Acorns: The only way I’ve been able to save money


First off, no, this isn’t some “Sponsored Post”. But yes, I am passing off a link that could get me and you $5 for free. (So is this a sponsored blog post then? I don’t know.)

Anyway, this blog is mainly about big things, deep things, human things. Religion, Culture, Politics, Cities, Justice, Beauty, and others. But it’s also about me–a thing neither big nor deep, but still quite human.

And there are few things that expose our humanity more than money. How we relate to the resources under our care shows so much about who we are and the ways we’re wired. For me personally, I’ve had difficulty saving money. Not because I don’t make enough or because I spend too much–I’m just pretty undisciplined and disorganized.

If statistics are any indication (although research differs), for one reason or another, you might have a similar difficulty with saving money.

Whenever a technological revolution begins, it is sold to the public as a way to make the process of being human a little easier. For the most part, this promise is always bunk. Just as with financial lifestyle, our humanity expands to fit whatever free space there is. Add a phone that can augment your mind, and instead of spending that free time in leisure, creating beauty, or connecting with others, you spend it all the more with your phone.

Anyway, when you find technology that is able to meet you where you’re at and help you accomplish your goals in spite of yourself, that’s something that excites me and makes me want to share it.

I hereby give you Acorns. It’s an app and site which connects to your bank accounts and cards and invests your spare change. If you’re coffee costs $2.15, the app takes the left over $0.85 and adds it to your investment portfolio. It’s that simple.

You don’t have to look at it or pay attention to it ever. There are no minimums to begin, you can set any limits you want (only round up to the next $0.50, for example), you can add regular payments into your account in addition to your “round-ups”, you can withdraw money whenever you want, and you can set the risk level of investment you’re comfortable with. Every few days, they add up your spare change and invest it.

(I currently have a special link that can get both me and you an extra $5 when you sign up for the site. Many thanks.)

It handles the investments automatically, there are no investment fees–just $1 a month for the service (cheaper than most savings accounts that bear interest). With the dividends I’ve received from the investments, I’ve more than made up those fees.

For example, from me not doing anything for the past year I’ve been with Acorns, I have saved over $1,000 on a “Moderately Aggressive” level of investment risk. I had no starting investment or balance. I just set it up and left it alone. I didn’t need extra will-power, discipline, or reminders. It’s all automatic.

The downsides? This has never happened to me, but I don’t think they have anything that prevents them from pulling out your scheduled round-ups if it’ll put you in the negative. I could be wrong, but if you flirt close to your balance in the days before your paycheck hits, you may want to turn the automatic side off (though you can still add money whenever you want)

The other big downside for people like myself that really want to be conscious about their money is that you can’t choose where your money is invested. So, for example, my current portfolio contains stocks from various tech companies I like, but also ExxonMobil, who I’d rather not invest in. But then again, the percentage that goes to them is negligible in the long-run. And the money I save, whenever I do use it, won’t go to them, so the arc of my savings my bend toward justice in the long-run.

So check out Acorns. It’s free to start. Free to use (if you’re a student). Happy saving!

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