Most adults in the UK check their smartphones 33 times a day, with more than two hours spent mindlessly scrolling and tapping.
But rather than endlessly looking at all the bad news on social media, you could use the device in your hand to improve your finances via an app such as Chip, Money Dashboard, Yolt or Emma.
Chip, for example, uses artificial intelligence to work out how much you can afford without to save by analysing your spending behaviour. Every few days, it automatically transfers money into a Chip account that you’re required to open when you sign up.
There’s no need to worry about your data – your login details are protected using 256-bit encryption, which is considered highly secure. The downside is that you don’t currently earn interest on the money saved via the app. Your money is stored as ‘e-money’ with a retail bank (currently Barclays) and is ring-fenced so that it’s not used for any trading activities. You can withdraw your money at any time.
It’s more important than ever to track down the best possible deals on everything you buy so that hopefully you’ll be able to save money that you can then direct into your emergency fund.
Although most of us will be reining in our spending during this difficult time, there are necessities we’ll always have to buy, such as food and household products.
Fortunately, when it comes to tracking down the best prices, there are plenty of websites which will do the hard work on your behalf. For example, Pricerunner.com enables you to hunt down the best prices on things you need to buy by comparing and listing over 1.6 million products from over 4,000 retailers. The cheapest price is listed first, and as the site is independent, you’ll have peace of mind that retailers can’t influence which products you’re shown. Another site, Kelkoo.co.uk, performs similar research on thousands of products, and claims to save shoppers an average of 15% on their purchases by helping find the lowest prices.
When you know what you want to buy online, always check to see if there is a discount voucher available which can get you money off your purchases too. Sites where you can see current voucher codes include Vouchercodes.co.uk and Groupon.co.uk. Simply enter the name of the retailer you’re buying from and these sites will let you know if there are any discounts available. You should also see if you can earn cashback on your spending via sites such as Quidco.com and Topcashback.co.uk.