Did you know most Americans would struggle to come up with $400 in case of an emergency? Building a savings is essential to your financial health. Extra cash stored away for a rainy day, a down payment on a car or a home, saving up for a vacation, or just about any other major purchase can mean the difference between adding to your debt or climbing out of it.

The biggest problem is that saving money isn’t easy. Paychecks are shrinking and the cost of living is going up, making it difficult to set aside money. Combine that with the ease of online shopping and hyper targeted product marketing, and it’s easy to forget about our long term goals in favor for immediate gratification. So, what does one do to save besides rely on sheer will power? Enter from stage right, Digit, a handy (and FREE for the first 30 days!) app that connects with your bank and makes saving a helluva lot easier.

As someone with a terrible track record with saving, I downloaded this app to help build up a rainy day fund so I’m not adding to my credit card debt every time my car breaks down or my furbaby needs to go to the vet.

How It Works

The Digit app connects with your bank and takes a few dollars out of your account every few days and stashes it into a savings account (that even collects interest!). The amount taken from your checking account is in relation to your balance and spending habits. So, you usually don’t even notice its gone from your account. If you are afraid of overdrawing, you can add balance protection so it doesn’t take anything out if your checking balance goes below a certain level. Eventually, you build up a savings that you can withdraw from at any time.

Here’s a short video explaining what Digit is and how it works:

Downloading The App

Downloading the app was easy, I just followed this link and downloaded it to my phone. The best part about setting it up was I didn’t need to dig my routing or account number out of the drawer. I just picked my bank and it connected with my established online banking account, easy peasy.

Day One

I wanted to be a good saver, so I put $25 on the app right away to get me started. The next day, I got a text message with my checking account balance to remind me of how much I have. I was even able to text back with a set of responses to get things like my latest purchases, my savings, or even add or withdraw money from my digit account without having to log into the app.

I love these little reminders because it currently helps me keep track of my money. Being confronted with my spending habits and seeing the results on my balance really put how I was spending my money in the forefront.

The First 3 Months

The first 3 months I had the app, I saved over $500. Most of it was money I never even realized was missing from my account. The rest was money I was inspired to add to hit my savings goals. I needed a new tire and was 5 days from my next paycheck with a student loan payment due in 3 days. I didn’t have money for both so I withdrew $200 from my rainy day fund instead of putting the tire on my credit card. The money was in my account within two days and I was able to cover everything with having a few extra dollars to spend.

The Pros:

– Set It And Forget It

It is so easy to build a savings fast with this app even if you do not actively use it to save. The automatic withdrawals are small and barely noticeable, but they add up quickly. I find myself forgetting to check the app for weeks and am so glad to see I’ve saved a few hundred dollars in that time. It’s like money I’ve gifted to my future self.

– Make Goals

You can create multiple saving goals such as a rainy day fund, a vacation, or a down payment. As you see the balances grow, you become motivated to put more money in. This app has made a game out of saving. Knowing I can access my money quickly if I need it makes it easier to put money into savings. Seeing my bank account balance every day helps me spend a little wiser.

– Saving & Friend Bonuses

Not only does this app help you save money, it helps you grow it too with saving bonuses. Usually like 1% or so, but as I learned, every penny adds up. Also, if you get friends and family to sign-up, you get a bonus as well.  

The Cons:

– Not Every Bank Has Access

The app connects with most major online banking apps (over 7,000 across the country), but some of the smaller banks are unavailable. I’ve only had one friend who couldn’t connect with her bank.

– Sometimes The SMS Data Is A Bit Delayed

If you spend money like wildfire, sometimes the daily text messages are a little off about your balance, especially if charges hit later in the day. I found it to be pretty accurate though, plus or minus a few dollars. If you are getting low in your account or just made a large payment, you should check your bank balance before you make any major purchases.

Overall, the Digit app is easy to use and super beneficial, especially for people who have a hard time building up a savings.

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