The $0 Trick That Helped Me Save a Boat Load of Cash

The $0 Trick That Helped Me Save a Boat Load of Cash
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Don’t tell my mom, but I’m not a spectacular money saver. I try really hard to be. One month I'm all cheap, easy meal prep and happy with the clothes in my closet. The next, I'm eating $12 Chopt salads three times a week and Zara's having a major sale. That was my life. Until I discovered Digit.

Digit, an intuitive money saving app, came to me in the form of a well-targeted Instagram ad on January 1. “Save money automatically without a budget,” the app touted. In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions, I clicked into it. The app store further broke it down. “Digit is the free, effortless way to save money without thinking about it.” I’ll try anything effortless once, I thought and continued reading. “Every few days, Digit checks your spending habits and saves a few dollars from your checking account if you can afford it.” Within minutes, I had linked my bank account and felt instantly empowered by my small step toward real savings.

In the past, I set aside a pre-determined amount to put in savings, the same way I allotted for my rent and my bills. Great (in theory). But the reality is that some months are more expensive than others. Sometimes three of your best friends’ birthdays fall in one month. Sometimes you have to go to urgent care. Sometimes your nice winter jacket gets stolen from a bar in the middle of February in New York. Digit, bless its heart, accounts for all that.

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Because the app is connected to my checking account, it can determine how much money is an appropriate amount to save. So, on payday, Digit will typically take out about double what it takes out on, say, a day or two before payday (shudder). Then it saves whatever amount it sees fit in an account within the app called your “Rainy Day Fund.” This fund has become my secondary savings, as I still manually move an arbitrary amount into my standard savings account each month. I refuse to withdraw from my Digit savings and instead let the haters hate and watch the money pile up.

To give you a rough idea of how gentle Digit is with the whole pulling-money-from-your-checking-account thing: After using the app for a solid three months straight, I’ve amassed over $350 for a rainy day. That’s a good chunk of money, but also not enough to fear the dreaded overdraft. Digit will only take out money if you can afford it. So, if you only have $20 in your account (no shame!) it will either only take out a dollar or a bit of change, or nothing at all. They believe so strongly in their algorithm, that if you do encounter an overdraft, they’ll cover the fee. It will also provide you with text alerts to let you know how much money is in your account and how much you've saved. And, for your (and you mom’s) peace of mind, any funds held in your Digit account are FDIC insured up to $250,000. So, it’s safe to assume you’re covered. (Unless you live a life of pure luxury and that’s not enough coverage–in which case, are you single? Call me.)

VIDEO: Famous Women on Spending and Saving Money

Perhaps the best feature about Digit, though, is you can set up specific savings goals outside of your Rainy Day Fund. These goals can be recurring monthly goals for things like bills, rent, and loan payments, or these goals can be for one-time splurges like a trip or a Fendi backpack. For example, if you spur-of-the-moment buy a ticket to Coachella in January and then realize that you also need a flight there and chic bohemian clothes, you might set a goal to ultimately cover those costs. Digit will steadily save for that goal, which you can represent with a specific emoji (#goalmoji), while it also continues to add to your Rainy Day Fund. Two words: life changing.

Letting Digit into my life has completely overhauled my financials, but it's the peace of mind that's truly invaluable. Now any worries about saving money each month are instantly quelled by the reminder that, I'm already saving! I love it; my mom really loves it. What more do you need from a New Year's resolution?

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