How the iSaveMoney app helped to get my finances back on track

Hands up.

I fell off the thrifty wagon face first into shit creek, however all hope isn’t lost just yet and the iSaveMoney app has helped to put me back on the straight and narrow.

Where it all went wrong

An avid preacher of the 6 Ps (Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance), it’s ironic that this is where the problems began.

I let my metal health issues get the better of me and a long, blisteringly hot summer presented itself as the perfect excuse to ignore everything I’ve been taught ever and go suitably off the rails.

An increase in anxiety brings on the urge to get drunk and entertain in equal measure – tears of a clown ready for action in a beer garden near you.

In no time at all life became a cycle of work-drunk-work-drunk.

Fuelled by my competitive need to be top of the board on my new team I worked myself into the ground to grow the biggest client base, 8-12 beers in the evening became commonplace. High cost convenience funding the whole thing.

Before I knew it PK’s 30th had arrived in July, swiftly followed by his cousin’s wedding in Ireland in August. The lack of 6 Ps meant the whole lot went on my credit card, and after having almost no debt to speak of my whole life I had somehow managed to rack up £3,900s worth in 6 weeks.

September saw no shift in spending habits, although I did manage to fund the madness on my own money instead of adding more to the credit card bill. I was treading water at best.

How the iSaveMoney app helped me get my finances back on track

*Disclaimer* You have not stumbled upon a ‘How iSaveMoney app cured my mental health and alcohol issues’ post, however its lack of miracle type ability shouldn’t be held against it.

Going from someone who didn’t spend money on food and such at work, the speed in which contactless payments leave my account came as somewhat of a shock.

I can’t speak for every banking institution, but Santander’s sloth style speed to processing contactless payments borders on the obscene.

I never knew where I was, and could go quickly from ‘having’ £120 available to spend one minute to suddenly £80 overdrawn the next. Charges that I’ve never had before were becoming increasingly common.

How the iSaveMoney app works

You can set the date range of your budget to suit you; daily, weekly, fortnightly, 4 weekly or by calendar month.

You add your income, there is room for your every day salary as well as options to add any further income you may receive.

Once you know what’s coming in, it’s time to add what’s going out.

First point of call for me was listing everything that comes out of my bank account by Direct Debit. Obviously it’s easier if all your Direct Debits leave your account on the same date, but if you’ve not got around to moving them into an orderly pile yet at least with this you can see when they are going out.

Next, I added in other expenses I knew were coming such as a couple of trips to the barber, the gym and vape liquid – I’m a simple soul, that was it for me.

However, the biggest entry for me, not in size necessarily, but more to get me back in the thrifty groove was the ‘Daily Living’ category I created. I decided I was going to give myself a £10 per day budget for the month (£300).

I can already visualise some readers recoiling in horror at that last statement, but give me a chance to explain.

I know that people do, and have no other choice but to live on less than £10 per day, in some cases much less. But my £10 per day has to encompass everything. And when I say everything I mean EVERYTHING!

The decision not to give myself a fun or entertainment budget was made with purpose. This may not work for everyone but in my case it was very much needed. The £10 per day budget is for everything outside of monthly Direct Debit commitments – food, toiletries, emergency prescriptions, treats, entertainment – the lot!.

We all live in different circumstances so adjust accordingly.

Tracking real time spending with the iSaveMoney app

Remember that competitive streak I mentioned earlier? Well this is where it’s been paying off for me.

I’m now in competition with myself to live off an average of £10 per day, I love competing with myself, I’m my biggest and most competent competitor after all.

The ‘£10 average’ bit is explained as such, basically I’ve got £70 a week to play with and that’s what I’m working towards rather the focusing on the £10 per day.

First point of call, as always, is taking care of my belly with a food shop. Plan that well enough and there are plenty of no spend days to work with, the surplus in funds creating a fun budget from nowhere.

Not getting caught out with contactless payments

This is where my affair with the contactless casino came to an abrupt end.

I spend it, ask for a receipt, log it and stick the receipt straight into Receipt Hog to earn off my spending.

The iSaveMoney app shields me from the blatant lies of my Santander online banking, whilst decreasing the odds of rolling my eyes at the ‘can anyone recommend’ idiocy currently going down on Facebook when I could be spending my time more productively.

Final word

So far so good, it has worked a treat for me.

My £70 per week starts on Sundays and I work my way back to Saturday where the aim is to live sensibly during the week to allow myself a bit of wriggle room for treats at the weekend.

The challenge now is get through a whole 30 days within or under budget. I’ll be dropping my first update on Sunday 4th November if you fancy checking how I got on.

The iSaveMoney app is available on iOS and Andriod.

This review is based on my own experience using the iSaveMoney app. I have not been paid for this post, nor do I have any affiliation with iSaveMoney.

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David Jack Taylor is the founder and editor of the Thinking Thrifty blog. An award winning personal finance and lifestyle blogger, he shows how it is possible to live extremely well for less.
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