My friend Darryn is always one of the first to discover super useful apps so when he mentioned his love affair with 22seven I didn’t hesitate to download and boy am I glad I did. And ‘love affair’ is perfectly apt. You have no idea how many times a day I open it up. Or how much money it’s saved me simply by heightening my awareness as to where my cash is really going.
To kind of sum it up, 22seven links all your accounts, lists them so you can see the balance of each one and then tallies them up to show you your net value, what you have, what you owe and even how much you can borrow. At present, I’ve linked my bank account, both my credit cards, my Woolies card and even my Clicks ClubCard. (I currently only have R3 worth of rewards in CashBack vouchers. Boo!)
As it’s linked to my credit cards, every time I swipe them, it automatically registers what I’ve spent and even categorises it for me. It’s a whopping 95% accurate in that it just seems to ‘know’ what’s a restaurant vs what’s my friendly credit card accepting drug dealer (kidding!) and if it gets it wrong you can recategorise with a few quick taps and then it remembers for the next time. You can also split things. For example, if I blow R500 at Clicks and it auto-files it to Personal Care, but R300 of that was for a stick blender, a few more quick taps pops the R300 into ‘Home & Garden’.
The end result of listing and tapping? You can check out the ‘Money Month’ section to get a regte overview of your month. I’ve just taken a quick scroll and seen that while I only have 10 days left of August (I’ve set it to register a month as being from the 25th to the 25th), I’ve already blown R1 214 on ‘Eating Out & Takeouts’. It’s a decent-ish enough figure as my goal was to get this amount down to R1 500 for the entire month by eating more meals at home. A quick swipe to the left takes me the ‘Money Money’ page of July, the month before, and reveals I blew a whopping R2 170 on eating out the month before in 15 different restaurants, nog al. And this figure excludes all the launch meals I didn’t have to pay for. Jirrrrre!) Another finger flick takes me to June and I see I spent an even more disgusting R3 625 in June. (It was a helluva month, ok! But please know that much of that number is booze! Or does that make me look worse?) Being able to actually see what I’m spending with such a clear bird’s-eye view has been unbelievably helpful.
The Money Month section also has a cool barometer thing that shows you what you’ve spent so far (for that month), your average monthly spending and your forecast spending.
If I flick back to the previous months, I can my average monthly spending’s been pretty high but there was this one month in April where, after shelling out a massive lump sum for something the month before, I was shocked into serious Scrooge McDuck-like behaviour and managed to spend only R17 583. (This is a massive reduction considering 22seven tells me my average monthly spend is just under R27 000.)
So how did I do it? I basically made a point of not buying any groceries until I’d eaten the very last Salticrax in my cupboard and told friends I’d only hang out with them if what we did was free. This penny pinching month has kind of set the bar in showing me how much I can save by making seriously frugal choices and I now ‘compete’ with it during months when I know I’d rather purchase something big as opposed to fritter away my cash on drive-through cappuccinos (oh the shame!), Woolies’ ready meals and mad midnight purchases on eBay while waiting for my sleeping tablet to kick in. (Cookie dough-scented perfume oil, Leigh? Really?! Goddamnit, woman!)
Anyway, there are a host of other cool things this app can do – just download it and see for yourself. You’ll also appreciate that you don’t have to wait several months to have a ‘back history’. Once it syncs up into your accounts, it automatically goes back a few months for you.
As I’ve been banging on about 22seven’s awesomeness for a while now, agreeing to participate in their #GY$T (Get Your $ Together) challenge was a total no brainer. This means accepting 7 of their money-saving challenges which are as follows:
1. Go carless by attempting to car pool where possible and compare the cost of taking an Uber as opposed to using my car. (22seven also suggests walking as an option but I live in Woodstock/Obz where I listen to people get mugged outside my window on a bi-weekly basis.)
2. Bust my bank fees by calculating what I’m really paying in bank fees including ATM fees and what not and then see if I can bring that rate down.
3. Put the ‘sure’ into insurance by getting competitive quotes to see how much less I could pay.
4. Do a little ‘subscription subtraction’ by cancelling or attempting to reduce things like the cash I pay my internet provider, cell phone company or gym.
5. ‘Deload my lunch’ by eating packed lunches vs bought ones and basically seeing what I can do to reduce what I spend on food.
6. Find something free or cheap to entertain myself.
7. ‘Cash it to cap it’ by deciding what I’d want to spend on a night out and taking only that amount in cash. No cards that’ll allow you to keep on spending.
I’ve got 22 days to complete my cash saving quest and will be keeping you updated here and there via twitter using the hashtag #GYST. (Silly twitter won’t let me use the $ sign with a #.) I really do hope my li’l financial journey serves to inspire and already have a few good ideas as to how I’m going to klap it. As it is, I’ve spent the last 20 months living a very ‘down sized’ life in a bid to slap down a large deposit on a house sans hubby, so any new tricks I can learn to speed that up even further is most welcome.
Now go download that bloody app so you can become more aware of what your kesh monneh’s doing.