Every year, I get thousands of marketing pitches in my inbox. I often find that there are fewer than 10 are worth my time to readers. It almost makes me want to shutdown my email completely.
Today, I’m bringing you one of those 10 pitches that makes it all seem worth it: Dobot (pronounced: “dough bot”, get it?)
What is Dobot?
Dobot is a FREE financial application that squirrels away small amounts of money from your bank account into a separate saving place. The idea is that you won’t notice the money being taken out and that you won’t spend money that isn’t there. Sounds like a great unique idea…
… wait? You’ve heard this before?
Yes, that’s essentially the same description of Digit, which I’ve been recommending for the last 18 months. Just two weeks ago, I wrote about how one can use Digit in the same way to save for the holidays now.
If Dobot were an exact copycat, I wouldn’t be writing this article. We already have a 5-letter savings account squirreller that begins with “D.”
So what makes Dobot different than Digit?
Let’s review briefly what Digit is. Digit allows people to save money into one pool. It continuously saves money, a little each day. I’ve been using it for building a general emergency fund. I have had enough emergencies (new car brakes immediately come to mind) that keep it from growing too far out of control.
Dobot helps people to save with the idea of a specific goal in mind. You can have multiple goals and hence pools. You enter a goal, how much it costs, and when you’d like to reach it. Here’s a 90-second video overview:
Getting Started With Dobot in Less than 5 Minutes
Earlier today, I signed up for Dobot to get an idea of how it works in practice. It took one click from the Dobot website to get the Android app (there’s an Apple one too) installed on my phone. When I ran the application, I simply created an account by adding my my email address, my phone number, and a password. I then choose my financial institution, logged in, and picked my bank account. (Let’s put the question of security aside. We’ll get back to it in a bit.)
I created a simple goal, “OLED 65”, “November 2017”, “$2500.” The most difficult part was trying to figure out what the cost of the television will be when I think it is a good value to buy. I’m not sure if the good value is $2500 as I like to find a rare bargain. I took that there might be a Black Friday deal next year with that rare bargain.
Here’s Dobot’s example of how a typical goal might look:
While I just signed up, my understanding is that each week some money is put aside towards the goal. Since my goal is about 55 weeks away, I imagine that it will save around $45 a week, which would give me around $2500 by my target date.
Dobot allows you to add a picture for motivation. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t let me bring in pictures from Pinterest or Amazon. I had to already have them on my phone. So I took a picture of my current Wal-Mart brand budget television that I want to upgrade from.
Dobot is a very visual application, which is very different than Digit which works best by text message.
In the coming days I will look to add some minor and major upgrades around the house.
I see Dobot as a great budgeting tool. Some banks allow you to create sub-accounts for the same kinds of savings goals. Unfortunately, USAA required me to create a separate savings account for my OLED TV. It wasn’t a huge pain for one thing, but I certainly wouldn’t want to manage 20 accounts via USAA’s website.
The downside of all this is that you aren’t going to earn interest. Some people may be upset with that. I see it as a non-issue given today’s extremely low interest rates. If I was getting 3-4% in my savings account, it would be a different conversation.
Is Dobot Secure?
Dobot is FDIC insured which is always something to look for. They say that they use bank-level security. That’s not overly convincing in and of itself. However, I know that these applications typically use the same bank-end banking engine like Yodlee. So many applications use this that the real risk is probably at Yodlee. I’ve been using these types of applications since 2006 and I’ve never heard of a hack. It might be more likely that your bank gets hacked.
Get (a little) Free Money
If you sign up from this link on the Dobot website, install the app, and add a bank account, they’ll fund it with $5. It isn’t a ton of money, but what did you expect in spending a few minutes to sign up for a free helpful, budgeting service?
I’m not sure that you need both. Some people don’t even need one. However, I can see why people would use each of them. I’ll continue to use both, because I love to automate my money. Over the years, I’ve learned that the more forced savings I have, the more my net worth increases.