How to save more money every month: Plum VS Cleo

I often get asked the question “How can I save more money every month?” or “What are your top tips for saving?” Obviously, there are several answers to these questions, but recently I tested 2 FREE money apps which I think are great to share with you as ways to help you save more money every month.

Often saving money starts with great financial habits. This isn’t always easy. These apps make it super easy.


Plum is a Facebook messenger service rather than a standalone app. It may sound odd to use a service via Facebook for something as serious as managing your money, but I believe that society is moving towards using social media for these integral parts of our lives rather than just for entertainment.

The big platforms such as Facebook are very much focused on how social media can enhance every part of our lives, so it makes sense that Plum would choose the Facebook messenger bot as a home for its personal finance service.

Is Plum safe?

The Plum service is provided by Mangopay, an EU licensed financial institution, and Plum hold your funds in a Barclays account. It’s key to note that they are not FSCS covered, but Plum say your funds are ring fenced should Mangopay or Barclays go out of business.

From a technical perspective, Plum say they use sophisticated technology such as symmetric cryptography (AES – It must be sophisticated with a name like that!) to store sensitive data, encrypt communications and never store your bank login details.

How to save more money every month Plum vs Cleo

How exactly does Plum work?

Put simply, you provide Plum with access to your bank account and set up a direct debit (which is covered by the Direct Debit guarantee). Facebook do not receive any of the data; Plum only passes it to its data partner Yodlee.

Plum analyses your spending and makes recommendations to you based on your spending habits and regular transactions. It analyses your financial activity to help you set goals. If you allow it to, will automatically put money it deems as ‘spare’ into a savings account for you.

You can speed up and slow down the rate of savings depending on your savings ‘mood’. Beast (heavy saving), Ambitious (moderate to high saving), Eager (moderate saving), Normal (moderate saving), Chilled (low saving), and Shy (very low saving).

When I set my savings mood up I started off as a ‘beast’ (not sure why they call it beast!) but soon changed to ‘chilled’ over Christmas! I then ramped it back up to beast again.

Their algorithm uses a number of safeguards specifically designed to prevent you from going to overdraft, and you can also pause the automatic saving function at any time, and for any duration of time.

Pros and Cons of Saving with Plum

  • No interest; Plum doesn’t offer an interest rate on the money you save. So while you may build up a healthy pot, it’s worth considering if you could get more from your savings by putting it into an account which offers interest. I wouldn’t consider it the best place for returns, but that’s not the main purpose of Plum.
  • Plum does offer peer to peer lending, which offers a 3% interest rate if you invest your Plum savings, but there are risks attached which it worth bearing in mind.
  • You can withdraw your money at any time, 24/7, simply by chatting to the Facebook bot. Your money will be deposited into your linked bank account within 24 hours, free of charge.
How to save more money every month Plum vs Cleo


There are some key differences between Plum and Cleo. First and foremost, Cleo is a standalone app rather than a Facebook bot like Plum. Cleo also won’t move your money for you.

Cleo helps you to have a better insight into your spending and financial habits; it uses AI (artificial intelligence) to scan your behaviours, learn how you shop, and communicate with you based on it’s observations.

You can ask Cleo questions such as “Can I afford a coffee?” or “What’s my balance?” and it will use the information and data it has gathered to answer you.

Pros and cons of using Cleo

  • Categorises your spending; by clearly separating your purchases and expenses into categories. Cleo allows you to see at a glance the habits and spending that may be in need of some attention. You can see exactly where you are spending your money, and where you could make adjustments.
  • Great for better engagement with your money; unlike Plum which can take the thinking out of saving for you, Cleo gives you the insights you may need to engage more positively with your own finances.
  • Offers you big picture info to make decisions; through the insights Cleo offers, you can feel encouraged and empowered to make positive decisions about your own money, and feel more confidently to do so.
  • Help you see where your money is going; by offering clear and categorised insights, it’s easy to see at a glance where your money is going, without complicated and time-consuming spreadsheets, calculations, and bank statement analysis.
  • Move from being reactive to being proactive; all of the above can really help you switch from a financially reactive mindset to a proactive one.
  • Not best interest rates but encourages good habits; while Cleo doesn’t offer the best interest rates, it can do a fantastic job of ridding you of bad financial habits and promotin positive habits.

So all in all, some clever funky little apps. If nothing else, if you find it hard to save because you never have any money left at the end of the month, these apps encourage you to start creating healthy savings habits. It’s also nice to get a little morning message from Plum with my current bank balance forcing me to be proactive, not reactive with money.

Start saving with Plum now

For transparency, I have not been paid to write this blog but I do get a cheeky little bonus into my Plum account if you open one using my link 😉

What are your thoughts?

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