How often do you plan to save more money, then go into Pret a Manger every day for lunch and get to the end of the month thinking, ‘where has all my money gone?’. It happens to us more than we’d like to admit, and we’re not the only ones.
Brits are notoriously awful savers, in fact a study by the Money Advice Service found more than 16 million people in the UK have savings of less than £100. That means more than half of us can barely afford to replace our vacuum cleaner if it breaks, never mind save up for a dream holiday, home or wedding.
Weddings in particular are a bone of contention when it comes to saving, as just last week Provident found that the average cost of attending a wedding is now £1015. Yes, that wedding you’ve just been invited too? You’re going to need to start saving for that NOW, especially if you’re in any way involved in the bridal party.
Luckily for you, there’s a savior on the horizon ready to save all your money for you without you having to do anything. Chip is a new money saving app that tracks your spending and automatically moves money from your account into a separate savings account. Signing up means giving the app access to your online banking, and then it will look at your last three months spending activity and use an acutely designed algorithm to figure out how much you can afford to save. Every few days it will automatically take some money out of your account, adjusting to how much you're spending that week.
I know what you’re thinking, why can’t I just do that myself? Well, according to Chip’s founder, Simon Rabin, we can’t always be trusted to save and spend our money in ways we actually want to. ‘If I said to you, “what do you actually want to spend your money on?”, most people say travelling, an experience, theatre, all of that,’ he tells me, 'but look at your bank statement and you don’t actually spend it on that, you spend it on lunch and travel and snacks.’
That’s where Chip comes in, by removing small amounts of money regularly, and changing our spending habits because of that. According to Simon, it’s about giving us more discipline, ‘if you open your banking app and see it’s 10 days till pay day and you have 200 quid left, you know you have to behave as if I’ve got 200 quid left, when actually Chip has taken 50 quid from you already. If Chip hadn’t done that you would’ve opened up your banking app that day and saw “oh I’ve got 250 quid, I’ll spend 250 quid” because you spend what you have available.’
By changing how much money we think we have available, it has a two-fold impact on our spending habits. Firstly, it ensures that you employ better money saving techniques, like making lunch at home or walking to work. Secondly, it makes you second guess whether you actually want to purchase something. Knowing you have to remove it from your savings allows you to question, ‘do I actually need or want this?’, and more often than not the answer is probably no.
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At least, that’s the case for Amy, who uses Chip to stop her impulse spending getting out of control. ‘I’m really bad for buying stuff on a whim,’ she tells me, ‘if I see something online I think “oh, I could use that, I’ll buy it”, and when it comes I genuinely can’t remember whether its cost me ten or twenty pounds.’
Amy downloaded Chip alongside her partner, as already putting money aside for their wedding meant they had little to spare. ‘We were putting money into savings accounts but that was just for the wedding and we found that we were always skint,’ she continued, ‘we'd be stuck thinking “we haven’t done anything for a couple of weeks”, and then we'd both look into our Chip account and there was a bit of money there and so we could go to the cinema or out for tea, it was just nice we were able to do that. ‘
Considering the pressure of planning a wedding is immense, ensuring you have enough to spare for date night so you actually want to get married by the end of it seems integral. But it’s not just a rainy-day fund, you can use it for any big saving goals you may have, with Simon claiming that his now 50,000 users ‘are saving multiple millions a month’ (collectively, of course).
For Amy, having now married her partner, it means that the money she saves from Chip can go towards holiday funds. ‘We ended up being able to book holidays to Rome and Brussels’, she tells me, ‘and the majority of our spending money for these holidays just came from Chip because it was just taking it out without us noticing.’
Amy’s not the only one raving about the app, according to Grazia readers, 76% of them would love to use an app that tracks their spending automatically and transfers what they can afford to save into a separate account. It seems more of us than ever are able to admit we’re just not as financially savvy as we ought to be. And with all this new tech coming to rescue us, we may not need to learn to be frugal ourselves.
If you want to know more about Chip, visit their website here.
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