I have spent most of my life struggling with impulse spending. For years, it was next to impossible for me to walk out of a store without buying something, even if I didn’t really see anything I wanted. As a result, I ended up with more than my monthly household income in minimum credit card payments. While my case was pretty extreme, plenty of people spend on impulse, even if they don’t realize or admit it.
The funny thing is, I’ve always had a savings account despite all that overspending. I would move money into it, run out of money in my checking account, and take it right back out. Even when I had an unexpected chunk of money to transfer to savings, I managed to need it every time.
I’ve finally learned to save money and stop buying everything in sight, but I still struggle with saying things like, “It’s only $20,” to justify random purchases. If only I could save all the money I spend in those small increments! Apparently someone read my mind, because ImpulseSave came to my rescue.
What is ImpulseSave?
ImpulseSave is a whole new way to think about saving. It’s a real savings account at a real bank, but this account is anything but boring. Through its online user interface and upcoming iPhone app, ImpulseSave actually makes it easy (and fun, believe it or not) to save money.
How it Works
Once you set up your ImpulseSave account and link it to your existing bank account, you can choose one or more savings goals. You fill in how much you want to save and how much you can save each week, then set up an automatic transfer from your existing account. ImpulseSave will tell you how long it will take to reach your goal – this part actually frustrated me, because I set a goal of $500 at $15 a week. It told me it would take EIGHT months! But the frustration is a good thing because it makes me want to save more.
Beyond the automatic transfers, I can also save money anytime I choose to save instead of spend. For example, last week I almost went to the mall “just to look around.” My regular readers know that malls are bad for me. I actually thought about my ImpulseSave account, and instead of going shopping, I sent $20 to my savings via text message.
Yes, I said text message. I texted the ImpulseSave number, “$20 because I didn’t go to the mall!” and it scheduled a $20 transfer from my checking account. It doesn’t get much easier than that – it took less time than swiping my card at a store. And once the iPhone app is ready, I’ll be able to schedule saves from the app as well. (Or you can do it from the website if cell phones aren’t your thing.)
On the website, I can see public saves from other people, as well as those of my friends – there’s a social component to the product that makes it even more fun (and maybe a little competitive). I LOVE scrolling through other people’s saves to see what they’re saving for and how much. I can also “like” and comment on their saves.
Why it Works
There are several reasons why I believe ImpulseSave is an amazing and innovative product. First, it utilizes the things that most of us love – our computers and cell phones – to help us save money. Second, it introduces a social aspect that feels like dozens of accountability partners watching everything I save (or don’t save). Third, by showing me how much progress I’ve made and my timeline for reaching my goal, ImpulseSave makes me determined to beat the clock by saving more often.
The biggest reason why I believe ImpulseSave will help you save money? It’s separate from your checking account. Sure, the money is yours and you can access it, but it takes at least 3 business days to transfer it back to your other bank account. Plus, and I’m speaking from experience, you forget it’s there because the money is taken automatically. I was shocked when I took the screenshots for this post and saw and I was nearly up to $100 already. And once today’s automatic transfer goes through, I’ll be at $110.
Other Things You Should Know
ImpulseSave is still in the beta phase right now, which means you can’t sign up without being invited. I feel very lucky to have been included in this initial testing phase. However, don’t be sad – there will be opportunities in the very near future to get in on the action.
The sign-up process is entirely online, which is convenient. However, a potential stumbling block is the requirement that you submit a scan of the front and back of your driver’s license, as well as the front of a debit or credit card in your name. There is an easy way to do this, though – you can take pictures with your phone, email them to yourself, then upload them from your computer. Just make sure you delete them afterward – protect your identity!
You should also know that there is no credit check required to open an account. I know this because I couldn’t pass a credit check if my life depended on it, yet I was approved. However, if you are unable to open a bank account for whatever reason, you may not be able to open an ImpulseSave account.
ImpulseSave is an AMAZING product that is making a big difference in the way I save money. I’m still using my regular savings account as well, but this money feels completely separate and sacred. No matter what happens in my checking account, there’s no way I’d touch my ImpulseSave account unless there was a dire emergency – and not the Ooh, I want a new pair of shoes kind of emergency.
I find myself looking for reasons to save more money. I also consider every purchase – should I get this, or should I send the money to ImpulseSave instead? Just last night, I decided to satisfy my pizza craving with Godfather’s instead of Pizza Hut – I saved $5 and the pizza was just as satisfying!
I highly recommend that you keep an eye out for opportunities to get started with ImpulseSave. Eventually you’ll be able to sign up without an invitation, or you could always find a friend with an account and ask him or her to invite you to try this revolutionary savings tool.
Disclosure: I am a staff writer for the ImpulseSave blog. However, I was not asked to post this review and I received no compensation of any kind – I am writing it because I use the product and honestly find it worth reviewing.