If there is one financial principle that Americans need help with, it is saving money. Luckily, here in 2023, there have never been more options for those that need a little assist in saving to reach their financial goals, like buying a home, reaching retirement, or saving for travel.
Most of us are familiar with apps like Acorns and Wealthfront, but there is another option that may work better for you.
Today, I'm back to review the Guac app and show you how you can save money for your future goals.
Download Guac today
Guac is a mobile app geared towards helping Americans save towards their financial goals. By rounding up your purchases by a custom percentage that you choose, you'll reach your goals sooner than you think!
What is the Guac app?
Guac is a mobile smartphone application that makes it easier to save for the financial goals that are most important to you.
The app will let you define those financial goals that are important to you, set your saving contribution preferences, and then start working towards your goals. Rather than saving money on an income-based model, which is the most common budgeting method, Guac will help you to work towards these goals even while you're spending money living your day-to-day life.
How does the Guac app work?
Essentially, when you create an account through the app, a savings account will be created in your name and linked to an existing bank account that you already have. Then, using the savings percentage that you set, you'll contribute dollars to this account each time the Guac app detects that you spent money.
Assume you set this percentage at 10%.
For example, if you spend $65 at the grocery store, Guac will automatically take an additional $6.50 of your money to contribute towards your savings goal.
Now, some users like me were hesitant to set a fixed contribution percentage, since life can happen at any time. But rest assured. Should unforeseen circumstances arise, you have the ability to customize and change your contribution percentage at any time.
How to start saving money with Guac
I downloaded and played with the app for a number of weeks as I was planning out this review. I found that saving money through Guac was an easy five-step process:
Download the app and create an account
Sync your account to an existing bank account
Create a savings rule
Pick a savings goal
Consider using the Guac marketplace
Next, I'll bring some more detail to each of these steps.
1. Download the app and create an account
The first step to get started is to download the app, either from Apple's App Store or Android's Google Play. Once you've successfully done so, you'll need to create an account.
When I created my account, I was prompted to/for:
Full legal name
Phone number for two-factor authentication
Create a username
From here, you'll begin to see some onboarding directions, including:
Connecting a funding source
Creating a savings rule
Setting a savings goal
Pro users also have the option to link a credit card to the app in order to earn rewards from their purchases.
2. Link your bank account
One of the onboarding steps that I mentioned was to link an existing bank account to Guac. Known as a "funding source," this checking account can be used as a funding source for your savings goals.
Guac offers a number of perks for doing so, including:
The ability to start with as little as $1
Instant availability once your account is linked
FDIC insurance up to $250,000
Protections against overdrafts
Like many other financial apps on the market today, Guac uses Plaid to link your account.
It is important to note that, if you use a credit card to make the majority of your purchases, you can link it to your account so that you can save towards your goals from these purchases as well.
3. Create a savings rule
Now, it is time for you to create a savings rule, a percentage in which you want to gross up your purchases by.
In my opinion, this is the biggest differentiator between Guac and another company like Acorns. Whereas Acorns will automatically roundup your purchases to the nearest dollar, Guac actually allows you to set a savings rule that you can define yourself.
For example, you can choose among 5%, 10%, 15%, or a customized amount.
In most instances, choosing among these percentages will help you to reach your savings goals more quickly.
4. Pick a savings goal
With most of the onboarding work behind you, it is time to pivot and begin to think about what financial goal(s) you want to work towards.
When I downloaded the Guac app, the options I saw included:
Home down payment
These are just a sampling of the options available, and like other apps in this space, you'll also have the option to create your own financial goals.
5. Consider the Guac Marketplace
Unlike apps like Acorns, Guac also has a marketplace that you can shop in to earn cash back rewards. Once you meet a savings goal, for instance, you can see if the purchase you're looking to make is available in the marketplace.
If it is, you can take advantage of this, earning cash back rewards in the process.
Even if you're saving for goals like travel, you'll likely be surprised by the number of experience-based purchases you can make.
Additionally, you'll find a plethora of other options/brands in the Guac marketplace, including:
I couldn't believe the quality of brands that were also available, including:
IHG Hotels (parent company of Holiday Inn)
Tips to maximize your Guac savings
You have plenty of options if you're looking to maximize your Guac savings in order to reach your savings goals more quickly. If this sounds like a plan to you, I recommend that you:
Contribute at least 10% of your purchase price to your Guac savings
Use Guac's analytical features to your advantage
1. Contribute at least 10% to your goals
Now, this can be a slippery slope. It is true that the more you save, the more quickly you'll be able to reach your goals. But I implore you to make sure that it does not come at the expense of your other priorities, like saving for retirement.
Guac is supposed to be a tool to help you reach financial goals by building sound financial principles, not by sacrificing other important parts of your financial life.
2. Use Guac's analytical features
Honestly, as a new user, I was really impressed by the analytical features that the app had. I've always been a visual learner, so I'm drawn to features like these, but I recommend that you use the dashboard to help you understand how much progress you've made and how close you are to reaching your travel, savings, home, or other goal.
Is Guac better than Acorns?
I know that this post is going to make you wonder whether Guac is a better option for you than Acorns is. And like so many other decisions in the personal finance world, it depends.
I do think that the Guac app is a better option for some Americans, mainly those that:
Struggle to contribute to savings goals alone
Want to be able to set customized contribution percentages, something that is not currently offered by Acorns
Of course, the main thing is that you pick the app and platform that puts you in the best position to be successful in reaching your financial goals.
Pros and cons to the Guac app
There is a lot to like about Guac in 2023. My favorite parts about the platform include:
The Guac Marketplace: This was a totally novel to me, particular as it pertains to the other savings tracking applications on the market today. But I love the idea of the marketplace, where you can buy those things or experiences that you have been saving for and earn cash back rewards at the same time.
Customizable contribution percentages: Another differentiator between Acorns and Guac, I really like how you can customize the percentage that you want to apply to your purchases. Depending on the percentage you opt for, you may be able to make progress more quickly.
This is not to say everything about the Guac experience is perfect, however.
Here are a few things I would like to see improve about the experience:
Your savings don't earn any interest: With inflation as stubbornly high as it has been over the past couple of years, it is a real con to not earn any interest at all on your money, particularly when high yield savings accounts offered by institutions like CIT Bank offer between 4-5%.
No option to invest your savings: One of my favorite perks about other savings platforms on the market is that you can invest your savings in an attempt to reach your goals more quickly. And while I see this as a con, others may see it as a pro, as it could prevent Americans from making common investing mistakes that otherwise would have been avoided.
Guac absolutely has a place for some Americans looking to meet their most desired financial goals. And while users will want to be careful about forgoing interest and neglecting more pressing financial matters, this absolutely can be a great tool to help you financially!
Have you ever used the app before? And if so, did you have a good experience? Tell me in the comments below!
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