Before I even saw my email the other day with digit’s announcement that they plan to start charging monthly, 3 different friends texted me to tell me about it.
I have been hardcore on the digit bandwagon. A few of you have probably read my digit supporting posts through the years:
- digit: Do You Have Trouble Saving?
- digit vs. Acorns: And the Winner Is…
- Is digit Awesome? A Year Later, I’m Still Saying YES
- Is digit Still Awesome? TWO Years Later, I’m Still Saying YES
I even rave about digit in real life when hanging out with friends. The second they mention wishing they could save more, I start harping on how they should download digit.
Personally, I’ve saved about $2,500 using digit without even realizing it was happening.
This does make me wonder if $2.99 a month is worth it. For $36 a year, I can set aside nearly $1,000 a year without even trying.
So, honestly, it might be. But for now, I’m planning to close my account and see if I can manage to set aside a little bit here and there on my own as well as digit does or find an alternative app that does the same thing.
One of the things I really loved about digit as a freelancer was that it worked with my variable income. I don’t feel comfortable auto-drafting $20/week out of my checking account because some months I have steady income coming in and I could take out $40-50 a week and not even really notice it and other times I go 2 months without a paycheck and $20 a week would really stress me out.
For two years, digit accurately navigated my variable income stream and really maximized the amounts it would pull out so that they never really seemed noticeable.
However, the personal finance blogger in me balks at the idea of paying to save. This seems like something I should be able to manage on my own – and don’t get me wrong, I do. If you follow my monthly net worth updates, my list of goals on the bottom always includes several savings goals each year. Digit helped me reach them sooner and/or invest even more each year.
Fortunately, there are a couple of other ways to save if paying $2.99/month for digit is unappealing to you too.
You could go entirely old school and check out one of these awesome savings plans (you could also set up autodrafts out of your checking account to correspond with the first one):
- Save a different amount every day of the week.
- For those on a really tight budget – the penny jar challenge.
- This bingo-style money saving plan that lets you do more when you can and less when you can’t.
- For those who only struggle with the remembering to save part of things, not the actual income part, try the 50/30/20 system.
- Take the 52 Week Money Challenge.
- Or do it in reverse.
All of these are going to require more effort than some magic app that just trolls your purchases and knows how much you can afford to set aside this week.
But you know what? Putting a little more effort into setting up your savings when you’re first learning how isn’t such a bad thing. Four years into my personal finance journey and I’m not as hands-on, on-top-of everything like I was at first, but it was the learning process I went through at the beginning that allows me to take a step back now and see that things are running smoothly and to know right where to look when things aren’t.
On the flip side of that though, some of digit’s miracle juice was in how easy it makes savings – and, honestly, if you are setting aside some serious chunks of change using it, that miracle juice might still be worth $2.99/month. If you’re severely cash strapped and that miracle juice is putting aside $10-15 a month for you, $2.99 isn’t worth it.
Now I present to you, some other automated options.
**I also offer these in a factual way, not in a THIS IS AWESOME way, because the digit news is new to me too and I’ve only just now started to use these apps myself. These are my hopefully these are awesome options and I have totally risked linking my own bank account to a few of them.**
I gotta say, my initial impressions are strong. You can set multiple goals. It’s got a few more steps to it than digit, but it allows you to allocate the savings to multiple goals.
Similar to digit, it pulls small amounts out of your bank account and holds them in your Dobot central account. You can then go in and allocate those savings to different goals (right now I’m just using it to pad my Down Payment savings goals).
It also sends you updates and messages via text like digit.
If you’re interested in giving it a try, you can use the referral code QXIHK to get $5 when you sign up (full disclosure, I get a $5 kickback too) or sign up for Dobot through this link.
That being said, a reminder that I’ve only just started to use the app, so I’ll update it a few weeks to let you all know how it’s going.
Qapital is a little different, but also has some really cool features that automate savings for you.
Qapital works on the IFTTT basis, which mean If This Then That. What that means to you is that you set up a savings system that works if you do this, then that will happen.
So, let’s say you pick the round up scheme. If you spend $1.75 on a pack of gum, then $.25 will move into your savings from checking. Each purchase rounds up to the nearest dollar and the difference is moved from your checking to savings account.
Another cool perk to Qapital is that you can share goals, so let’s say you’re in a long distance relationship and the two agree to save 5% of each paycheck so you can visit each other. You can both share this goal through Qapital and track it’s progress.
I do have to point out that while I think Qapital has a pretty cool set up, I had a nightmare of a time getting my sign up to go through and have experienced regular connectivity issues. This could totally just be me – but it’s just an FYI for all of you.
Simple is actually an entire bank account, but if you’re looking for an online bank that’s got some awesome bells and whistles, Simple could be a good choice for you.
Most notable, considering the topic of this post, is that Simple has a goal setting section in its app and it does the same thing that digit did. It reviews your bank account balance, upcoming bills, income, etc. and siphons out small amounts to help you reach that goal.
Keep in mind though that Simple is an online bank and you’ll need to sign up for a bank account with them to use this function.
Bank of America
If you’re already a Bank of America customer, you can reap some savings rewards by signing up for their Keep the Change program, which rounds up all your purchases to the nearest dollar and moves the change into your savings account.
If you’re not a Bank of America customer, you’d need to sign up for a checking or savings account with them.