Spending money recklessly happens way too easily for students, especially as there are many sources of temptation to make new, and sometimes unnecessary, purchases. So, to help you with this, here are a few app suggestions that may be helpful if you are trying to build a habit of saving more money.
Important disclaimer - for any app you are planning to download, it is important to check their FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme) protection as well as FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regulation to ensure your money is secure. Always do your own research before using any app to manage your finances so you are aware of any potential risks.
Monzo is an online bank with many features that make saving money easier. Monzo operates in a similar way to physical banks so you can create a standard current account as well as a fixed savings account with up to 0.27% interest. You can set spending budgets for different categories such as groceries and bills, helping you to ensure you don’t spend more than you planned to.
The feature that I find the most useful is the ability to create multiple saving pots. You can create a savings pot for a specific purpose, e.g. to save up for a car, and set a goal for the amount you would like to save. Monzo will show the percentage of your goal that you have saved in the pot so you can easily track your progress. You also have the option to customise the image of the pot which is a nice addition. Further, you can round up transactions in your saving pots so if you spend £2.49 for example, the remaining pennies (51p) will be transferred to your savings pot - over time these round up transactions really do add up. You can also lock the savings pot until a specific date which will stop you from spending your savings. Although you do not earn any interest in saving pots like you would in a regular savings account, it is a very visual and simple way to meet your saving goals.
Plum is a great app for automating your savings. The app tracks your spending habits from your current bank account to determine how much money to put into your savings. This means you will be saving money with very minimal effort. If you feel that Plum is putting too much or too little money into your Plum savings account, you can change your settings so the app will adjust how much money it’s putting aside. Similar to Monzo, you can set multiple saving goals so you can easily visualise and track your savings. You can also earn up to 0.55% interest on your savings if you use their Fixed Access savings account.
A fun feature Plum has is a 52-week savings challenge. This challenge starts off by saving £1 in the first week and increases by £1 every week up to £52 in week 52. This challenge is a great method to save £1,378 in just one year.
Plum is also a good option for people looking to begin investing their money. To access their investment features, you are required to pay £1 per month. Rather than investing in a single company, Plum gives a list of funds for you to choose from which range from ‘Tech Giants’, including shares of big tech companies such as Facebook and Apple, to ‘Medics’ which includes shares in pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. The money you invest goes into a Plum ISA account. Plum also ensures that you are aware of the risk level of each fund so you can make an informed decision about where to invest your money. Investing is risky so do make sure you are clued up on what you’re investing in.
Moneybox combines many of the features of the apps previously mentioned. You can automate your savings and make use of the round-ups feature. There are a range of account types you can open with Moneybox such as a standard savings account, a lifetime ISA or a stocks and shares ISA where you can invest in a range of global companies. I know as students we’re probably not thinking as far as pensions, however it’s good to know that Moneybox also allows you to open a personal pensions account so you can even save towards your retirement too.
In addition to all the saving and investing options, Moneybox offers a wide range of rewards. If you shop with certain retailers, including big brands such as Asos, Currys PC World and Nike, you will get cash rewards directly in your Moneybox account. You might as well take the opportunity to make some extra money while buying from your favourite brands.
The Cleo app is designed to make saving money an enjoyable and interactive process. You can connect Cleo to your bank account, create savings wallets for different goals, and manage your budget all on one app. Your budget can be broken down into different categories such as entertainment, groceries etc. and Cleo will show you how much of your budget you have spent already and how much you have remaining.
You can also have conversations with the Cleo AI bot in order to personalise your budget and savings plans which can make money management feel a lot less boring.
Tandem is very useful for automating your savings. The app connects to your main bank account and allows you to specify how much money you would like to save weekly. This money goes from your main account into your Tandem account on a weekly basis without you even thinking about it. Just like Monzo and Moneybox, they also have a round-ups feature which means you can save some spare change anytime you make a purchase from your main bank account. I personally used this app a lot last year and often forgot to check it - it’s a nice surprise seeing your savings accumulate over time!
Tandem has recently switched off their auto-savings feature as they are currently working on developing better features for the app so it’s not as useful to download it right now. However, I would definitely keep an eye out for them in the next couple of months as they will be releasing a lot of useful features very soon.
There are so many money saving apps out there so hopefully this gives you a quick idea of what options are available. Good luck on your journey to better money management!
Written by: Honey Ajisefini (Co-Founder of The Black & Forth Platform)