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OrSaveIt: can a mobile app really save you money?

Emma Lunn
by Lovemoney Staff Emma Lunn on 01 February 2013  |  Comments 13 comments

The new app OrSaveIt encourages people to forgo small luxuries and save the money for a bigger goal instead. But do you really need an app to do that?

OrSaveIt: can a mobile app really save you money?

As a personal finance journalist one question I get asked over and over again by friends and random acquaintances is “What’s your biggest money saving tip?”

My answer is simple, and always the same: “Stop spending”.

And, as you can guess, there’s now an app for that.

OrSaveIt

OrSaveIt can be downloaded free from the iTunes App Store. Its aim is to get consumers to hold back on impulsive purchases and save the money instead.

For example, if you were about to spend £2.50 on a cappuccino or £1.65 on the latest issue of Heat, you forgo the purchase and save the money instead.

Each time a user decides to make a saving – whether deciding not to buy a coffee, making a packed lunch for work or staying in on a Thursday night – they enter the amount they've saved into the app and watch their cash pile grow.

At the end of each week, customers receive a savings update and can link through to a bank account and transfer the money to their savings account.

The app also allows users to set themselves savings goals, such as a holiday or new car, and to see how the small savings towards those goals soon accumulate.

How much can you save?

The app’s founders have done some research on the amount of money people spend on day-to-day impulse purchases. It says that collectively Brits have a £6.34 billion a year latte habit.

Broken down, it suggests that each coffee drinker spends £393 a year on takeaway coffee.

The app works on the theory that normally when you make a saving – say £10 on your monthly phone bill or £3 on a buy-one-get-one-free deal in the supermarket – this amount is generally absorbed by other general outgoings.

By putting the money aside, saving money on a day-to-day basis can help you save for bigger items such as home improvements, cars and holidays.

Do you really need an app?

Using OrSaveIt will undoubtedly get users thinking about their day-to-day spending and how they could save money but, although the idea is good, I’m not convinced you need an app to adopt the don’t-spend-save mentality.

Although I’m not generally a fan of New Year’s resolutions, since the beginning of the year I’ve been actively trying to save money I usually flitter away on things I don’t need.

I’ve got almost £100 so far so it’s going pretty well. Some of the savings have come from skipping my weekly jaunt to the pub quiz for a couple of weeks due to picking up the latest virus doing the rounds. My plan is any winnings made on my return to the pub quiz team will also go in the savings pot.

I also threw in £10 when during a clothes shopping trip (for necessities, I hasten to add), I failed to notice some items I was buying were in the sale and therefore my total was £10 less than I thought I’d be spending.

Other savings have been made by cutting back on “treats” in the supermarket (good for the waistline too) and making a packed lunch for a day out in the countryside at the weekend, rather than buying food in a café or pub.

Get the most from your savings

Of course once you’ve started saving you need to find an account that gives you a decent return on them.

A Cash ISA is a good place to start. Best buys at the moment include Coventry Building Society which pays 2.8% on 60-day notice terms, and Earl Shilton Building Society which pays 2.7% but requires 90 days to get your money out.

The top-paying easy access accounts include the Post Office which pays 2.1% (including a 2% bonus for 12 months) but requires a minimum investment of £500 and Coventry Building Society which pays 2% (including a 0.4% bonus for a year) and only requires a minimum investment of £1, while Nationwide and Derbyshire Building Society also offer easy access accounts paying 2%.

More on moneysaving:

Make big money from old toys!

Poundland versus Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s

eBay, Amazon, Play.com: where to sell online for less

How to get your hands on free stuff

MusicMagpie vs the competition: where to sell your DVDs

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Comments (13)

  • CuNNaXXa
    Love rating 410
    CuNNaXXa said

    As with everything in life, this will work for some, and not for others.

    I cut back by only buying what is on my list. If I see offers such as BOGOF, I'll only partake if the second item can be frozen, or has a shelf life that allows it to be deducted off next weeks shop, otherwise I'll pass.

    I have also started buying fruit and veg at one of the many local farm shops we have, because they are far cheaper than the supermarkets (which were meant to be cheaper, but aren't).

    (An example are apples which cost £1.80 for five at Morrisons, or £1 for six at my local farm shop, for comparative apples of similar size and weight).

    Of course, impulse buys should be few and far between. I treat myself to the occasional chocolate every now and then, but never on a regular basis. I also treat myself to a proper curry or chinese takeaway several times a year (I used to have a takeaway once a week, and sometimes more).

    So, would an app help? Well, it won't stop you not spending, but it would certainly help to show the money you haven't spent. Not spending money is a discipline that many need to master. The psychologists behind advertising campaigns and shop layouts know their stuff, and know how we work. They use techniques such as fear to encourage us to buy things we may not even need.

    For example, every chip in a windscreen WILL eventually crack, as the Autoglass advert says, but 'eventually' could be a long time, like years or even decades.

    Those wrinkle creams have been scientifically proven to reduce the signs of aging. So has 'make up'. Plaster an older woman with Max Factor, and you can make her look younger. The opposite is also true, in that you can 'make up' a man or woman to look older than they are.

    What we need to do is to look past all the gloss and see what is really underneath. A packet of Tesco Value paracetomol, at 15p, is no different from a Brand paracetomol, costing many times more (easily in excess of £1), yet they both contain the same active ingredient, and are consumed by the body in the same way, and for the same length of time.

    Of course, there are times it pays to pay extra. For example, Birds Eye BEEF burgers DON'T contain HORSE meat, whereas value BEEF burgers, up until they were caught out, DID contain HORSE meat.

    So, this app will show how much money you save, provided you shop savvy. If you don't need the BOGOFF offer, put the saving in the app. If you opt to by a value product instead of a Branded product, put the saving in the app. If you are tempted to by an impulse item, then decline, put the saving in the app.

    Or, just stick to a rigid shopping list and don't deviate.

    This app, like a lot of tools, is there should you want to use it, but it is not the be-all-and-end-all.

    Report on 03 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  1 love
  • Latent
    Love rating 21
    Latent said

    Well cunaxa (or similar) it was all going fairly well until you mentioned burgers! Why, why, would anyone buy burgers of any kind from anywhere? You haven't got a clue what's in them and if you believe what any burger manufacturer say is in them, ask to see their factory.

    For goodness sake (take that both ways) spend the same amount on a piece of shin beef or brisket and make a warming pot of stew. If you thin it down a bit, leave some gravy behind and have that poured over chips or boiled spuds the next day.

    Or use that cheap fresh meat to make your own burgers, you will know what's in them!

    Report on 03 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • culluding-fool
    Love rating 60
    culluding-fool said

    This isn't an application I can see myself using because I can't afford to be fussy. Even in the days I could afford to be fussy, and application like this wouldn't get me to spend any less, nor be of any interest to me. Maybe it works like a placebo.

    @CuNNaXXa, I agree with nearly every thing you say but not sure what the big deal is about horse meat. I understand it wasn't mentioned on the packaging, which is very wrong, but horses aren't going extinct or anything so what's the problem with eating their meat? I make my own burgers using meat from the butcher mostly. I don't like most meat from Tesco, and it's expensive from the butcher so it's just a once in a while treat now.

    As for stews, @Latent, you need to watch the fat content. Most fat runs off a burger when it is cooked but meat in a stew contains all its fat in a very bad form in all the juices in your stew, then you pour the remains over dinner the next day...

    Report on 03 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • sketharaman
    Love rating 8
    sketharaman said

    Reminds me of my post "Why You Need An App To Tell You If You’ve Read A Particular Book" (http://sketharaman.com/blog/2011/12/02/why-you-need-an-app-to-tell-you-if-youve-read-a-particular-book/). While I'm no psychologist, years of observing consumer behavior makes me believe that, as in the case of books, an app for saving money justifies its existence with its ability to reinforce - rather than create - a desirable behavior pattern among its users. Other frills like a convenient link to transfer the savings from a current account to a savings account don't hurt their appeal either.

    Report on 03 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    No, I don't need a silly app. to save money.

    On the unrelated horsemeat issue, Tesco should have sold the burgers off cheap and I bet plenty would have bought them. I thought I was a rare cynic but I talk to plenty in the retail trade and many, like me, are actively trying to find somwhere selling horse meat just because I think the whole issue was blown up out out of all proportion.

    Even the Halal meat issue is a nonsense. If your religion forbids you to commit crime then, as far as I'm concerned if you end up in jail you can eat the bacon sarnies or starve.

    Report on 03 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • ajrr1
    Love rating 19
    ajrr1 said

    I suspect a lot of people will just look at what they've 'saved', and use it to justify the purchase or some luxury item or another.

    i.e. the app would be self defeating.

    Report on 04 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • CuNNaXXa
    Love rating 410
    CuNNaXXa said

    @ Latent & culluding-fool...

    I don't eat burgers of any sort from a supermarket. In fact, most of my meat is sourced from my local butcher.

    The reason I mentioned burgers was because of the recent scandal whereby a major supermarket was marketing one type of meat as another. This is not the first time that something has been mis-sold, as such.

    In fact, car manufacturers have been known to re-badge a competitor car as their own.

    Also, white good manufacturers also do the same. If you buy a Sony, you want it to be a Sony, not an LG re-badged and re-priced.

    So, are you buying a brand, or something repackaged as a brand. If you pay a premium for a brand, is it fraud if they repackage something and charge you a brand price for a non branded product?

    Report on 04 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    @CuNNaXXa

    Arçelik rebrand their products as BEKO, is that misrepresentation? NO car manufacturer has ever branded a 'competitor' car as their own - unless my dictionary definition of 'competitor' is way off. So the Mazda 121 was a really a Ford Fiesta and the Ford Festiva was a Kia Pride etc. etc. My Chrysler Neon has a 2 litre engine which is basically the same as the original 1.6 Mini engine and the Volkswagen Phaeton is in many versions mechanically identical to a Bentley. Collaboration is what business is about and Heinz DO make beans for other brands. You pay for a brand - your choice or stupidity. Just for the record, Skoda engineers have forgotten more about engineering design than the VW parent company will ever know so branding is not everything.

    Report on 05 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • CuNNaXXa
    Love rating 410
    CuNNaXXa said

    @ electricblue.

    You can buy a standard Koni shock for several hundred quid, or buy a genuine Porsche shock for almost £1,000, even though the Porsche shock is just a Koni shock with the addition of a new label.

    Also, the Ford Maverick was a re-badged Nissan Terrano II. How many people bought a Ford, not knowing it was a Nissan?

    Also, I bought a Sony VHS recorder, only to discover that it was a re-badged Samsung. If I want a Samsung, I'll buy a Samsung, but I don't want to be flogged a Samsung disguised as a Sony.

    As for branding, it is OK to rebrand a product if you own the brand. Many parent companies, such as Proctor and Gamble, own many brands. There is a difference between buying a tin of Tesco's value beans which are repackaged Heinz, or buying a tin of Heinz which is a repackaged value tin of beans.

    After all, if you buy a BMW, you want something that represents BMW value, and not a vehicle made by a third party, where the quality of manufacture cannot be assured.

    (The Rover City car was a rebadged Indian city car of inferior quality. Rover did not tell their customers the true identity of their city car.)

    If someone puts a lot of stock in a brand, how will they feel if they discover the brand is fake, or their particular product came from a third party, and was re-branded. I returned my Sony (read that as Samsung) VHS recorder because it wasn't the genuine article. I paid over the top for a Sony VHS recorder, whereas if I had bought the Samsung badged version, I could have saved myself £100.

    No one likes to be conned, yet it appears that manufacturers can con us as and when they like, with little or no comeback.

    Report on 05 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • electricblue
    Love rating 769
    electricblue said

    @CuNNaXXa

    I've no clue what your point is. You buy a brand and assume that the brand comes with certain values. It doesn't matter a toot who actually manufactures the product. As the Ford Maverick and the Nissan Terrano were virtually identical you would need to be a complete moron not to realise that they were a joint venture product. Everyone knew that the Rover City was a Tata Indica. Nearly all plasma TV screens are made in the same factory but again, so what? There are often subtle production line changes in electrical goods which are alternate branded. You either trust a brand or you don't, there is no middle ground and no con. Spirit build both Airbus and Boeing fuselages in the same factory and there are many 'competitors' who have joint ventures.

    Report on 06 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • ajrr1
    Love rating 19
    ajrr1 said

    Manufacturers have to share platforms and parts or they wouldn't be in business.

    I agree there is no con, it's just the reality of the modern world.

    I think being able to trust a brand will always be important. You can't know everything about everything. On occasions you have to be able to make a decision without doing extensive research.

    Electricblue & CuNNaXXa - count yourselves lucky that you are so much more knowledgeable than most consumers. Many people wouldn't even know enough to have the discussion with you never mind disagree on whether it's a con!

    That Rover City was a funny car. I thought it was funny when they started re-branding 500 year old models like the 200 & 400 as sporty MGs, but the City took things to a whole new level.

    Report on 06 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • CuNNaXXa
    Love rating 410
    CuNNaXXa said

    I think branding is everything these days.

    Most of us know that Apple get their kit built by Foxconn in China, but we assume that the specification and quality guidelines the kit are manufactured to are stipulated by Apple in the US.

    Outsourcing to third party manufacturers is all well and good as long as the parent company has total control on the quality of the build. For example, if Mercedes were to ask Ford to build their C class, it would be acceptable as long as we know that the C class was being built to a standard acceptable by Mercedes.

    The problem with outsourcing is that sometimes a manufacturer will buy a competitor product, made to a substandard of their own quality, and badge it as if it were their own kit. The Jaguar X-Type suffered because people believed it was a reshaped Mondeo. After all, if they are prepared to buy a Jag, why settle for something inferior.

    As for electricblue, branding does come with values. That is the whole point in branding, is that you create a brand that people trust. Whether it is a product line such as Sony, or a retailer such as Woolworths, or a car maker such as BMW, people put stock in branding. In fact, branding and brand awareness is so important that companies will actively sue anyone who abuses a brand.

    In fact, Rover, back in the eighties, was considered a premium brand. People aspired to owning a Rover, especially the Sterling. In more recent times, though, the Rover brand was seen as a lower quality brand, especially against more prominent brands such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi, which now dominate the executive car sector. Brands can go down as well as up.

    Another brand story is that of Skoda. Once upon a time, you only bought a Skoda is you couldn't afford any better, yet today Skoda is considered a quality mainstream manufacturer which people are more than happy to drive, without the stigma that clung to the original manufacturer (who employed prison labour to make their cars).

    Of all brands, though, the most prominent today is the Apple brand. Take the iPhone, for example. It is probably no better than competitors using Android or Windows, yet people desire these phones simply because they carry the Apple logo. In fact, if the Android or Windows market left Apple behind in the technology stakes, there would still be diehard Apple fans who aren't interested in the technology because they consider Apple to be fashionable.

    Branding is everything.

    British Gas. Jaguar. Lexus. BT. Ikea. Sony. Santander. Saville Row. The Sun. Hello.

    These are all strong brands that stand out from smaller, more insignificant, brands.

    Report on 08 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves
  • leah AKA global leah
    Love rating 17
    leah AKA global leah said

    I don't think the apps that "saves you money" would work, not if you are careful with your money in the first place anyway, although I do find a few apps that is good, especially the bank ones, as then you can check your balance if you're not sure how much you have left but can't get hold of a computer. Because we all know how much they can charge if you're overdrawn.

    I personally have apps for the necessities that I need to keep check on for "just in case".. o2 is another good one, if your contract phone has limited minutes/texts/datas. British Gas lets me know how much my bill is going to be and whether I will have enough money to pay the bill. Nectar lets me know when there's a special "offer" for double points, Ebay lets me know if I am bidding for something, how it's going, And my favourite one is the "torch", it lets me find my dogs in the garden when it's dark, because I don't have a security light there.

    Either way, I think people should only install/download apps if they think it's necessary for their every day use, but certainly not pay for anything, not when you can get one that's for free.

    Report on 09 February 2013  |  Love thisLove  0 loves

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