We can all do with a little help with tracking our expenses and saving money for the future. It’s supposedly the millennial condition- we’re all useless and can’t save enough money for a house deposit.
Except, we all know that’s just not true.
Yes, saving money is harder than ever, with wages stagnating whilst the cost of living rises higher than we can ever imagine. BUT, saving money is not impossible.
If you find saving money difficult, what better way to help you than with a money saving app on your phone? Many of us spend more time looking at our phones than we do looking at anything else, and so why not use that to our advantage?
Chip is a 21st century way of stashing money away for the future using artificial intelligence. That’s right, AI technology in an app.
Chip uses an auto-saving mechanism whereby it connects to your bank account and uses AI technology to pick up on your spending habits, and auto-save small amounts for you based on your spending.
This means that it saves you money without you even noticing- Chip will never allow you to become overdrawn, and the app won’t make an auto-save unless you have enough money in your account to do so.
Chip auto-saves what you can afford, and it’s a completely free service to use. You’ll end up with a wedge of cash in no time.
You can find out more about Chip in this dedicated post- stash cash away for the future with the Chip auto-save app.
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Monzo is just about the most fun you can have with saving money. It’s novel, it’s millennial, and if you don’t have an account with Monzo you are seriously missing out.
If you struggle to save money, Monzo has several ways to help you. One which I am particularly fond of is the ‘coin jar’ function. You can set Monzo to round up every purchase to the nearest £1. So if your transaction equals £6.70, Monzo will round that up to £7.00 and place that extra 30p into your coin jar which is a separate saving pot away from the money that you hold in your Monzo account.
The saving pots are also a brilliantly inventive way to save up- you can set savings targets for multiple ‘pots,’ and even use an inspirational photo to push you to achieve your savings goal. For example, your pots might be ‘New York flights,’ ‘Christmas’ and ‘New Home.’ And you might set those goals at £300, £200 and £5000. It’s the perfect way to separate your savings and visually see real progress towards those goals- removing temptation to dip into your savings!
You can also make ‘rules’ for saving with Monzo. For example, you could set Monzo to add 5p to a saving pot every time you tweet, or 50p every time you walk 10,000 steps. Or even, add 5p every time it rains. The rules are yours to set!
Monzo also doubles as a great budgeting tool. You can allocate a monthly budget, let’s say £400, and then divide this up into the areas that you want to spend this money. For example, travel, entertainment, food & drink, shopping and personal care- you can add or remove whichever categories are relevant to you. Then, whenever you make a purchase, Monzo will automatically categorise the purchase and update your budget to show how much you have spent, and how much you have left for the rest of the month.
Monzo will even alert you with a notification to say when you have spent your budget for a particular category for the month, and will even give you a warning to let you know if it looks like you are going to go over budget for the month.
The best thing about Monzo? It’s completely free. Sign up using my link to get a free £5 to get you started.
Plum is another auto-saving solution which is similar to Chip in that it uses AI technology to save you money. However, it’s interestingly more of a ‘chatbot’ rather than an app. Just like Chip, Plum will analyse your spending and your purchases to decide how much money to put aside for you each month.
It communicates with you through Facebook messenger! It will tell you how much you have saved each week, and you can also send commands through the messenger app to ask Plum to ‘save more’ or ‘withdraw £20.’
You can also send Plum emoji’s to show it how much more you would like to save, and save based on your savings ‘mood.’ For example, if you decide that your mood is ‘ambitious,’ Plum will save 50% more.
Plum’s basic package is again completely free to use.
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The Revolut card won’t necessarily save you money overnight, but it will save you money on foreign currency when you go abroad. I wrote about Revolut in greater depth in my post about the best cards to use abroad, and it’s my number one card for saving money when travelling.
The Revolut app alerts you every time you make a purchase, which means that you can’t escape from your spending. There is nowhere to hide as your holiday money dwindles before your eyes.
I’m guilty of opening my purse on holiday in Thailand once and exclaiming “have I been robbed?!” Nope. Just spent nearly all of my money without realising.
Now that technology has made it easier than ever to track our spending whilst on holiday, I hope that no one ever has to face that harsh reality of counting up your foreign currency and realising it’s only worth about £20.
Revolut reckons that they save their average holidaymaker £46 per trip as they do not have to pay any commission on foreign currency exchange.
Curve is another brilliant app-based card, but with a twist. It allows you to switch between various different cards when you pay with the Curve card.
For example, if you bought something with your Curve card and had it set to your debit card, but then later that day wanted to change the card you used, you could switch it! You can switch which card you used for the transaction up to 14 days after the purchase date, as long as you used your Curve card for the transaction.
Curve can save you money in the first 3 months of using the card, as they offer a 1% cashback at certain retailers- including Easy Jet and Booking.com. That means if you are about to book a holiday, it could be worth opening a Curve account to get some cash back on your spending and save yourself some extra money.
If you do decide to get a Curve account, you’ll want to choose the ‘Blue’ card, which is the card that is totally free to use. Sign up using my code, THRIFTY1, to get a £5 starting bonus.
There are tons of new fintech solutions to choose from when trying to manage your money better in the 21st century- the best money saving apps are those which truly help you. One app certainly doesn’t fit all- if you struggle to save money, an app like Chip or Plum is going to be your best friend. If you love to visualise, Monzo is probably the best saving app for you.
Have you switched to an app-based solution to help you save money? If so I’d love to hear about your experience. I’m always available via email firstname.lastname@example.org, and via Instagram @thriftylondoner.