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by: Craig Wilson   ·    4 December 2015

App review: 22seven

Come the end of the year even the best laid financial plans can go to seed unless you’re disciplined and organised. We’re not, but thankfully 22seven is, writes CRAIG WILSON.

Do you know how much you spend on groceries each month? What about petrol, or eating out, or bank charges? Do you know exactly how much debt you have, right down to the last cent? Or how much you have invested and saved? Nope, we didn’t think so. Few of us do, because keeping track of money is a chore.

Making budgeting easy

22seven wants to make it a breeze. It’s a local app that not only makes understanding exactly how much money you have easier, but also helps you make better money decisions.

Started by the same team who launched 20twenty, South Africa’s first online bank, 22seven lets you connect all of your bank accounts, credits and store cards, investments and debts to it so that it can point out behaviour and patterns – ooh, graphs! – and encourage you to be smarter about your money.

All your data in one place

Available for mobile devices or via the 22seven website, the service is completely free to use. The first step is connecting your accounts to it, and while this may seem like a scary thing to do, 22seven doesn’t get access to your actual accounts, but instead gets access to the data they generate. So it can’t access your online banking, but it can get read-only statements from it.

Once you’ve connected a few accounts 22seven will start trying to group your expenses together automatically. It’s very smart, but there will always be the occasional item if can’t recognise, like the corner café that has an unusual merchant code or that time you drew cash to pay the painters. You can categorise these yourself, and if the thing you categorise appears again it’ll know what to do with it in future. Smart.

History of financial habits

After only a couple of weeks 22seven starts showing you all sorts of useful info, like how much you’re spending on individual categories of things. Nothing makes you want to do a grocery shop and some cooking more than finding out you’re spending a quarter of your income on eating out.

Tips to save money

Give it a few months and the app will not only tell you how much you can expect to spend in a month given your previous behaviour, but thanks to a new features called 'nudges', will also make suggestions that can save you money – like using your current account balance to settle a credit card in full that will otherwise charge you interest when it can tell your salary will come into your current account in time to settle any debit orders you might otherwise be worried about missing.

And, because it’s now part of Old Mutual, once its helped you get back on top of your money, 22seven can also help you do smart things with it, like invest in a tax-free savings account, all without leaving the app.

Even if you only let it track what you spend and draw you pretty graphs to break it down, 22seven’s value lies in showing you what you’re doing. Because if you don’t know what you’re doing, how can you change it?

Get 22seven

Download it for Android or iOS.

Note: While the app can be downloaded for free via the app store, you will need data to download and use the app. You can buy data bundles from Vodacom Online by logging in to My Vodacom »