Technology is changing the face of the world as we know it and it’s doing so at lightning speed. For example, think about this article. Ten years ago the platform on which you discovered it was either non-existent or looked totally different. Fifteen years ago you might not have been able to even conceptualize the device you’re using to read it. Twenty years ago you wouldn’t have anticipated this information – and many other things you need to know – being so readily available.
The mainstream financial services industry has not moved at quite the same pace. Traditional banks have not led the process but followed along with the sort of lag you’d expect from an old Windows PC. A major reason has been security concerns. It’s been challenging figuring out how to make financial services immediately accessible without compromising the safety of the huge amounts of money involved.
But the non-traditional financial services companies have made big strides. And with increased safety, it’s becoming easier to innovate ideas that save you money. The following 10 startups have produced some of the most revolutionary money saving ideas out there.
Money Saving Ideas Apps
Hate budgeting? Have no patience to go through your balance statements? The Mint app saves us from the painful experience by doing it automatically for us. You connect the Mint app to your bank and it uses your details to categorize your sources of income and expenditure.
It uses the same security as banks do, so you can trust it to keep your info safe. Having the budget at your fingertips helps you see where you can save, and track your savings as the months pass.
Digit goes a step further than Mint. You connect your checking account to Digit, which analyses your income and expenditure. But instead of simply showing you how you can save, it actually does the saving for you.
It finds small amounts of money that it can safely set aside every 2 or 3 days. They use 128-bit bank-level security and have a no-overdraft guarantee, so you don’t have to worry about things going pear-shaped.
If you live with a friend, or are going on a road trip, you’ll run into the difficulty of calculating who has paid for what. It can become quite a disaster as fights start over how much each of you spent on the groceries, who paid for gas this month and so on.
Splittr is an app that makes tracking this simple. Instead of spending hours scrutinizing bank statements, Splittr will track and calculate everything spent. It will then give you a rundown on who still owes what.
While Splittr helps you track split expenses, Venmo is a great way to pay each other back. You can send money requests through the app and pay them with ease. You can even do so by replying to a text with a code or using Bluetooth.
Transferwise is the fast-growing startup that helps expats save money. The concept is simple. All traditional banks overcharge for foreign exchange transactions. In addition to high fees, they hide costs in their “competitive” exchange rates – which are always different to the middle market rate. Transferwise cuts those fees exponentially and gives you the middle market exchange rate.
The savings are highly significant for expats who still get payments from their home country. Fees and poor exchange rates can take a huge chunk of their incomes. Transferwise ensures they get as much from their foreign money as possible. You can see a full review and view screenshots here.
Fiverr saves you money in a different way. It works as a marketplace in which you can buy a service for $5. Freelancers list what they can offer you (e.g. “I will create a promotional spokesperson video”) for $5.
Why so cheap? The $5 price tag is generally for a product that the seller hopes will get you to buy more. You can add extras at varying multiples of $5. In the example above, you can add backgrounds, music, text overlay and so on at an extra cost.
Another budgeting app Unsplurge differs from the others in that it helps you save for a specific “splurge”. For example, if you want a new iPhone, vacation, etc. you can set your goal and Unsplurge helps you meet it by showing you where you can save. It works as a social app too, making saving more fun and giving you added motivation.
The benefit of Level Money is that it shows you how much you can afford to spend today, this week, and this month, in order to meet your goals. Instead of simply creating a budget, it tells you how to stick to it. So, if you’re wondering whether to get take-out today, you won’t be able to fool yourself.
You Need a Budget
You Need a Budget (or YNAB) gives you guidelines as to how to create a realistic budget. It focuses on four rules:
- Give every dollar a job: know exactly what you spend and why you spent it
- Embrace your true expenses: break down large, infrequent expenses and treat them like monthly expenses. By saving for them each month, you balance them out across the year.
- Roll with the punches: when you overspend on one category, balance it out on another.
- Age your money: work towards spending “old” money – that you earned at least 30 days ago – rather than living paycheck-to-paycheck.
Last but definitely not least, DebtTracker Pro can kickstart your way out of debt. Instead of having the constant anxiety of falling short, you can use one of their strategies for overcoming debt. The app also sends reminders for when payments are due so you can be sure you won’t miss an all-important installment.
The Changing Face of Personal Finance
The way we use money has already changed dramatically, and we can almost guarantee that personal finance will look even more different in 5 years time. Will we be a cashless society? It’s quite likely. But it won’t stop there. Money management is getting so much easier. The old ways will eventually become defunct.
Traditional services will be cheaper and more accessible. If you haven’t already, try using some of the saving money ideas listed above. Saving money is no longer the arduous process it once was.
Questions for Discussion: What money saving ideas are working for you right now? What apps are you using to help you save money?