By Julie Ford
Can technology help us create better saving habits? I recently read this article reviewing apps that aim “to make saving as effortless as spending.” While these tech tools can be really useful, it’s important that effortless doesn’t become mindless. How and when should you consider integrating a savings or investing app into your financial world? Here are a few reasons why an app might help your savings efforts:
- A Jump Start: If nothing else, these tools get you started with the habit of saving. Most people I meet have a savings account, but are not in the habit of adding to it. An app might help with that.
- Structure: Signing up for an app provides helpful structure and accountability. It also creates a specific bucket. I find most people have more success with their savings when the money is in a separate account, dedicated to a particular savings goal.
- Possibility: As you see small amounts of change add up to more meaningful amounts, you’ll realize your small efforts do matter.
- Victory: If you stick with it, at some point you’ll check your account and realize you’ve actually made great strides toward your goal. This sense of victory will motivate you to keep going and before long you’ve created a new habit of saving.
All the benefits aside, meaningful savings is not accomplished by tech tools alone. So what’s the next step? Remember, the goal is to make saving effortless, not mindless. I want you to be thoughtful about why, where, and how much you save.
Remember, we’re most interested in shaping good habits with our money. The amount you save is not as important as the act of actually saving. Just get into the habit of saving and focus on what’s possible today. Then you can begin to figure out how to increase your savings if necessary.
How to create a more thoughtful savings plan
- Build Awareness: Understand your cash flow so that you can begin to think about what’s possible in terms of saving. Consider an expense-tracking tool like Mint or simply review bank and credit card statements.
- Write Down Your Goals: What’s important to you? Why do you need to save? Why do you want to save? You need to know your why and you need to write it down. Be specific. What dollar amount do you need? When do you need it?
- Create a Plan: Where and how much per month can you contribute toward your goal? Automate where you can to make saving effortless and also to create some built in accountability. How can you integrate an app into this plan to simplify the act of saving?
If you’re interested in a savings or investing app, here are a few worth checking out.