Sometimes people ask you to review apps that turn out to be… well… a little bit sh*t. Luckily on occasion I’m asked to write about an app that I not only think is a great idea, but which I also actually use as well. It makes it a very easy sell!
STASH or ST# is one of those. When I was first approached by Liberty, the creators of this nifty little app, I was curious but let’s face it – we’ve seen these kinds of things before. Apps that “help you manage your spending habits”. Apps that “help you see where your money is going”.
The ones that don’t think they have enough money to save.
Right? We’ve heard it all before. I’ve used a number of those apps over the years to help me track my spending habits and save more, but after maybe a month of dedicated use I kind of forget all about them.
Except you haven’t really seen anything like this before – or at least I haven’t. I’m (just barely) part of that Millennial Generation. The ones who have all the education and none of the money? Yeah those ones. The ones that don’t think they have enough money to save. The ones that don’t have enough to retire on. The ones who can’t buy a house.
I’m not saying I don’t have any of those things, but for the most part this is what characterises this generation. A lack of savings and investments because there’s just too much month left at the end of your money.
Too much month left at the end of your money
Except we all have that spare change that rattles around in our pockets. Or in the case of people like me who don’t really carry cash and just use their card, those spare cents that fall away and you don’t really notice them. How does this help you? You’re not going to go to the bank with a bag of coins and deposit R3.45 every couple of days. Of course not.
So let me take a step back. How does it work?
When you sign up, STASH gives you R50 free to get started. You can invite your friends, and for every friend that signs up through your referral link, you get an extra R10.
Rounding up R10 adds up throughout the month
If you’re like me and bank with FNB, you’ll be familiar with the concept of “bank your change”. When you swipe, it’s rounded up and the extra money is deposited in a “Savings Pocket”. Unlike the FNB Savings Pocket however, you can set the amount you want your swipes to round up to – anywhere from R10 all the way up to R50. I’ll be honest, I don’t round up to R50 – if I was rounding up R50 every time I swiped I would be super broke! But still, rounding up R10 adds up throughout the month. Additionally, the awesome thing about STASH is that it doesn’t just SAVE your money – it reinvests it and grows it. Reinvests it where? In the stocks of South Africa’s biggest listed companies. We’re talking Anglo American, Bidvest, Investec, Mediclinic and so on.
In addition to stashing and investing your swipes, you can also stash R10 on an ad hoc basis. You can’t do so more than every 24 hours, which stops you being a bit trigger happy, however R10 is a small enough amount that it’s easy to do, it’s satisfying, and it doesn’t really impact on your bank balance.
You can also set STASH up to track your spending habits and when it feels you have enough to spare, it will automatically “stash R5 on a sunny day”.
In more recent months they’ve also added a feature where it counts your calories and you stash 5c for every 100 steps walked.
All of this amounts to a fair amount of money being squirrelled away throughout the month. I’ve only been using it since mid-April and already have managed to accumulate around R1500 which is being reinvested to grow into something more substantial. Sure, its not a huge lump sum, but it’s the kind of thing that if it reaches a reasonable amount, I can then reinvest, or if I’m saving for something specific – maybe a laptop, or a holiday – this allows you to save that money without feeling like it puts the rest of your bank balance under pressure.
More importantly, you can cash out whenever you want. Of course it conforms to FICA requirements, so you’ll need to provide proof of address and stuff, but that’s really very easy and it’s a cool, fun way to start saving AND INVESTING your money. Honestly, investing is something I totally wish I had done earlier, and this way I at least feel like I’m making an effort in being proactive about it.
STASH allows you to take advantage of South Africa’s tax-free savings regulations, so while if you do want to invest in something bigger long term you’ll need to put it in a taxed investment, at this stage the focus is on encouraging people with no savings to save and invest their money.
It’s never too late to start investing. Or too early. Basically just start doing it now k? You’ll thank me later.