Simple Bank was known for its excellent budgeting tools such as Expenses and Goals. Was the keyword because it will shut it down with no replacement in sight. If you’re still looking for an alternative, Ally may be an option to add to the list thanks to new Buckets and Boosters features.
Buckets work much like the “envelope system”. As with Simple’s “Expenses,” buckets allow you to distribute your money among different group goals: vehicles, emergencies, homes, bill payments, and so on. Ally has a number of preset buckets for you to choose from, or you can make your own. Everything stays in the same account, but you have a clear mark where this money or money should go.
But there are a few limitations that don’t make Ally’s solution as good as Simple’s. For example, you can only create ten buckets. Some Simpler users had dozens of ‘buckets’. And unlike Simple, you can only use Buckets with Ally’s savings accounts. Checking accounts is not an option. That limits the usefulness of buckets to save to achieve a goal, as opposed to budgeting your monthly expenses.
But if you’d rather keep most of your money in your Ally savings to earn higher interest, this can be helpful. And Ally’s new boosters will help with that goal. For starters, Ally has created three optional boosters that you can enable. They are disabled by default and you should take a good look at all of them before deciding to use a booster.
The first booster, called Recurring Transfers, does what it sounds like. Your buckets won’t do much good unless you put money into them, and recurring wire transfers will automate that process for you. You can schedule frequent wire transfers from any bank (Ally or otherwise) that you have connected to your account and automatically filter them into your buckets. Transfers can be weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
The second Booster, Round Ups, is a fairly straightforward option used by many budgeting apps. Each time you make a purchase with your Ally checking account, Ally rounds up the amount to the next dollar. When your Round Ups reach a certain threshold (starting at $ 5), that money is automatically transferred to your savings account.
The last Booster, Surprise Savings, works differently from the others. With Surprise Savings turned on, Ally keeps an eye on your checking and savings account. A savings account typically earns more interest, but you can only switch from saving to checking so often. But money that is only with the control does not generate much interest. If Ally finds that you would earn more interest with a quick wire transfer, some money will be moved from your check to savings. Ally says it will never move more than $ 100 at a time, and it will keep in mind how much you normally spend so you have that money available.
Ally’s new buckets and boosters are now available to existing subscribers. If all of these options sound the same as Simple, you might want to give it a try.