Note: It appears that the Pickpocket app is no longer available as of 2020. Check out the alternatives of Chipper or ChangEd.
Behavioral economics studies how people actually make decisions about their money. It’s a fascinating field that shows that people aren’t perfectly rational with money, so we often spend money when wewe should save it. That said, simple mind tricks like automation, gamification, and low-pain options can get people putting more money toward their goals.Over the past year, I’ve reviewed dozens of personal finance apps, but only a few deliver on their promises to tap into the power of behavioral economics. Pickpocket.me stands as one of the few.With the tagline, “We make saving stupid simple,” the company actually delivers. If you’ve got student loans, this is an app that I definitely recommend. Here’s how it works.
Pickpocket.me uses a basic algorithm to help you put more money toward your student loan. For every dollar you spend on anything, Pickpocket.me puts ten cents towards your student loan. You can actually adjust the stealing percentage down to 5%, or go higher if you prefer.Once you decide on your parameters, you simply connect your student loan account, your debit and credit cards to the app, and Pickpocket.me does the work.It’s important to note that Pickpocket.me will “steal” (as in put money toward your loan) on the first $500 of each purchase. So if you pay $900 in rent each month, you’ll only set an extra $50 toward your loans (not a full $90).Pickpocket.me also gives you the option to undo a savings transfer if it will cause a financial hardship for you.
The Pickpocket.me app is primarily meant to operate in the background of your financial life. You’ll tend to spend less because you’ll see a lower balance in your checking account. You’ll put more money toward debt because Pickpocket.me will make sure of it.That said, the app offers two motivating twists that can help you pay down student loans even faster. First, you can try to enlist sponsors who match some of your extra payments. Think your parents or grandparents would be willing to put $50 toward your debt? They can match your extra payments (with limits on their match), to help you toward freedom from debt. I can definitely think of a few parents who would be excited to help their adult children make financial progress.Second, you can manually boost your savings from the app itself. Did you make an extra $500 hustling? You can immediately put a few hundred dollars toward your student loan debt to knock it out even faster.Every time you make a payment through Pickpocket.me you’ll see just how much time and interest you’re saving.
Pickpocket.me is an amazing app that I believe will help thousands of people get rid of debt faster. It’s smart, automatic, and easy to understand. I love the app, but I don’t think it’s for everyone.Personally, I think most new grads should focus on building an emergency/opportunity fund, and capturing any employer matches on 401(k) programs before they start aggressively attacking debt. Depending on your income and expenses, it might take a few years to build your income to the point where you’re able to make all your bills, capture a 401(k) match, and start attacking the debt aggressively.I see Pickpocket.me as an app for people who know they’re guilty of wasting at least a little money, but want to make a change. PickPocket.Me will facilitate that change with easy, automated transfers. It’s a great app, but you need to be financially ready for it.