Five ways technology can save you money

Five ways technology can save you money

Robots – artificial intelligence, chatbots, robo-advisors and the rest – are big news in the banking and finance industry.

Packaging financial smarts into a programme or algorithm looks like a great way for big banks, insurance companies and airlines to help guide customers through complicated decisions and save (the company) money along the way.

It’s early days though, and chatting with a robot can sometimes feel a bit like, well, chatting with a robot.

Take this experience I had the other day with UK-based money transfer service TransferWise. I was keen to try it out, so messaged its Facebook chatbot and told it I’d like to transfer some Swiss francs (which, full disclosure, I do not have) to a friend in Australia (ditto). Everything went well until the bot asked me how much money I’d like to send. The bot was pretty chatty up to this point, so I thought I’d try answering like a human.

“How much money in Swiss Francs would you like to send?”

“About a million?” (Question marks at the end of a sentence are pretty Kiwi, I reckon)

This threw my electronic friend into a bit of a tiz.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. How much would you like to send?”

“A million, mate. I’d like to send a million.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. How much would you like to send?”

“A mill. You know, a thousand thousands.”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. How much would you like to send?”

“Are you deaf? Did you not see Austin Powers? ONE MILLION DOLLARS”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. How much would you like to send?”

I stopped talking at that point. For all I know, the bot is still there waiting for me to say something.

Bots, then, aren’t quite ready to save our financial lives (or, thankfully,  kill us by not opening the pod bay doors). The good news though is that there are a few simple things we can do with technology right now that can save us money, avoid missing payments and give us that smug feeling that only comes with having your financial shizzle in one sock.

Alert! Alert!

Your computer or phone’s calendar is a great tool, and alarms aren’t just for getting you out of bed. Late payment fees suck (not to mention the possible effect on your, cough, credit score), so when a bill comes in, make an appointment for its due date and set an alarm so you’re reminded to pay it. Set recurring appointments for monthly or quarterly payments (if you prefer not to go down the direct debit track).

Shop around without driving around

That computer, TV, Bluetooth speaker or lawnmower you want might cost $100 less in a shop you’ve never heard of than at the big brand place. Or vice versa. Price comparison sites like PriceMe are a great way to see what’s on offer.

Call time out on impulse purchases

Amazon 1-click is a great w

Five ways technology can save you money – Credit Simple

ay to order the things you want quickly, and a terribly easy way to burn through your money. Amazon Contemplate is a plug-in for your Google Chrome web browser that gives you a 30-second cooling off period to reconsider that purchase before finally committing. (You might want to try a more manual method too: dip into your web browser settings and remove your stored credit cards… the time it takes you to go and find your wallet next time you want to buy something might be just what it takes to change your mind. Here are the instructions for Google and Microsoft.)

Park your expenses

Car parking in our big cities can be super expensive. What if you could park in someone’s drive (or an empty supermarket parking space) for a lower rate than a carparking building) AND rent out your own drive while you’re at work? Kiwi app Parkable does just that and so far lists 3000 spaces around Wellington and Auckland (soz, Taihape!).

Make a new plan, Stan

Well, a budget. Budgeting apps are a great way to get a handle on where the money goes each week, and awesome Kiwi life-advice site has listed its top 10 favourite budgeting apps for iPhone and Android. They’re mostly free, too!

Credit Simple

Credit Simple gives all Kiwis free access to their credit score, as well as their detailed credit report. See how your credit score compares by age, gender and community and gain valuable insights into what it all means.

All stories by: Credit Simple