In the busy modern world, it can be easy to put off tasks we see as time-consuming—like finding better ways to save money.
It’s prudent to put money aside for a rainy day or to achieve those goals in life, like getting a deposit together for a house or just saving up a bit of spending money for a holiday. According to the Money Advice Service, up to 15% of Britons have either nothing in their savings account or no account at all.
However, thanks to a host of new mobile apps, it’s never been easier to save money. Some apps will even do it for you automatically so you never have to think about it again.
Here are some of the best saving apps out there.
The Moneybox app centres on the "round up". You link your current account to the app, which tracks your spending. You can then round up your transactions to the nearest pound, saving the difference. It describes itself as a digital version of chucking the change in your pocket into a jar, except you earn interest on it. Those savings are then invested into your choice of different accounts, such as ISAs, each with a varying balance between risk and reward. The greater the risk, such as with a Stocks and Shares ISA, the greater the potential reward. There are fees involved: £1 a month subscription, a monthly platform fee of 0.45%, and an annual fund provider cost of 0.12% to 0.3% also charged monthly.
Monzo is a mobile-only bank offering what it says is a smooth, intuitive, and informative current account experience and sells itself as very modern banking. From a savings perspective, Monzo offers you the option of rounding up the spare change on your transactions to save into "pots," which can accrue interest with enough money put aside. You can also clearly see and track your spending habits through the app, setting budgets that will notify you if you are nearing the maximum, which means you can better track where your money's going—and if more of it could be saved into your pots. The app is free.
Chip is a clever little app that uses AI: It tracks your spending and then compares your transactions and profile with other people who are similar to calculate how much money you should be saving—then puts cash away automatically for you, up to a maximum of £10,000. You can set goals and track your progress and withdraw the money whenever you want. But be warned: "Chip is not a savings account and doesn't have FSCS protection," which means your deposit is potentially at risk. However, your money is stored with a ring-fenced Barclays account so it is not used for trading activities.
Like Monzo, Starling is a new mobile-only bank which offers services for current account holders. Starling says it offers a product that is unrivalled by the high street banks. It also allows for round-ups to set money aside for “Goals” and has all the budgeting bells and whistles in the app to help you keep on top of your spending and saving with only your mobile phone. The app is free.
Another AI-driven savings app, but which uses Facebook Messenger, Plum monitors your spending then cross references your data with others’ information to calculate the ideal savings amount and automatically put it aside for you each month. You can also instruct the app to save more or less money so it will adjust to your requirements. Plum also has an investment option for the more adventurous who want to play the markets, though this option costs £1 a month as well as fund management fees.