Living pay cheque to pay cheque is far from ideal, especially if you find yourself becoming too reliant on small loans to help you get by. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app that could help you budget and find a way to save your money without leaving you short each month?
The good news is Squirrel is one such app that links to your bank account and makes it easy to stay on top of your bills while also finding ways to put some aside. Download it via iOS or Google Play and it can help you stop overspending and keep you out of your overdraft.
Cash Lady has been using the app recently and our review gives you the perfect start point to see if this will work for you.
What is Squirrel?
Squirrel works as a budgeting and saving app. It allows you to set goals and create a budget that works for you on a monthly basis, helping your money to last longer. You set out your expenses and it pays them out while holding onto anything extra, allowing you to save.
How does Squirrel work?
Squirrel provides you with a basic Barclays bank account that is controlled via an app that is available online, or via iOS or Android. It enables users to control their income so it can be saved before it is spent too quickly.
What makes Squirrel work so well is it allows you to create a budget and then provides the structure for you to stick to it each month. You categorise the funds that come in and leave the account – such as salary, bills, spending money and savings – so it can be easily divided and managed.
Essentially, it works as a filter to provide access to funds just before it is needed. For example:
- Commitments: When a bill is due (such as rent, utility bills and council tax) money will be automatically transferred from the Squirrel account into the user’s current account.
- Savings goals: This is automated and accrues on a monthly basis by holding back money. For example, if you want to save £150 across 3 months, you set the goal and the app will hold back £50 a month for you. This can be viewed in a visual savings calendar where you can keep track of your savings goals. Once the goal is reached, the money will automatically be transferred into your current account.
- Spending money: The money left over after savings have been made and bills paid out counts as spending money. You can either transfer this as one lump sum or split it into a weekly allowance so it isn’t spent too quickly.
How much does Squirrel cost?
Before you start paying there is an option to try the service free for 8 weeks. After that, in order to use Squirrel, you will have to pay a monthly fee of £9.99 per month, although this can be cancelled at any time without any notice needed. All you have to do is update your banking details with your employer to ensure your salary is being sent to the correct account.
Does my Squirrel account earn interest?
Your Squirrel account is a non-interest bearing account and isn’t lent out as many standard current accounts are by banks and building societies. This means that neither Squirrel nor your account gains any interest.
How safe is it to use Squirrel?
Squirrel says they use 256-bit encryption, which is used by all of the major banking organisations. Yodlee, who has been around since 1999 and have tens of millions of users and over 150 financial portals and institutions who use their services, manage the connection made to your bank by the app.
The app connects to your bank account(s) by asking you to link to each account using your password. Once this has been entered, everything is then encrypted and stored (in encrypted form) by Yodlee on a separate database using software encryption and multi-layered hardware. They also promise to never sell your data to third parties.
In terms of your money, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulate Squirrel and your money is held in a special prepaid account (which means it is never used by the bank for loans). It remains there in a segregated e-money account and remains under your control at all times.
Does Squirrel have customer support?
Squirrel does provide customer support, which can be found within the app itself, or via email or phone.
Should I use Squirrel?
Squirrel is great news for anyone who finds it difficult to manage their money or struggles to save. Because it is based on your individual finances and personal goals, it will ensure you never miss a bill while also helping you to make the most of your money.
At the same time, no matter how safe the app may be, not everyone is comfortable with an app controlling their money, which is totally understandable. If this sounds like you, then you might want to search for a different app or method of saving your money.