Saving Money Is Easier When You Don’t Have To Think About It

Just take the money and don’t tell me.

Handy advice & photo via Flickr

Every morning, before I’m fully awake, I get a text that informs me of my bank account balance. Usually, I already know the answer, but the reminder in the morning is helpful. While some may argue that this method is a surefire way of ratcheting up anxiety and causing unnecessary distress pre-breakfast, I find that it soothes my mind. When I know how much money I have and how much money I can reasonably spend, I can proceed throughout my day without flying into a panic about whether or not I should buy gum or order a new book.

I use Digit, an app that we’ve written about extensively, despite its downsides. When it was first introduced in 2013, Digit offered no interest on the money it was saving for you, functioning like a digital change jar more than anything else. Since its inception, Digit has started offering Savings Bonuses — 5 cents for every $100 based on your average balance over the past three months. Better than nothing, to be sure, but still not great. It’s also an app that makes saving money something you never, ever have to think about again.

Get Interest-free Banking With Digit, a Terrible New Way to Save

Via magic or an algorithm that you will never be privy to, Digit assesses your spending habits, and makes informed decisions on what to save based on how much money you have in your bank account. “Good lord, that sounds terrifying,” you might be thinking to yourself. “Why can’t I be the master of my destiny? Why can’t I tell the robot what I want it to do, not the other way around?”

If you’re the kind of person who relishes complete control over your finances, then Digit is not for you. However, if you know that you need to save money somehow but understand that agonizing over how much and when and why would cause you undue amounts of stress, then maybe it is. Last I checked, Digit had moved $19, $34 and $24 into a savings account from my checking account. Those dollar amounts are just enough to be significant; I see a Duane Reade run, a shirt and a book ordered from Amazon Prime. Those are the dollar amounts that would cause me an unending stream of worry about whether or not it was worth it to spend. I understand that Digit isn’t perfect, but using it has shown me that my finances aren’t as disastrous as I might think.

Half of the trouble with saving money is the anxiety that surrounds it. If I haven’t saved any money, the fact that I should causes its own set of worries, spinning thru my brain like a dervish. When managing my money for things like taxes, I can easily set aside the required amount per check; anything I can do to safeguard myself against feeling like I need to lay down for a week when I pay my taxes is a good thing, indeed. But, saving money for the inevitability of its necessity — vet appointments, the great unknown, replacing large things of great value — is something that’s much harder. Deciding what dollar amount should go in a savings account is harder than it looks. I would much rather have someone else make the decision for me. Perhaps I’m too trusting of the bots. Or, maybe this is just one less thing for me to worry about.

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