Plum review: automated savings taken from your bank account
As soon as I saw an advert for the Plum savings app, I wanted to know more. As somebody who has great intentions to save money but rarely does anything about it – or always has a reason not to – the idea of it being automated was very appealing.
Relying on myself to remember to save just was not working for me, and the Plum savings app had the potential to solve this problem for me.
Basically, the way Plum works is that you download the app, which you connect to your bank account. It periodically withdraws a bit of money into a kind of savings account for you, automating the process of saving rather than relying on you to do it yourself. Plum take no fees for this.
The Plum savings app bases the amount it takes on factors like your bank balance so it shouldn’t leave you skint. The higher your bank balance, the more it will take. And it warns you a few days before it takes the money so no withdrawal will take you by surprise.
The Plum app also has a look at your bank transactions to see whether you’re paying too much for things like your utilities.
When I started using Plum, it worked exclusively on Facebook Messenger. Now it has its own app, it is much more streamlined and professional looking.
Pros and cons of Plum
- You can access your money at any time, it’s not held anywhere where you can’t get to it
- By automating the process of saving money for you, you don’t have to make decisions about how much to save and how often
- You don’t have to remember to move money from a current account to a savings account
- Automated savings coming out of the bank via Plum is completely free (there are some paid options within Plum as well that I don’t want or need)
- The app is pretty straight forward to use
- You can control certain settings, such as whether you want to round up your savings amounts to the next £
- The Plum savings app is not a bank so your money may not be well protected (see my solution to this below!)
- Plum does not pay any interest on the amount you save (same solution below!)
- If you only want the savings element of the app, promotion of the options to change your utility providers and the paid savings options can be a bit annoying, though to be honest I rarely get prompted to sign up for them
My main reservation before I signed up to Plum was the fact that it’s not a bank with the protections that would come with that so I came up with a solution that’s working for me: once a month, I withdraw my ‘savings’ and put them straight into a savings account with a real bank. This way, they are protected and earning (admittedly paltry) interest.
It’s in my Google Calendar as a repeating task on the first of every month so I never forget. I just log into the app and withdraw my savings in a few clicks from there.
Doing this once a month means that my money is protected without me having to take responsibility for picking random amounts to save every few days and do for myself the tasks that Plum is currently automating for me. If you feel uncomfortable with leaving your savings with Plum for a whole month, you could transfer it into a savings account fortnightly, or however suits you.
In terms of the other aspects of the app occasionally being annoying, you can actually switch off notifications about those, which solves this problem. It takes under a minute to turn them off, then they’re not an issue. Or you might even want recommendations for cheaper utilities! You do you.
Using the Plum app means I have transferred more to my savings account than ever before, because I don’t have to think about it. In a world where we have so very many things to think about, putting something on ‘autopilot’ is great.