Forget Impulse Spending - Let’s Talk Impulse Saving

I have spent most of my life struggling with impulse spending. For years, it was next to impossible for me to walk out of a store without buying something, even if I didn’t really see anything I wanted. As a result, I ended up with more than my monthly household income in minimum credit card payments. While my case was pretty extreme, plenty of people spend on impulse, even if they don’t realize or admit it.

The funny thing is, I’ve always had a savings account despite all that overspending. I would move money into it, run out of money in my checking account, and take it right back out. Even when I had an unexpected chunk of money to transfer to savings, I managed to need it every time.

I’ve finally learned to save money and stop buying everything in sight, but I still struggle with saying things like, “It’s only $20,” to justify random purchases. If only I could save all the money I spend in those small increments! Apparently someone read my mind, because ImpulseSave came to my rescue.

What is ImpulseSave?

ImpulseSave is a whole new way to think about saving. It’s a real savings account at a real bank, but this account is anything but boring. Through its online user interface and upcoming iPhone app, ImpulseSave actually makes it easy (and fun, believe it or not) to save money.

How it Works

Once you set up your ImpulseSave account and link it to your existing bank account, you can choose one or more savings goals. You fill in how much you want to save and how much you can save each week, then set up an automatic transfer from your existing account. ImpulseSave will tell you how long it will take to reach your goal - this part actually frustrated me, because I set a goal of $500 at $15 a week. It told me it would take EIGHT months! But the frustration is a good thing because it makes me want to save more.

Beyond the automatic transfers, I can also save money anytime I choose to save instead of spend. For example, last week I almost went to the mall “just to look around.” My regular readers know that malls are bad for me. I actually thought about my ImpulseSave account, and instead of going shopping, I sent $20 to my savings via text message.

Yes, I said text message. I texted the ImpulseSave number, “$20 because I didn’t go to the mall!” and it scheduled a $20 transfer from my checking account. It doesn’t get much easier than that - it took less time than swiping my card at a store. And once the iPhone app is ready, I’ll be able to schedule saves from the app as well. (Or you can do it from the website if cell phones aren’t your thing.)

On the website, I can see public saves from other people, as well as those of my friends - there’s a social component to the product that makes it even more fun (and maybe a little competitive). I LOVE scrolling through other people’s saves to see what they’re saving for and how much. I can also “like” and comment on their saves.

names hidden to protect the innocent


Why it Works

There are several reasons why I believe ImpulseSave is an amazing and innovative product. First, it utilizes the things that most of us love - our computers and cell phones - to help us save money. Second, it introduces a social aspect that feels like dozens of accountability partners watching everything I save (or don’t save). Third, by showing me how much progress I’ve made and my timeline for reaching my goal, ImpulseSave makes me determined to beat the clock by saving more often.

The biggest reason why I believe ImpulseSave will help you save money? It’s separate from your checking account. Sure, the money is yours and you can access it, but it takes at least 3 business days to transfer it back to your other bank account. Plus, and I’m speaking from experience, you forget it’s there because the money is taken automatically. I was shocked when I took the screenshots for this post and saw and I was nearly up to $100 already. And once today’s automatic transfer goes through, I’ll be at $110.

Other Things You Should Know

ImpulseSave is still in the beta phase right now, which means you can’t sign up without being invited. I feel very lucky to have been included in this initial testing phase. However, don’t be sad - there will be opportunities in the very near future to get in on the action.

The sign-up process is entirely online, which is convenient. However, a potential stumbling block is the requirement that you submit a scan of the front and back of your driver’s license, as well as the front of a debit or credit card in your name. There is an easy way to do this, though - you can take pictures with your phone, email them to yourself, then upload them from your computer. Just make sure you delete them afterward - protect your identity!

You should also know that there is no credit check required to open an account. I know this because I couldn’t pass a credit check if my life depended on it, yet I was approved. However, if you are unable to open a bank account for whatever reason, you may not be able to open an ImpulseSave account.

The Verdict

ImpulseSave is an AMAZING product that is making a big difference in the way I save money. I’m still using my regular savings account as well, but this money feels completely separate and sacred. No matter what happens in my checking account, there’s no way I’d touch my ImpulseSave account unless there was a dire emergency - and not the Ooh, I want a new pair of shoes kind of emergency.

I find myself looking for reasons to save more money. I also consider every purchase - should I get this, or should I send the money to ImpulseSave instead? Just last night, I decided to satisfy my pizza craving with Godfather’s instead of Pizza Hut - I saved $5 and the pizza was just as satisfying!

I highly recommend that you keep an eye out for opportunities to get started with ImpulseSave. Eventually you’ll be able to sign up without an invitation, or you could always find a friend with an account and ask him or her to invite you to try this revolutionary savings tool.

Disclosure: I am a staff writer for the ImpulseSave blog. However, I was not asked to post this review and I received no compensation of any kind - I am writing it because I use the product and honestly find it worth reviewing.

  • Money Infant

    This is pretty darn cool. If I can get an invite I’ll definitely be checking it out. Is it possible to set up multiple accounts? Say you are saving for 3 different things and want to put $50 per month, but split 20/20/10 between 3 accounts?

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Yep! You can save toward as many goals as you’d like; I’m not sure if it will allocate automatically since I only have one goal right now, but I think it does.

    • @impulsesave

      Awesome question! Yes, you can set up as many goals as you like. The average user has three goals, and each goal can have a different value autosaved each week. You can also impulsesave towards different goals each time! You can set up a “default” goal, to which your impulsesaves would go if you don’t specify which one you want to save for.

      • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

        So if I am texting in my saves, I can text “$10 toward paying off my car because I didn’t go out to eat” and it will know to put it toward the car payoff goal? Sweet. Thanks for the clarification, Deborah!

        • @impulsesave

          Sure! The text feature scans what you send for words like “to”, “for”, or “toward” and assigns the funds to the proper goal. Pretty sweet, eh?

  • Jeffrey Trull

    I like the sound of this! Looks like a fun and motivating way to save money. I especially like the design and how it’s integrated well with technology. I’ll be checking it out soon!

  • Rachel

    This is a really interesting idea. I need to think about how this would work with my savings goals since I don’t do much impulse spending (not counting this weekend although that was only partially impulse).

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Even if you don’t impulse spend, it’s still a cool concept. I just like having the money separate from my bank account so it’s not as easy to access.

      • Rachel

        My ING savings account is handling that. It takes forever to clear, but then I forget it’s there until I hit Mint. Then I’m like, “Wow where did all that money come from???” I think I’ve managed to put away $350 so far this year, which is a personal best for me.

        • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

          Congrats! That’s amazing so early in the year. You could save a ton of money if you keep it up!

          • Rachel

            I’ve found the key to saving is to hide the money from myself. I kept spending it when it was at the same bank as my checking account. So my bank did me a favor and decided to end free savings accounts. They forced me to find a new bank, and it’s really worked out well. The goal is to save at least $900 by 10/1 so that I can buy my plane ticket home for xmas this year and still have enough saved to cover the deductible on my insurance. Everything on top of that is icing to get me moving on my emergency fund goal of 3 months living expenses.

  • Jeff @ My Multiple Streams

    I think the most shocking thing I read is that you heave malls where you live

    Seriously though it does sound like a great service. The big factor to me would be interest rates, as most savings these days you need an electron microscope to see how small they are. Im using ING with auto transfers now as they paid the most interest, and even they lowered theirs a couple months ago.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      Well, I have to drive an hour to get to a mall - I wasn’t at home when I was having this debate. And I totally agree re: interest rates - they’re awful right now.

  • Sunny

    This sounds like a great idea. Do you know what the interest rate is?

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I don’t, but hopefully someone from ImpulseSave will stop by and let us know. I’m sure it’s abysmally low like all interest rates right now.

      • @impulsesave

        Hello! The interest rate is .40% APY , which is obviously very low, but it is that way for a couple of reasons.
        1. Your ImpulseSave account is designed to function like a digital piggy bank, that you can take wherever you are tempted to spend. We wanted to make it the easiest, most fun savings tool ever designed. Complex interest rates, billing cycles, and slight fluctuations over-complicate things. We don’t want users to get bogged down with all the extra stuff that banks try to throw at customers. Just saving - plain and simple.2. Keeping a low rate also helps us keep costs down - there are no fees, no hassles, and no minimum balance for the account. It is a totally free service and we want to keep it that way to make it most beneficial for users!

      • @impulsesave

        Hello! Thanks for all the great questions! Our current interest rate is .40% APY (annual percentage yeild), which is market standard. The interest rate will always be posted on Our FAQs page accurately.

  • Carrie Smith

    Ha. More like protecting the obsessed! Lol I love Impulse Save. I’m working towards getting my sister to use the software too. She wants to set up a goal call “Estimated Tax Payments”, which I think is a fantastic idea for people who freelance.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      That IS a good idea! I’m currently putting all my estimated tax payments in my ING account, but I might move them over.

  • Bridget

    I heard someone talking about this before… my one bank offers a similar thing. You can sign up to have a certain amount transferred to your savings account whenever you use your debit card. Same idea, but they don’t have any cool goal setting features or graphs to chart your progress (which I feel is really important to stay motivated).

    It’s not for me but it’s definitely a great idea.

    What is the security like? Because I’ve heard that since Mint pulls your banking info it violates the security info with your bank, so wouldn’t this be essentially doing the same thing?

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      No, it’s not the same thing as Mint. It’s just like any other savings account - you link it to your bank account for the purpose of transfers, but it’s not a service that is pulling your information from anywhere.

  • American Debt Project

    I want an invite!! That sounds great. I feel the same sort of “sacred” approach to my ING savings. I used it a couple times to save me from using credit, but I love contributing to it faithfully. I don’t think a second savings account would hurt.

  • Lora Kathleen

    This sounds really awesome. I would definitely sign up. I already *kind* of do this, but it would be nice to be able to text and have the money immediately transferred!

  • BrokeElizabeth

    Interesting concept! I’m not sure if it’s for me, but I can see how much it could help someone with a shopping addiction.

  • shopping saving

    Sounds interesting! I think I’ll check it out.

  • Rafiki

    Not bad, Just like ING and smarty pig, I wish services like these were available in my part of the world.

    Happy Saving on Impulse.

  • Funancials

    pretty neat concept. If people can begin boasting about saving money, then it will be a reverse keeping up with the Jones’ effect.

    • Andrea @ SoOverDebt

      I really like it! I hope it becomes as big as I think it will be.