Even though the economic news is shaky, I still see a lot of new startups in the personal finance arena. I’m constantly running behind in keeping up with all of them, but here’s one that reader MF sent over.
ImpulseSave.com tries to making saving as easy as spending. Their intro video throws out the stat that 20% of take-home pay is spent on impulse purchases. So first, you set a goal like “student loan” or “Roth IRA” or “vacation fund”. With ImpulseSave, just sending a text message like “10 to student loan” will move $10 from your checking account to your savings account. At first I thought “Umm… that’s it?”, but here are a couple of ways I see it working:
- Converting discounts to real-world saving. Many times during the month you’ll “save” money by getting a discount or doing something frugal, but by the end of the month you’re still not ahead because you just spent the money elsewhere. Now, let’s say you brown bag your lunch. With one text message or e-mail, you can shoot $10 into your vacation fund. Went for the $1 DVD rental date at RedBox instead of $20 at the theaters? Move $20 out of your checking account.
- Match spending with savings. Think 401k matching, but for yourself. Create a barrier to spending by making yourself save an amount equal to whatever frivolous purchase you make. Bought $20 of clothes you didn’t need? Well, match it instantly with a $20 savings transfer. You still got your little buying high, but you saved as well.
These are all behavioral tricks to saving, but let’s face it, that’s what a lot of us need. My main issue is that the service requires you to open up a new bank account at their partner bank, Massachusetts-based Leader Bank. I don’t want to open up yet another bank account just for this service (especially if it only pays 0.40% APY). I hope they keep the central idea but allow you to link your existing checking and savings accounts like Capital One 360. I asked for an invite and got it within 24 hours, but didn’t end up opening an account since I didn’t want to provide my SSN and full personal info for the bank account.