Saving money can feel mind-boggling at times, and it’s very easy to spend too much, eating into an overdraft or building up debt. I’ve spent the past week playing around with some great money saving apps (all free!), and collating the best tips and tricks from money saving experts out there to help you make the most of your money.
These were my favourites...Plum is an app which uses artificial intelligence to analyse your income and spending to understand how much you can save. It puts aside a small amount every week into a Plum account or 'Pocket'. There is a free basic version, Plum Plus (£1 / month) or Plum Pro (£2.99 / month).
You'll receive messages from the app (these can easily be turned off if you'd rather not receive them) which are super helpful, giving you the option to opt in or out of daily messages letting you know how much money you have left and how much you've been spending.
Another great thing I found was it tracks the utility providers you are paying bills to, and can let you know if you're overpaying and can switch providers on your behalf in order to save you a bit of extra cash each month.
When Plum takes money from your account, you don’t even notice it coming out as they are small affordable amounts, but over time this builds to create a nice hefty Plum 'Pocket'. You can also change the ‘mood’ of how much Plum takes each time, ranging from ‘Shy’ (expect 50% less savings) to ‘Beast mode’ (expect 75% more savings).
You can also enable ‘round ups’, which rounds up your transactions to the nearest £1 and transfers the spare change into your savings.
You can upgrade to Plum Plus (£1 / month) and Plum Pro (£2.99 / month) for additional benefits, for example, the Pro version allows you to create 10 customisable pockets, set goals, get cash-back, look at diagnostic reports, and take part in the 52 Week Saving Challenge, as well as the Rainy Day Saving Rule.
Sit back and let Plum help you save your money without lifting a finger.
Monzo is a company that I’ve actually been with since its infancy, and as well as being an owner of their trademark bright coral-coloured card, another perk is that their app is incredibly simple and fun to use.
You can use their basic features for free, but can pay £15 for Monzo premium, offering a bundle of bonus features such as a metal card, phone insurance, worldwide travel insurance, interest on your balance and regular 'pots', the ability to create custom categories, as well as many other features.
Monzo's basic features are definitely enough for the average person. Firstly, Monzo notifies you every time you use the Monzo card when you’re out and about which is a great way of tracking spending on the go. It’s really easy to sync your contacts and pay other people (paying either their Monzo account or their regular bank account). You can then categorise your payment into a variety of different fields. E.g. ‘Transport’, ‘Eating Out’, ‘Shopping’, ‘Entertainment’, ‘Groceries’.
With Monzo, you also have the ability to use pots to track your savings and lock pots to open at a certain date. For example, last September I decided to set up a ‘Christmas presents pot’ scheduling £5 to come out of my account each week and to be locked until the start of December, so that by Christmas I would have enough to cover all of my Christmas presents for friends and family. I actually forgot I’d set up this pot, and it was a fantastic surprise at the start of December when I got a notification telling me I had an account with around £80 in it to go towards Christmas! I’d recommend using locked pots for special occasions that you are saving towards - such as a holiday or big purchase.
The Monzo card is also great for spending money while abroad, as they don't charge any overseas fees.
A number of Monzo money saving experts also wrote a piece about their top tips for saving money which you can read here.
Completely free to use, Roqqett's mission is to make sending and receiving money easier, linking their app directly with your bank account. Send a payment link with a QR code - a simple and fun way of requesting money from friends and family.
And the best thing is, they don't need to have Roqqett, as you can send and receive from any mobile banking app.
Cleo is brilliant if, like me, you find that budgeting and thinking about saving money gives you a migraine. It makes it really fun, almost like having a super friendly financial advisor (who sends you gifs and swears on occasion). Their website and app are also brilliantly designed and a lot of fun to use - we just had to include a preview of this one!
You message Cleo, asking if you can afford something or not (she will be brutally honest...)
For example, if you asked ‘Can I afford to go out for dinner tonight?’, Cleo might reply with how much you can afford to spend to keep on track with your budget, and how much you have left. Something that is brilliant about Cleo is that it will tell you where you can cut back in order to have more at the end of each month. It’s incredibly simple and fun to use.
There is a premium service (Cleo Plus), but it feels pointless unless you want overdraft protection or cash-back offers, so I would stick with the free version!Splitwise is an incredibly helpful app for when you’re out and about with friends or family and needing to split a bill or a supermarket shop. You can easily create groups, add the amount that you paid, and how much each individual owes you. Once you’ve sent the amount from your bank account, you go back into Splitwise and click ‘Settle my debts’ and the amount you owe will return back to £0.
Six Jars - A Great Way to Manage Your Money
T. Harv Eker is an author, businessman and motivational speaker known for his theories on wealth and motivation. He recommends splitting your monthly income into six different categories:
JAR 1 - 55% of income
JAR 2 - 10% of income
- Big purchases
- Rainy day fund
- Unexpected expenses
JAR 3 - 10% of income
- Spoiling yourself & your family
- Leisurely expenses
JAR 4 - 10% of income
JAR 5 - 10% of income
- Stocks and shares
- Passive income vehicles
JAR 6 - 5% of income
- Charitable donations
T. Harv Eker explains in more detail here.
A clever and easier way of splitting up your money into T. Harv Eker's categories could be to use a money saving budgeting app. Yolt in particular would be good for this, giving you the ability to separate your income into different accounts each month or each week.