Dobot, Powered by Fifth Third, is encouraging people to start the year saving for a $500 “Future Me” fund. To encourage people to put aside $20 a week toward the fund, the app will offer monthly challenges.
“Few Americans have enough saved for unexpected expenses or emergencies,” said Andy Zurcher, who oversees Fifth Third Bank’s Dobot app. “We want to help them create a safety net and become more resilient. We want them to save for their future selves.”
Many surveys show that more than half of Americans don’t have at least $400 in savings in case they face an unexpected bill.
Since it was launched a year ago, Dobot has helped users set goals to save more than $390 million. The majority of users set goals for less than $5,000, saving for everything from a wedding to a vacation. The free app allows users to define their goal and upload a photo. Then they specify how much they want to save and when they need the money. Every week, Dobot automatically transfers small amounts of money from the customer’s checking account to their Dobot savings. The app includes a Scheduled Savings feature, allowing users to control how much and how often they want to save.
Fifth Third recently added a Save Together feature to help users save for a group goal. It allows you to set a goal with friends or family, see each other’s progress and encourage others along the way. The app now has a 4.8 rating in the Apple store.
To start your year off right, we’re sharing tips from our Dobot team.
1. Make saving a game with monthly challenges. Tackle a different challenge every month and see your savings stack up. We’re challenging Dobot users who are participating in Dry January to save $20 a week that would have been spent at a Friday happy hour; or to put aside the money they would have spent on coffee drinks. In less than six months, they will have $500 saved.
2. Change how you think about savings. Think about saving as a life goal, not a financial goal. You and your best friend want to go on a weekend trip to New York City; you want to renovate your bathroom; you want to plan a fun birthday party for your child. This helps you reframe the goal from, “I want to save $1,000” or some other amount. Once you think of it as a life goal, you visualize it, and that makes it easier to save.
3. Get a handle on your money. Make a list of what’s coming in and what’s going out. Look at what needs to go out, so you can look at what can go into savings. Be realistic. You can’t pay yourself first if you can’t pay your rent, buy groceries and pay the utility bill.
4. Evaluate your monthly subscriptions. Most of them automatically renew, so you might be paying for a service that you haven’t used in months. If you cut back on a subscription, consider routing that monthly amount over to savings.
5. Don’t save cards with online retailers. Do you have a credit card saved with an online site you shop? It’s convenient, but it also makes it easier to click Buy Now without a second thought. Consider disabling the feature and see if it helps you save.
6. Automate savings. Consider a 401(k) plan, which often comes with an employer match. Then consider putting money into a savings account, or using a savings app. We recommend Dobot, of course! It’s free. It doesn’t make sense to pay someone to help you save.
7. Save with friends. It’s easier to save when your friends help hold you accountable. The new Save Together feature on Dobot helps users nudge each other to share. Users can share progress and congratulate each other along the way.
The app is available to anyone who has a checking account with any U.S. financial institution, not just Fifth Third customers. The app connects to the user’s checking account. To download Dobot, search for it in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
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