your TreasuryDirect account that saves your preferences and bank account information so you don’t have to re-enter it each time you purchase a savings bond.
Purchase savings bonds as gifts. You can give savings bonds to anyone who has a TreasuryDirect account or buy purchasing paper bonds. In either case you need the recipient’s full name and social security number. For electronic bonds, the recipient must have a TreasuryDirect account, or a minor-linked account if under 18 years old. You can buy bonds as gifts by choosing “Gift Box” on your account page and entering the recipient’s information. You then hold the gift bond in your account until you're ready to deliver it.
Set up a minor-linked account for a child to purchase U.S. savings bonds. A minor account is a custodial account you can access from your TreasuryDirect account. You must have the child’s Social Security number. Once your child turns 18, funds in the account can be transferred to a separate account.
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, W D Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about business, personal finance and careers. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.