I’m not a great saver. In general, I’m a spender. But I want to become a decent saver so that that I can invest it and make a good pile of money before I retire and hopefully live well before that. Given my spending nature, for me, it’s about creating systems that take out the need for willpower and that make it easy for me to spend less and save more. Monzo, Marcus, and Moneybox help me do that.
Monzo is a new bank account that’s mobile-only and aimed at young people. It has a cool bright pink card that when you tap it or use it, sends an instant update to your phone. So I know immediately when I buy a coffee or lunch. It literally tells me as soon as I tap my card on the reader.
So how does Monzo help me save money? Two ways:
First, it is a load-on card. I have to have funds on it to use it. My main card is with a major bank (not Monzo), and my salary is paid into that. I then transfer £100 to my Monzo whenever my funds in Monzo runs low. Monzo is my spending card for everything. The fact that so little is on my account and I have to top up when I run out, means that I don’t mindlessly spend and tap on stuff I don’t even register I’m spending on. Recently, I bought a jumper for £90 but I had to transfer money from my main account to my Monzo (I don’t carry a card for my main account). This act of transferring made me stop to see if I consciously wanted to buy the jumper. (I did!). I’ve made Monzo my default Amazon card as well so that it makes me scrutinise how much I’m really sending on Amazon books (the answer is a lot).
Second, it has a round-up function on transactions, which takes a transaction (say £2.90), rounds it up to £3 (which is what is debited from your account), and puts the £0.10 into a separate saving pot in your Monzo account. Since I turned this feature on a few months ago, I’ve had 113 round ups (£0.47 average) for a total of £53.03. Not much, but better than nothing and I don’t even realise it’s happening. Effortless.
Get a Monzo account here:
Get one through this link and we’ll both get £5!
Just follow these instructions: https://join.monzo.com/r/argg9bi
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
Saving is easier when your savings account isn’t the same bank that you spend with. Say you’re with Barclays as a current account and a savings account. When you’re feeling the pinch at the end of the month, you might be tempted to transfer some savings into your spending account. When it’s a separate bank that you have to log into, then it’s a big effort to do so, and this effort is often enough to stop you doing it.
ING Direct used to fill this role for me. Its password alone was too difficult for me to remember, so I was able to set a regular monthly payment into it and not be able to touch it, as I had forgotten the password! It helped me save enough for my deposit on my flat.
Unfortunately, ING closed down in the UK. But Marcus is here to fill the void. It also has one of the highest savings interest rate out there (at time of writing it was 1.50%, which is still lame by historic standards!). But it’s a decent bank with a name that you can believe won’t go bust (touch wood).
(Update as at May 2020, regular savings of £100, then £150, and now £200 per month has amounted to a total of around £2,300 in my Marcus account)
Moneybox App iOS
This probably the most fun of these three services. In a nutshell, Moneybox rounds up your transactions to the nearest pound and invests the change into their Stocks and Shares ISA. You decide which risk appetite you want for the funds in which your ISA invests in. I chose ‘balanced’ below:
Then this is the asset allocation ‘balanced’ gives you:
This is what I’ve saved effortlessly on Moneybox in the past several months: (It’s not huge, but it’s something, and it’s invested. It’s good because it’s effortless and even fun when you ’round up’ your transaction. You get a rewarding noise when you round up, and it gives you the dopamine hit needed to reward you and keep you going.
(Update as at 26th May 2020, my Moneybox account has £722.50 in it invested. I’ve written a follow-up article to it here called How Moneybox helped me painlessly save and invest £722.50 in 15 months)
If you’re struggling to spend less and also struggling to save, then give these apps/accounts a go. Along with Yolt (to be covered in a later post), these make money fun to handle!