Save Money Bit-by-Bit with Digit

Disclaimer: the links to Digit below include my personal referral code, a feature available to all Digit customers. If you sign up for the service using those links, I will receive a small referral payment to my account. I would obviously be grateful for you to use those links if you decide to try the service, but if you are uncomfortable using the referral code but still want to try the service, you can visit the site without my code using this link.

Saving money is tough, perhaps especially so in academia. Even for academics in relatively stable positions (and that’s a minority of us), paychecks often don’t seem to stretch far enough to put much away for a rainy—or perhaps more appropriately right now, an apocalyptically snowy—day.

Enter Digit, which aims to make saving money easier by focusing on micro-withdrawals day by day rather than large occasional deposits. The short version is this: Digit links up to your bank account, monitors your spending habits, and uses that data to make small withdrawals that you shouldn’t even notice. These small withdrawals all accrue in your Digit account to be transferred and can be withdrawn (back to your banking account) at any time.

Digit makes its money through some of the interest earned on the many savings accounts it manages. Users do not earn interest on their Digit savings—so if you’re already saving money in an interest-accumulating account, you probably shouldn’t stop doing so. However, Digit might prove a useful way to passively build up a fund that can then be transferred to an account with interest, particularly if you (like me) struggle to put anything in savings month by month.

If all this sounds too good to be true, well…it did to me as well, at first. Like Mint and other banking applications, Digit does require your bank account information to do its work, which can raise valid worries. After doing some research, it seems clear to me the service has been vetted. It already integrates with many major banks, and has been glowingly reviewed around the web. I bank with USAA, which is a bank particularly vigilant about financial security—that they’ve chosen to integrate with Digit assuaged my fears. I’ll be giving Digit a try in the coming months, and will update you in a few about how it goes.

How about you? Do you have any tips for saving money on a tight budget? Tell us about your strategies in the comments.

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