From micro-saving to AI financial advisors
Much like a new pair of trainers can somehow renew your love for exercise and muster the motivation to get you back in the gym, a new savings app will re-energise your finances.
Or, at the very least, get you thinking about putting money aside for savings again.
With 15% of Brits having no savings at all and one in three of us having under £1500, it’s safe to assume that we find putting money away a challenge.
So, we look at the apps that take control of your savings for you and whether they’re worth the coveted space on your mobile.
Want to save but always end up hurting your finances by putting too much away?
Enter Plum, the AI assistant that grows your money for you. You hook up your bank account and let Plum’s AI analyse your spending habits, craftily calculating how much you can afford to put into savings without it affecting your quality of life.
You can withdraw your money at anytime - should you need it. And let’s face it, we always do.
Is Plum worth it?
For the fun-finance boost alone, downloading plum is a good way to put a little money away without having to think about it. And the fact it sends you a push notification telling you how much your bank balance is everyday is a bonus.
The fact it even allows you to save into your overdraft is another bonus.
What we like about Monzo is that it’s a one-stop-shop for all of the things.
Most millenials use the app for ‘fun-money’ or as a tester joint account with their partner. But realistically, Monzo is a powerful tool which gives you control over your budgets, spending habits, payments and savings.
As well as offering the traditional benefits of a bank - overdrafts, loans, ISAs - they also want you to work towards your financial goals, encouraging you to round up your change to save a little extra or set yourself savings goals.
Is Monzo worth it?
Aside from getting you a free drink (but if you link it with Tail, you’ll get a discounted one), there are many perks to this powerful, free app.
Having a push-notification every time you spend forces you to mentally register every single purchase you make. More transparent and readily available information gives you the tools to take control.
So, quite simply, yes - it is worth it.
Chip is an app that automatically puts little amounts from your bank account into savings for you - very similar to Plum.
Chip feels a little more aggressive than Plum, less of a helping hand and more of a shove in the right direction. You can adjust the savings rate from ‘Serious Stuff’ to ‘Take Your Time’ and allocate percentages of your saving to different goals.
If you plug in the app to a traditional bank (HSBC, Lloyds, Natwest etc) the app uses Open Banking to allow its AI to make a judgement on how much you can save without feeling it. If you bank with a challenger bank (Monzo, Starling etc) then it will only work off the data based on lookalike accounts, rather than your finances specifically.
Is Chip Worth It?
If you plug in the app to a traditional bank (HSBC, Lloyds, Natwest, etc) the app uses Open Banking to allow its AI to make a judgement on how much you can save without feeling it.
If you bank with a challenger bank (Monzo, Starling etc) then it will only work off the data based on lookalike accounts, rather than your finances specifically. So it’s not taking into account your spending habits specifically, but people the same age in the same location as you - which may not be as well suited to your needs.
Squirrel was (and will be again) your very own pocket financial advisor.
Squirrel is in fact so highly regarded that it has now received government funding to relaunch the service in the last quarter of 2019.
So, what exactly is it? It’s an app that takes your salary and distributes it as needed, holding back the money you need for bills and rent. It’ll then feed your disposable income back into your bank account so you can avoid overspending.
You set the goals and Squirrel will work out how to split your budget in order to get there!
Is Squirrel Worth It?
If you really cannot trust yourself to allocate your salary as necessary (let's face it, it's hard), and you can’t afford an accountant/advisor then Squirrel is your best bet!
As the government has decided to fund the scheme, you won’t even have to pay the weekly £2.30 charge once the new service has launched.
Even if, like most of us, you stick your head in the sand and refuse to look at your balance - this app will help you organise your finances and stick to the goals you set for yourself.
Look out for updates from Squirrel to get in on the new launch!