First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes recovering from wedding expenses and saving money.
For a long time now I’ve been traveling like crazy and spending like crazy. Okay, so I paid off a ton of debt this year and haven’t let it reaccumulate, but I haven’t gotten ahead as I had planned, because well, life happens. But what I have done is line up some creative ways to get some serious cash stashed away.
One thing I know for sure is that no matter how much I try to save, I have to spend money at some point. And since I try to put as many expenses on my credit card as possible to rack up the frequent flyer miles, I decided to try Acorns to invest the rollover amount for me. This app is not new at all, it’s just new to me. Say I spend 4.01 on a purchase, .99 cents is invested on my behalf. I also turned on the multiplier option which multiplies any roll over change by 2. In my first two weeks the app has already invested about $55 for me. The great thing about the app is that it’s easy to forget you’re even putting money aside and you don’t miss the change at all. The app also shows you how much you can make over the course of years. If I continue with just my roll over change and a $5 a month deposit from my savings account, the app predicts I’ll have about $100,000 tucked away for retirement. Not bad for spare change. For many investment funds you have to have a minimum amount to start investing, but not with Acorns. The only thing I don’t like is that I can’t pick what stocks the money will be invested in. For some that’s probably really appealing…not having to think about it…but I’d like the option. If you’re interested in signing up, click here.
When I mentioned Acorns to my little brother, he immediately fired back with Qapital. Qapital doesn’t invest it for you, instead it’s a savings account app based on the same idea of saving your spare change. You can set savings goals and then select how you want to fund your goal. It allows you to get creative with how you fund your goal. You can set rules. For example every time you spend money at Starbucks it will automatically put a little money towards your goal. I’m currently saving for an emergency fund and I’m funding it with $1 this week, $2 next week, increasing by a dollar for each week of the entire year. I’m also funding it with roll over change. The app also has ways to discourage you from spending money. For example, now anytime I spend money at Trader Joe’s, Target or Uber, $10 automatically comes out of my account and into my savings fund. This is my incentive to not go crazy at Target when I’m back in the States and to take the train even when I don’t feel like it. Qapital also allows you to share goals with your friends and invite them to the app. For every friend who joins, you get $5 and they get $5. Again, I don’t miss the change at all and I can transfer the money back into my account whenever I want. In one week I’ve saved $35.
Ok, so this one is not as common or as cheap. My employer has paid for a financial planner to meet with those of us who are interested. I have had 3 meetings so far and she has been very thorough and has made me think about a lot. How many of us have seriously thought about how much money we need to put aside for caring for our parents as they grow older or how much our social security check will actually be? Is your life insurance enough? Does it have a critical illness rider? Do you have a trust? I didn’t even know if I had worked enough in the US to receive social security, let alone factored that into my retirement plan. Obviously not everyone can afford a financial planner, and I can say for certain that I would not hire one if it wasn’t free. But what I will say is that talking about retirement and saving money in general is healthy and everyone should do it more often. So I’m consciously trying to engage in more open conversations about money in an effort to keep myself motivated to save and on target to retire.
Got any strategies or apps that work for you? I’d love to hear about it! Comment below.