Pluto is free personal finance app designed for the newer generation of budgeters: college students. It was created by students for students with a focus on their unique spending habits. The service concentrates on setting realistic goals and making your interaction with money as fun and as relevant as possible.
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An Introduction To Pluto
If you don’t like traditional budgeting apps with cash flow terminology and spending graphs, then you might want to consider Pluto. The platform focuses on helping you make your financial dreams come true, even if they don’t align with society’s goals for you. It lets you set your own savings challenges, so you stay motivated when you reach your small, realistic targets.
Perhaps you want to spend less on certain things this week, like eating fast food or buying coffee. Or, maybe you want to save money to go to Coachella next year. With Pluto, you can set and track goals – big or small – to see your progress from week to week.
Pluto has since gotten a lot of attention from the media, including:
- CNN Money. A recommended app “to keep tabs on expenses”
- PT Money. One of “The Best Personal Finance Software for Taming Your Budget (2019)”
- Stacking Benjamins (#1 personal finance podcast by Kiplinger). “This whole idea of gamifying your goal is pretty exciting.”
- Budgets Are Sexy. “12 New Financial Companies to Watch Out For”
Not your run-of-the-mill money app, Pluto features unique “Spend Less” challenges, behavioral nudges and smart notifications to help you win at the game of saving. And the kicker? The service is completely free.
Automatic Tracking & Categorization
With Pluto, you can securely connect to over 10,000 financial institutions in the United States. Linking to your various accounts will allow the app to automatically track, analyze and categorize your transactions.
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Relevant Savings Goals
To successfully save, you’ll need to be motivated. To be motivated, you need to set highly desirable short- and mid-term saving goals. That means picking a target that’s right for you, not one that your parents and society have chosen for you. Because, let’s be honest, how much do you really care about retirement savings when you’re still in college?
It’s not all fun and games, however. Pluto will help you walk the fine line between your needs, your wants and your life obligations (like paying off your student loans).
This feature lets you learn about your finances and habits in a way that’s not overwhelming. You’ll get snapshot overviews, which you can go into further detail, but only if you want to.
Personal Insights are combined with Spending Challenges, so you get your statistics paired with actionable suggestions to help you get to where you want to be financially.
Pluto interprets the numbers and graphs in your Personal Insights, then tells you what actions to take towards your savings goals, based on your personal finances, step by step. These actionable steps are called “Spend Less” challenges.
The idea is to spend less where you can so you can reach your savings goals. For example, you can spend less than your weekly average on buying coffee and reward yourself by saving what you would’ve spent on a vacation instead.
This feature lets you anonymously see how your finances stack up against similar peers, grouped by criteria like age, income, relationship status and college campus.
The app will even let you fiddle with search terms to see how you fare against different demographics.
Behavioral Nudges are notifications that encourage you to stay on track with your spending challenges, so you can save more for your goals.
You’ll also get alerts when new transactions post, which can help you catch fraudulent activity.
The service doesn’t offer robust analytics capabilities, but that’s because Pluto is trying to keep it simple and relevant to most college students. If you need more, check out Mint or Personal Capital.
This free mobile app gently pushes you to reach the savings goals you set with simple challenges, based on your finances and smart reminders. It’s an excellent option if you’re looking to get started on saving money, but need the extra motivation and support to take action on your financial life. By gamifying small goals into weekly challenges, Pluto helps you make your financial resolutions and stick to them.
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