It’s no secret things are tough right now, with huge spikes in the cost of energy and other daily essentials putting our bank balances under pressure.
This difficult economic backdrop is also having an impact on our mental health, with three in four adults feeling worried about the rising cost of living, according to the Office of National Statistics in June 2022.
One option that could help you is Plum – a comprehensive money app that uses the power of automation to make budgeting, saving and managing your money easier.
Plum is a comprehensive money app, which uses the power of automation to make budgeting, saving and managing your money feel effortless
With plenty of other things to worry about at the moment, knowing your finances are under control can provide some much needed reassurance.
Plum also helps you take advantage of the wealth-building potential of automatic saving to help make your money go further – whether by earning interest on cash deposits or investing in the stock market.
Here’s how Plum works and why you need to download the app now (Plum is available on both App Store and Google Play).
Bring budgeting into the 21st century
Everyone knows budgeting is key to effective money management, not least at a time when the cost of living is rising.
But it can often be hard to get started.
After all, while some people love nothing more than kicking back with a spreadsheet and a calculator, for most of us it’s not quite our idea of fun!
Plum does the hard work for you by connecting all your accounts and cards in one place to give you a complete view of your spending.
That includes a monthly payments overview, which breaks down everything that will leave your account in bills and subscriptions over the coming month.
Rapid rises in the costs of everyday necessities like household energy can be worrying but getting a bird’s eye view of your finances can help you to plan and feel more in control.
Plum will also keep track of your regular bills to automatically check if you’re being overcharged and could save money by changing to a new provider.
You can then use the app to switch to a better deal in minutes.
Plum Card can be used anywhere that Visa is accepted, and there are no charges for using it abroad beyond Visa’s daily exchange rate
The power of automation
A traditional approach to saving would usually involve checking how much you have left at the end of the month and sending this via bank transfer to a savings account.
But Plum does the work for you by analysing your income and expenditure to identify when small amounts can be deposited on your behalf, every few days.
You can choose for this money to go into an Easy Access Interest Pocket where it will earn up to 1.15% AER** – that’s more than most high street banks – or invest it instead*.
Plum is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and money held in an Interest Pocket is covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Automating your deposits can increase your chance of hitting your savings goals, be that for a rainy day fund or something longer term, like saving for a house.
And because the amount Plum puts away is tailored specifically to you it will never leave you short, ensuring you have money left aside for when you need it.
If you’re looking for other ways to increase the amount of cash you’re stashing away, there are lots of other fun, clever savings ‘Rules’ you can apply beyond the regular ‘Automatic’ option.
This includes ‘Round Ups’, which will round up your transactions to the nearest pound; and ‘Rainy Days’, which saves extra cash automatically every day it rains.
You can also control the auto-stash option to increase or decrease the amount you’re saving based on your ‘Mood’, from ‘Beast Mood’ – which will up it by 75 per cent – to ‘Shy’, which cuts it by half.
For super savers who subscribe to Plum’s Ultra subscription, there’s also the Money Maximiser option.
This high-tech tool seamlessly transfers money into your interest account, holding it there for as long as possible to earn interest, before feeding a weekly flow of cash back to your everyday account to cover spending.
To get you started, Plum offers a simple range of investment funds that make the process straightforward and accessible to new investors
Plum now offers the option to invest in fractional US company shares from some of the world’s best-known firms
Invest from £1
The interest offered on even some of the best performing Easy Access savings accounts is currently unable to keep pace with the high rate of inflation.
Another way of earning a return on your money that could beat inflation, or at least lessen its effects, is to invest your money long term in the stock market. Remember though, nothing is guaranteed and the value of your investments can go down as well as up.
To get you started, Plum offers a simple range of investment funds that is intended to make the process straightforward and accessible, particularly for new investors.
There are choices like Tech Giants, consisting of major US companies like Microsoft and Google; Slow & Steady, a diversified portfolio of 80% shares and 20% bonds; and other options with an ethical focus to match your investments with your personal priorities. Click here for the full list.
You can begin investing in minutes from just £1, and there’s an option to choose a Stocks & Shares ISA.
Investing in funds helps to diversify your portfolio by spreading your money across lots of different companies, while drip feeding your money into the stock market little but often can help reduce the volatility in your portfolio value.
Alternatively, buying individual company shares can provide a new way to customise your portfolio and back the companies you believe in.
And now you can with Plum, thanks to a new feature that provides the option to invest in fractional US company shares. Choose from some of the world’s best-known firms like Apple, Tesla, Nike, and Microsoft, which are all currently available.
All these trades are commission-free, although some charges will still apply.
*Plum does not provide investment advice and individual investors should make their own decisions or seek independent advice. Just remember, as with all investing, your capital is at risk. The value of investments can go up as well as down and you may get back less than your original investment.
You should not invest in, or deal in any financial product unless you understand its nature and the extent of your exposure to risk. You should also be satisfied that it is suitable for you in the light of your circumstances and financial position. When you automate and invest you should be satisfied that it is suitable for you in the light of your circumstances and financial position.
**Easy Access Interest Pockets are provided by Investec Bank Plc.
***Some charges will still apply.