As someone in their mid-twenties I like to think that I’m starting to get a hang of this whole life thing. I’ve moved out of the ‘nothing-in-my-fridge’ stage, and have moved into the there’s ‘an-electricity-bill-in-my-name’ phase (it’s somewhat bittersweet). Going through my checklist of things that I’ve wanted to accomplish, I feel that while I have ticked off some ‘must-do’ things (travel, move out of home, fend for self), there’s still a big gap in my general life knowledge.
Enter all things money.
My face when money matters are mentioned. Image: Giphy.com
When I think about finances and money, my mind goes blank. My ears are filled with white noise, and my brain sees the black and white fuzz, like when your television has no reception. Even the mention of the s word (shares) is enough for my eyes to glaze over. Savings and investment are a foreign idea to me. I tell myself that one day I will wake up and it will all be taken care of. Overnight I will have turned into an investment savvy, power banker with a savings account to match… Oh, one can dream.
So I decided it was time to educate myself and get my finances on track - you know just in case the whole overnight power banker thing didn’t go to plan. And then came a series of realisations. Firstly, how was I going to start investing and saving when I didn’t know how, or have the funds to get me started? Secondly, my lack of savings was in part caused by my life costs taking up the most part of my income.
The challenge was now set: find a way to spend and invest money without really feeling the pinch of spending and investing. Easy right? Actually yes.
I did my research and found Acorns, the app that turns spare change into a share portfolio. By linking your debit or credit card to your Acorns account, you save every time you spend. Yes, you read that correctly.
You save every time you spend. Really. Image: iStock.
Acorns rounds up to the nearest $1 every time you spend, putting the money aside to be invested into your share portfolio. After your spare change saving has reached $5 it then deposits it into your Acorns Investment account. If you want to give your savings that extra nudge you can deposit money directly into your account, by making a one-time deposit, or setting a regular savings plan.
In the five minutes taken from download to registration of the Acorns app I had turned myself into the investing, shareholding lady I’ve always wanted to be. I registered my email address, linked up my online banking account and debit card all in one fell swoop. The Acorns app even allowed me to choose what kind of portfolio I would like to be invested in, ranging from conservative to aggressive. Everything I needed to get me on my way was now within the easy reach of my phone. Which left me asking myself, “Why has this taken me so long?!”. You live and you learn right?
All that was left to do was start spending… (and saving of course).
No sooner had I bought my morning $3.50 coffee, had I started saving. A small 50c deposit to start thanks to my round-ups. From there every transaction became an opportunity to do something good for myself in the long run. And although it may seem counterintuitive, it was the way that I didn’t feel it financially that really helped me along.
"No sooner had I bought my morning $3.50 coffee, had I started saving." Image: iStock.
Uber trips, grocery shopping and Saturday morning breakfasts were all contributing. As someone who rarely has cash, and has always relied on online banking, Acorns had allowed me to set up the online piggy bank that I always needed.
The next week saw me save over $15 from the Round-Ups on Acorns. While that may not seem like much, it’s still better than the nothing I would have otherwise saved and invested. Yep, all my hard-earned spending over the week had kick-started my investment portfolio.
No longer was I daunted by my financial future. I was taking control. My life knowledge gap was starting to fill, and buying my $3.50 coffee was even better for me than I thought.
How do you prepare your finances for the future?
Start saving & investing today. With the Acorns app you can invest into a portfolio of diversified shares with as little as $5. So don’t put off saving until tomorrow, download the award-winning app today.
Available in the App Store, Play Store and our own web app.