Meet Paula. A graphic designer (with a freelance side hustle) who moved to Alberta four years ago from Sudbury, Ontario. She’s a self described homebody who loves going to see live shows and music. Paula was first introduced to Brightside back in 2017 during a research interview, well ahead of the app being available. She’s now been using the app for several months, and is part of our BHive insights community.
We caught up with her to learn how she’s used Brightside to save for flights home, emergencies, and more fun stuff like takeout and shows (remember when those were a thing?).
Brightside: You’ve really been along for the whole ride with Brightside haven’t you?
Paula: I’ve had so much input on it all. I was a part of some concept testing and shared my feedback on the early feature mock ups.
I feel like this app was made for me.
Brightside: Let’s talk about how you’ve been able to save money in the past. Any unique ways you found that worked or didn’t?
Paula: I haven't had savings since I was younger when I would send money to my Mom. I’d tell her, “I’m saving for a laptop so hold onto it, I'll keep sending you money and once I have enough you have to send it back”. She wouldn’t budge if I asked for it back early. As I got older I thought it was getting really silly and I stopped relying on my Mom to save my money for me. But then I just didn't save. I tried having RRSPs and as soon as there was a substantial amount in there - and by that I mean like a few hundred dollars - I thought, “Oh, I actually really need these new gym shoes and this new gym outfit”. So I spent whatever I saved.
Brightside: How else have you attempted saving?
Paula: I’ve used a credit line from when I was in school, which was often maxed out. I’d put my savings onto that credit line. My emergency fund was the fact that there was room on my credit line - not “real” savings. To me, having savings was just being able to access some credit when I needed it.
Brightside: How are you using Brightside now?
Paula: I’m using Round Ups, Save Automagically, and the spend card.
I have three buckets: Flight fund, Emergency fund, and Everyday banking. My goal is to always have $500-$700 for a flight home and I’m going to start building an emergency fund of $1,000. Then start really focusing on paying off my debt.
- I use Save Automagically to move money into Brightside on paydays, that way I don’t even notice it leaving my account.
- I have my Round Ups set at $2, and it moves weekly into Brightside. As we’re staying in right now, my Round Ups are mainly on groceries, takeout, and bills.
- I also put all my freelance money into my Flight fund bucket. Now that I’ve saved up enough for flights, I’m switching my Round Ups and Save Automagically to my Emergency fund bucket.
Brightside: How has Brightside changed your perspective on savings?
Paula: It’s money that is out of sight and out of mind. The Save Automagically I have set up and the Round Ups, even those small amounts, add up. I don’t even notice it but I’ve already saved up enough for flights home.
I have more to save than I ever thought.
Brightside: Way to fill up those buckets! Quick fire questions… Tell us your experience with Brightside in three words.
Paula: Easy. Exciting. Different.
Brightside: Love that! Now, what’s the worst money advice you’ve received?
Paula: Not really advice but you read these articles about people saying, “I paid off $60,000 of debt in a year and a half”. Sure but you ate rice and beans every day and didn't leave your house. I don't want that life.
Brightside: Final question. Since you’re not into rice and beans, what’s something you won’t give up to save a lil extra?
Paula: Going out to restaurants with friends or getting takeout with my boyfriend. I've looked at those and cut back a bit but I will never give them up. My favorite spot to eat in Calgary is a place called Open Sesame where you make my own stir fry.
Big thanks to Paula for chatting with us, opening up about money, and telling us about a great Calgary stir fry spot.
Do you use Brightside and want to share your story? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re keen to hear how you Live. Save. Repeat.