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You And Me, But Mostly Me. App Review: Dobot

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FYI *UPDATE* – Dobot is no longer an active app =(. Feel free to stick around for the musical theatre puns below.

Today’s post is my first review of a Fintech App I think you’re all really going to like!

Say hello to my little friend.  Dobot.

Before we get into all the wonderful little details of what makes Dobot a great savings ally- it’s important to discuss why it can be beneficial to embrace the world of Fintech (Financial Technology).  Just the other day I was discussing with a colleague about how people can carry such an emotional connection to money and savings.  What I like about these modern-day apps is that they take the emotional attachment out of the equation- and pursue a strategy based on numbers, statistics, and goals.

We’ve gone over the perils of the Feels Like Temperature before- but this situation is a little different.  I’m talking about the feeling of looking your hard-earned money straight in the eye, and convincing yourself you have the ability to spend it.  Of course, that was before Post #2, now we track, we observe, we save.  BUT, it’s an important distinction to make that you should always afford yourself the ability to buy things that mean something to you.  I’m not saying you can’t have nice things- but I am saying that you need to consciously save for nice things.

So now you have an emergency fund– maybe you’re stashing income away in a high yield savings account to buy a house, raise a puppy, and retire comfortably- you know, the major things.  

How do you know when you can actually afford the minor things?

Hello, Dobot!  Well Hello, Dobot!

Earlier this year I came across an app I absolutely love for micro savings.  

Dobot is a micro savings app that continually scans your checking account, and will automatically transfer small sums of money to the app- where it then gets assigned to any kind of savings goal you set for yourself.  If your balance is low, Dobot might only take $3 for your goals, if it’s high maybe something more like $15 (you can set the limits).

I love this app for certain annual items that I know will creep up on me- but not necessarily things I want to take the time and energy to send $2 every week to separate savings bucket for.

You can save for up to four goals at a time in Dobot.  Let me give you some examples of what I’m saving for.

My Dobot Home Screen

Pictured above is my actual Dobot home screen!  I have four goals- for four different things I’m thinking about in the near-term future.

I absolutely love to ski.  I know that I probably want to take a big ski trip every year in the future, for as long as (the word of) my body will allow me.  But skiing can get expensive, man!  Lift tickets in the US can cost up to $120/day (or more), and not to mention airfare, hotels, meals, everything else that comes along with it.

But skiing is one of my passions.  It’s something that brings joy to my life, and every which way I think about it and the costs involved- I always settle on the fact that it’s money well spent in terms of the happiness dividend it provides.

Let’s zoom in a little closer on how we’re doing in that department.

That’s me in Switzerland, Bonjour!

For this goal, I’ve set a target amount of $700.00, and a target date of February 2021 (Please CoronaGods, let this be realistic.)

You can also assign a picture of that goal to visualize inspiration.  You’ll see that Dobot has already tucked away $300 for this goal for me, and with seven months to go I’d say I’m in pretty good shape!  

If you look back at my landing screen, you’ll notice in the upper left-hand corner I have $435 sitting snug in my Dobot account.  Dobot has allocated the other $135 amongst my other goals.  I’m saving money to buy a new iPad, a Christmas tree this holiday season, and a “Whatever I Want” goal, which will probably end up being a new kitchen gadget! (I can cook too, FYI).

(Did anyone pause for a moment and think, “A Christmas tree, really Broadway Joe?” – Yes, really!)*

A Christmas tree represents exactly the kind of goal for which I love this app honestly.  For those that are unaware- a Christmas tree costs a small amount of change.  I tend to buy a 5-6 ft tree every year, and that will run you at least $100, if not closer to $120.  

It’s the kind of expense I forget about every year until about December 10th – and then I’m standing there on the sidewalk handing some tree guy $120 in cash while silently apologizing to my emergency fund for not preparing for that expense.

We need to train our minds to save in advance for things we know we will spend money on in the future.

Once December 10th rolls around- I’ll go buy that tree.  And she’s already saved and paid for.  Boom baby.

On The Outside Always Logging In

In the past there have been a few major obstacles that I was never great at avoiding when it came to saving up for the things that I wanted.  Dobot does a really good job at helping me avoid all of these pitfalls.

1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind – When I’m looking right at my main savings account, it can feel very empowering.  I’d think, “Yeah!  This money is allocated for a bunch of different things, but I can afford that thing I want right now.”

Au revoir, Ski Trip fund.  

One of the things I really like about an app like Dobot is that each goal I’m saving for puts the money slightly out of my way.  I can always open the app and take a peak to see what’s going on in there, even take it out immediately if needed, but it’s nice to have a separate place to save for these goals.  I find that I’m so much less tempted to take money away from Dobot, knowing it has a purpose there.

2. Take A Load Off – I have bigger savings accounts where I’m stashing away money for major goals and milestones- but I could never apply that kind of rigor and responsibility in saving for something like a Christmas tree.  Dobot does all the work for me.  I even love how the app will text and offer awesome functionality right to my iMessage.  I can just type “apply” and Dobot will divvy up the monies equally amongst my goals!

Nothing to see here, just texting my robot savings tool.

Furthermore, Dobot gives you the ability to set a “Banking Threshold” and it won’t withdraw any money from your checking account if the balance is lower than the threshold (say $100, it can be whatever you want).

3. Patience Is A Virtue – The nice thing about taking the time to save for a goal, is you can help prevent “accelerated spending”.  What I mean by that is, the moment you convince yourself that you are ready to buy something and pull the trigger- you then begin thinking about the next thing you want to buy.  By saving and waiting, you’re actually spacing out those purchases more evenly, and it can help you to stay in line with your income & expenses along the way.

Finale Thoughts

An app like Dobot is just really great for these micro savings goals.

When I started to reconfigure the way I think about money- I realized very quickly that personally I can attain goals and stay on track if I have different ways of “hiding” my money from myself.  Dobot does a great job of tucking away dollars here and there for you, and then when it comes time to spend there is zero guilt.  

Not to mention human beings are such fickle spenders!  How many times have you convinced yourself you needed something?  Only to have it hang in the back of the closet, or collect dust on a shelf for an eternity before you even think about it again.  This exercise in patience is a great way to evaluate what you really want to spend your money on.  Try saving for a goal, and then when you get there ask yourself the question – do I still want this?  Or is my money better spent elsewhere?

I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy having a Dobot in your life as much as I do, so much so I’m going to leave a little referral link right here for you (full disclosure: if you decide to engage Mr. Bot’s services, I’ll get a sweet little $5 for referring).  Take a look, give the app a chance- it’s now up to you and Dobot to achieve those micro savings goals together…but mostly you.     

*FYI – As someone who does carry great care for the environment and the future of our planet- I do want to explain my thoughts on the real tree vs. fake tree argument.  It’s been proven in some studies that fake trees actually do more to harm the environment than real trees (if disposed of properly).  Fake trees tend to be made from PVC and steel, and eventually end up in the trash or a landfill when they’ve run their course.  A real tree however has biodegradability, and I’m lucky to have some awesome tree programs right in my neighborhood, where I can recycle at the end of the holiday season, to make mulch, wood-chips, or even plant a new tree!  Be sure to check this holiday season, and see if you have access to some of these awesome recycling programs.

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