Review of the Emma App
I have finally found an easy to use app that is helping me to understand and thus reduce my spending. And help me control my emotional spending. Here is the review of the Emma app. (which you can download for free here)
I have written a lot recently about my emotional spending. When I am feeling upset, or sad, or angry I reward myself with something that costs money. Some food, a gift for the children or something for me to momentarily make me feel better, but my bank balance suffers as a direct result.
My previous tactic has been to write everything down in a notebook at the end of each day. I would record all the spending and reflect on whether I could or should have avoided that spend. But I would forget some days, or I would catch up every three days and forget some things I had spent on thus defeat the purpose of the activity.
Using the Emma app automates the recording of my spending, compares it to preset budgets and sends me messages every day to let me know if I am doing well or not so well. I really love it and do feel that it is helping me to control my spending and reduce my weekly spend.
The Set-up of the App
The set up was very easy for me. I had two accounts that I wanted to connect to the Emma app. My priority was to understand my day to day spending. I use just two cards for this. Most of my spending goes onto my American Express card, this is a credit card that is paid in full each month and I receive 1% cashback every year on this card. I also have a Mastercard for any retailers whom do not take Amex, again repaid in full each month.
It took five minutes to add both cards to the app. I just had to add the security details in a safe encrypted way. My cards were connected and all my transaction details were imported. With the introduction of open banking this information is now readily available from banks to apps such as Emma.
Familiarising myself with the Emma App
I then spent some time familiarising myself with the app. My previous spending needed some tweaking. The app had categorised my spending into main categories, groceries, travel, family, shopping, personal care, eating out, entertainment. Some of the allocations needed to be corrected, but once done the app recognises this change going forward.
This then gave me the chance to review previous month spending. I knew that October has been a high spending month. The app gave me a chance to review exactly where the overspends were.
Setting a budget
After reviewing my previous spend I set up budget for ongoing spending. I want to keep my spending to less than £1000, which I split between the main spending categories of Groceries, Eating out, Transport, Family, Entertainment.
I can see every day how my spending is doing compared to my set budget and can adapt my spend accordingly. I find this reassuring and is really helping me to reduce my weekly spend and be more mindful about my emotional spending. I know that I only have £300 each month to spend on groceries so £75 a week is it.
I love the daily notifications I get from the Emma app. Sometimes they are positive, sometimes they are a warning. I loved the message yesterday saying that my spending for this week was doing well and I was well within my budget.
But last week I got a message telling me that I had spent too much at Wagamama’s in previous weeks! It makes a difference when you have something telling you that you have spent too much!
My Money Mindset
The app does make you much more aware of your spending, as opposed to just tapping to pay and thinking nothing more of it. But it makes you aware in an almost light-hearted way. I didn’t feel like I was being told off about Wagamama’s, I felt like I was getting a handy piece of information to think about spending less there.
The positive messages have a powerful impact on my mindset. They are a reminder that I am doing well and doing a great job at controlling my spending.
I see the Emma app as an invaluable tool to help me to stick to my budgets and understand exactly where my daily spending is going.
Download the app for free yourself and understand your spending in a simple way. It will make a difference to your spending habits and hopefully help you save a bit more or pay that bit more towards any debt.
This review of the Emma app is a collaborative post.