Each week, I will bring you a new guest post in the series “Money Mondays”. Today’s post is all about using auto-bots and is written by Nikki from The Female Money Doctor. Nikki talks about all things money over on her blog.
I really struggle to save. Its actually quite embarrassing how I’ve reached the age of 32 as a doctor for the past 9 years, and have very little to show for it!
The tide started to turn however when I reached 30. Clearly having some kind of later quarter life crisis, (or early midlife crisis depending on your viewpoint!), I woke up to the reality I was in – lots of debt, and no savings or investments. It was a scary wake up call because I could see exactly where it was going, and it wasn’t pretty!
So I set about doing whatever I could to save money. I made it my mission to build up an emergency fund, and vowed never to get myself into such a bad financial state ever again!
Of course, this made life A LOT more difficult to start with. Suddenly I didn’t have the crutch of a credit card on hand to pay for things like holidays or sorting out the house. I needed to use money that I had saved for these purposes, but building up pots of cash was a struggle. Every time I found spare money to throw into savings, I found a bill or a purpose to counteract it, and “poof!” – the money was gone.
In order to overcome my poor savings habits, I have had to work in a few systems. This is where auto-bots have literally changed my life.
I’m not sure how I came across it, probably a Facebook ad of some description, but there it suddenly was. “Plum” the automatic savings “butler” waiting to help me build up my pitiful savings account.
The concept is simple. The app runs off of Facebook messenger, and guides you through a simple sign up process to access one of your online bank accounts. This is extremely easy (providing you remember your passcodes!). Once plum has access, it is only allowed to read your account and this is entirely safe and encrypted. Once the savings function is activated, Plum cleverly follows your spending habits and regular outgoings, then every few days, will take out a small sum of money that you would hardly miss. £5 here, £10 there – its surprising how it all really adds up. Plum is extremely polite too. With messages ending like “high fives to you, my human friend” when announcing how much I have saved, it doesn’t fail to make me smile. Withdrawals are free, and you can make extra deposits whenever you like.
From March 2017 to September 2017 I had amassed £600 that I wouldn’t have done otherwise. To make it even easier for me to save, the money is held in a wallet that I can’t see every day, unless I send a message to plum on Facebook messenger to show me how much I have in there. This stops me from withdrawing money too easily so allowing it to grow!
I find it a really nifty way to save money without the pain of having to do it myself. If you fancy trying it too, you can find it here.
There are alternatives out there, such as “Chip”, so I would suggest having a look around to see what suits you, but don’t let this stop you from using one due to “analysis paralysis”!
And it doesn’t just stop at savings
In my journey of discovery of all things money, I have also found many apps that help with investments too. MoneyBox for example, allows you to save the spare change from transactions in your account to invest in index trackers from as little as £1. This is great news, but I would advise having a good look at the charges before diving in. The subscription to MoneyBox is £1 per month, with a yearly charge of 0.45% of the value of what you invest – far higher than investing in an index tracker on a site like Hargreaves Lansdown for example. But if you’re not keen to go down the route of learning how investing works, an investment app is a great idea and is at least better than doing nothing at all!
If this has got you curious, I’ve found a website that goes into a few other app-saving ideas for you to have a read over.
Good luck on your savings journey. Hopefully by embracing the new wave of online technology, we’ll all get there sooner than we think…
So in conclusion – it’s a massive “YAY” from me!
If you have a blog yourself and want to take part in this weekly series, get in touch and let me know your ideas.
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