This smartphone budgeting hack will help if you struggle with money

How are those New Year’s resolutions going?

Almost four weeks into 2022 and I’d imagine a few have already been ditched – probably because they were too complicated or hard to keep up.

When it comes to savings challenges I can sympathise. I love the idea behind these structured savings plans. Big in early January, they’re designed to keep you putting cash away every day, week or month.

You’re actively saving, and making constant decisions whether you should spend or save, a huge step to making it a regular habit.

But they can get complicated. Take take the popular 1p savings challenge. On day one you save 1p, on day two it’s 2p, then 3p, 4p and so on until the last day when you save £3.65. Do this every day of the year and you’d end up with £365.

It all sounds simple enough. But are you really going to be literally counting these exact pennies (who has enough, if any, spare change nowadays?) or transferring small amounts out of your current account? I doubt it. And keeping track of the amount would be impossible without a guide.

Fortunately, there’s a great hack which makes this much, much easier. If you’ve got a Monzo current account you can connect it to an app called IFTT (If This Then That).

Every day (the ‘this’), the correct amount of money is moved to a segregated pot within your account (the ‘that’). It literally takes a few clicks and it happens.

You can even set up your own rules and amounts, whether similar savings challenges based on days and weeks, or more bespoke conditions triggered by other apps on your phone.

If your weather app predicts rain, that could push money across to a holiday fund.

Or if you visit a fast food restaurant rather than the gym, your maps app could tell Monzo to fine you and move more money to your savings pot. This isn’t the only way to automate your savings.

The apps Chip and Plum have features which analyse your linked current account to assess how much money you could afford to save without missing it, and then move it for you. I’m a big fan of how simple and effective these are, and recent fee changes at Chip means it’s once again free to use. Plum has always been free.

You can add more money to your savings with no effort, and even earn a little interest. This is the round up or ‘save the change’ feature.

Every time you spend, the amount is rounded up to the nearest pound, and this extra is put in a separate pot.

You can find this feature at Monzo, Starling, Chase, Lloyds, Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Revolut and some TSB current accounts, and via third party apps Plum and MoneyBox.

Andy’s best buys: Autosave and earn interest

The big downside to these auto-saving features is most of the accounts where the money is stored don’t earn interest.

But there are a handful where you can get pretty decent rates (at least when compared to other easy-access accounts).

It’s worth taking advantage of these, and then potentially moving your money to higher paying accounts on a regular basis.

Chase Bank

Type: Instant access account
Feature:
Round ups
Interest rate:
5% AER

Chip

Type: Instant access account
Feature:
Auto-savings
Interest rate:
0.61% AER

MoneyBox

Type: Lifetime ISA
Feature:
Round ups
Interest rate:
0.61% AER

For more details on these accounts head to becleverwithyourcash.com/banks

Andy’s who to follow: Shoestring Jane

With household budgets tighter than ever, it’s worth taking a look at Jane Berry’s blog, Shoestring Cottage.

Jane chooses to live a frugal and sustainable lifestyle, and shares practical tips to help you stretch your cash further.

Jane’s top frugal tip:

If you want to save money, challenge yourself to buy only second hand for a set
period. I did this in 2021 and saved £1,000s! Once you get into it, you resent paying new prices!’

Andy Webb is an award-winning blogger and podcaster from Be Clever With Your Cash. Follow Andy on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram via @andyclevercash

If you want more tips and tricks on saving money, as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join our Facebook Group, Money Pot.

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