Mindful Money
Jun 3, 20205 min read

Finding Financial ‘App-iness

by Jon - The Money Shed

It’s easy to find yourself in a bit of a mess when it comes to money, partly because keeping track of everything can be complicated and stressful. That extra layer of effort can be a real hassle when you’re trying to work within a budget, but there are a couple of simple tricks you can use to put yourself in a better financial position without any major effort. With so many apps out there, these are the ones that really work for me.

I’ve been using money saving apps for a number of years now. I’ve found because they tend to do the hard part for you (compared to actually going into the bank or manually moving the money over!) they end up saving you both time and money in the long run which is a win-win for any financially savvy person.

Save Money Automatically with the Chip App

Chip is a free-to-use app that you can install on iOS and Android devices and has totally revolutionised how I save money. In the past this used to require me to be disciplined enough to manually move money over to a savings account but thanks to the AI that Chip uses you can save money in the passive sense. Once you’ve signed up, you securely link your bank account to the app, and it starts to monitor your finances. 

Analysing the incomings and outgoings of your account every four days, Chip calculates how much money you can afford to put aside. The money is then automatically moved for you from your bank account to a separate account within the banking app. Fear not though as your money is ring-fenced in a Barclays account and is stored as e-money. If Chip decides that you can’t afford to save cash at the time, no money will be moved.

One of the great things about Chip is that you can set three goals at a time and the app will automatically allocate a certain percentage of your auto-save budget into each one. For example, you could set aside 60% for a short-term goal like buying a new coat, 20% for a medium-term goal like a holiday, and 20% for a long-term goal like a house deposit. The shorter timeframe you give to achieve your goal the more aggressive Chip will be at putting money aside for that particular one. 

Reduce Bills with the ZIPZERO App

ZIPZERO is an app that gives you money to spend on your monthly bills in exchange for photographs of your shopping receipts from regular UK high street stores no matter if it is your weekly food shop or you weekend clothes purchases. 

Once you’ve signed up for a free account, you’re ready to start. When you buy something from a UK-based retailer, you just open the ZIPZERO app, take a photograph of the receipt and then upload it. 

When approved, you’ll be paid at least 1% of the value of your purchases. This money can then be used to pay for your electricity, gas, council tax, internet, telephone, and TV subscriptions. 

It’s a simple process. Just add your biller’s details in the app with your reference number and send the cash over to the direct debit you want to contribute towards. The great news is that direct debits aren’t messed up because they automatically adjust when you separate payments like this.

For clarity, ZIPZERO only uses the personal data they gain either from yourself or via the shopping receipts to help optimise special offers that you receive within the app based around your shopping needs.

It’s worth noting here that you can’t withdraw your earnings as cash, you can only make payments to the above listed bills. That said, the advantage this brings is that it makes those bills a little bit easier to swallow. I’ve personally been able to shave £50+ from some of my monthly direct debits using ZIPZERO. 

Stay informed with Emma

Another free app to make things easy for you; Emma is granted read-only access to your bank accounts, repayment accounts, and investments. The app then monitors your spending in real time and provides you with up to date information about your financial situation. 

Knowing when bills will be leaving, when you’ve been paid, and how much you’re spending each day really helps. For me, Emma made me realise how often I spend money in coffee shops, and this gave me the elbow in the ribs I needed to cut back!

Ultimately, having a variety of free apps gives you greater visibility of your money and helps you take control of your finances. You’ll be able to put yourself in the strongest position possible at any given time.

** The recommended providers in this blog come directly from the author and are not affiliated with Klarna or the author in any way.