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There’s usually something on our wish list that we’d like to save up for, whether it’s a house deposit, a holiday, a new pair of shoes or even just for a rainy day. But putting money aside can be difficult, especially if you get to the end of the month and find there’s no money left over to go into your savings pot.
Fortunately there are now apps available which aim to take the hard work out of saving. Some will look at your income and outgoings, and then automatically put money aside based on what you can afford. Others will round up your spare change, so you barely notice you’re adding to the total in your piggy bank until you get a nice surprise at the end of the month.
We’ve checked out the UK market and come up with five of the best savings apps out there. If you are reading this and budgeting is more your thing, then we have a guide on a range of budgeting apps.
Moneybox is a savings and investment app that aims to make both of those things easier by linking them to your everyday spending. It does this through its “round up” feature.
So if you spend £2.60 on a coffee, you can ask Moneybox to round up this transaction to £3. It takes that 40p of spare change and puts it in your Moneybox account – the balance of which you can choose to either save or invest in a number of ways, ranging from ISAs to the stock market.
You’ll need to set up a Moneybox account and link it to your bank card, so the app can track your spending and round up your spare change for you. There are also charges if you choose to invest, which include a £1 monthly Moneybox subscription, a 0.45% platform fee and then various fund provider fees. And remember, if you choose to invest money in this way, your capital could be at risk.
Plum is another service that combines budgeting, saving and investing all in one app. It uses artificial intelligence to analyse your bank account transactions and understand patterns in your income and spending habits. It calculates an amount it thinks you can realistically save each week, and automatically transfers this to a Plum account.
You can then put this money into “pockets” that are assigned to different savings goals, some of which now pay interest (how many “interest pockets” you can have will depend on whether you are using the free or paid-for version of Plum).
The other option is to invest your funds in an ISA or the stock market. Again, there’s a minimum Plum subscription fee of £1 a month for this, plus fund management and provider fees. As ever, be mindful that your capital is at risk if you choose to go down the investment route.
An app that aims to help you save money through better budgeting is Squirrel. It does this by taking a personalised overview of your monthly finances, helping you ring-fence what you need to pay bills, set a limit on your optional spending and then save whatever is left.
Squirrel is not a traditional current account, but you will need to get your monthly income paid into it in order for it to manage your finances and identify what savings you can squirrel away.
You can do this either by transferring the money in yourself from your main bank account or by asking your employer to pay your salary into your Squirrel account. A subscription to Squirrel costs £3.99 a month.
The Chip app is designed to a be a hassle-free way to save small amounts of money on a regular basis. You connect Chip to your current account and it uses a smart algorithm to look at your finances and work out how much you can realistically afford to save.
Chip then moves this money from your current account into your Chip account however frequently you choose, perhaps every few days or once a week. But if you don’t want to save anything that week, you can cancel any transactions before they go ahead. And once you’ve reached your ultimate savings goal you can withdraw that pot of money back out and into your current account to spend.
There’s no fee for downloading and using the Chip app, although it will charge £1 if it sets aside more than £100 for you during a 28-day period. This means your maximum charge over one year could be £13.
After you’ve signed up and linked your bank account to the Cleo app, it uses artificial intelligence to analyse your spending data, give you a transaction overview and identify where you might make savings.
Cleo also works via text message and Facebook Messenger, meaning its virtual financial assistant can give you responses and advice through these channels when you make enquiries about your account balance or spending trends.
The basic version of Cleo is free to use, and the service makes some of its revenue by suggesting alternative suppliers (e.g. for energy) that you might want to switch to for a better deal. The idea is that this will in turn reduce your spending, and ultimately help boost that savings pot.
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