How This Woman Saved $25K & Her Family’s European Vacation With an App

It was purported to be the epic household highway journey of a lifetime, however out of the blue it appeared doomed.

Linnea Nelson, a Denver-based IT skilled, had been trying ahead to touring 10 European international locations in a van with members of her prolonged household.

Certainly one of Nelson’s sisters lived in England together with her personal younger household and had at all times spent her holidays flying to see kinfolk within the U.S. In spring 2016, Nelson and one other sister on the U.S. aspect determined to cross the Atlantic as a substitute.

In all, it might be six individuals seeing a complete lot of Europe in a single van.

However then…

“We have been about an hour outdoors of their city — in England — when the van broke down,” Nelson mentioned. “It was a vacation weekend. Lengthy story quick, there was one place that had one van obtainable for hire. But it surely was going to value $2,200.”

“I assume we are able to’t go on our journey,” Nelson’s household was saying on the time.

“Wait a second,” she mentioned. “Let me see what I’ve in Digit.”


Drawback solved.

She had $2,400 in her account with Digit, an automatic financial savings app.

This got here as a shock to her and her household, as a result of she’d by no means actually been an enormous saver earlier than.

“I took that cash, rented the van, and we went on our 10-country tour,” Nelson recalled. “They name it a wet day fund, and that was a wet day.”

Flashing again to the start of her household’s epic European journey, she recalled, “It really was raining that day.”

Quick-forward to at present: She has greater than $25,000 saved in her Digit account.

‘I Had No Concept Tips on how to Save’

Nelson with her nieces and sister Arwyn Nelson while walking on the Highland Bridge in Denver, Colorado, Sunday, July 8, 2018
Nelson pictured together with her sister Arwyn Nelson and her nieces whereas strolling on the Highland Bridge in Denver, Colorado. Daniel Brenner for The Penny Hoarder

A number of years in the past, when she was in her mid-30s, Nelson was by no means capable of save any cash.

“Not even somewhat bit,” mentioned Nelson, who works in cybersecurity. “My credit score rating was crap. My husband on the time was very unhealthy with cash and was managing cash awfully.”

At one level, a hailstorm broken their roof, and their insurance coverage wouldn’t pay for it. Nelson needed to borrow $10,000 from a co-worker and pay it again over time. “At that time, I spotted I used to be very fortunate to have a good friend to mortgage me the cash.”

“I had no concept find out how to save,” she mentioned. “I had no concept find out how to really go about doing that in a manner that may work for me.”

In early 2015, she examine Digit on-line. She mentioned she thought to herself, “You recognize what? I’ve zero financial savings. I want financial savings. What the heck? I’ll strive it out.”

Save Cash With out Lacking It

Nelson checks her Digit app on her phone Sunday, July 8, 2018 while walking around Union Station in Denver, Colorado.
The Digit app is linked to Nelson’s checking account and strategically saves her cash with out her having to elevate a finger. Daniel Brenner for The Penny Hoarder

For Nelson, Digit serves as a sneaky and efficient approach to construct up an emergency fund. The app is linked to her checking account and strategically saves her cash with out her having to elevate a finger.

Having analyzed her earnings and expenditures, Digit’s algorithm determines how a lot cash she will be able to safely afford to put aside every day. Then it withdraws small quantities into her FDIC-insured digital financial savings account.

“It is aware of when your payments are due,” Nelson says. “It calculates nonetheless a lot it could take, then it saves it. You don’t discover the cash lacking.”

“I believe it’s nice. I don’t have to fret about it. [Digit] simply figures it out.”

Lately, Digit sometimes pulls between 6% and 9% of her wage every month.

“I like that it isn’t a set quantity. Its figures alter to your present earnings and spending, so it fluctuates based mostly on that,” Nelson mentioned.

For instance, in January 2017 it put aside 1.24%, however the subsequent month it put aside eight.06%. If Nelson is aware of some massive payments are coming in, it’s straightforward for her to pause Digit every time she desires.

Digit is free on your first 30 days and prices $2.99 a month after that. In case you enroll via The Penny Hoarder, you get a $5 bonus. Moreover, savers will obtain a 1% bonus each three months.

$25,000 in Financial savings in three Years

Nelson, right, with her nieces Skylar Rogers, 7, left, Paige Nelson, 4, center, and sister Arwyn Nelson, second from left, play together Sunday, July 8, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.
Because of her Digit account, Nelson’s household’s trip was saved on the final minute. “That’s why it’s there, to save lots of the day,” she says. Picture by Daniel Brenner for The Penny Hoarder

So, due to her Digit account, Nelson’s household’s epic European highway journey of a lifetime was saved on the final minute.

“That was the primary time it really made an enormous distinction,” Nelson mentioned.

Greatest reminiscence from that journey: Racing together with her sister across the inside the Colosseum-like Pulah Area in Croatia — as the kids cheered them on.

What subsequent?

After her European triumph, Nelson set her sights on one other daring quest: New kitchen counter tops.


She created a objective referred to as “Kitchen” within the Digit app and set it for $three,000.

Nelson additional advanced her considering on this matter: “At first I believed, ‘Possibly simply counter tops.’ However once I hit that quantity, I believed, ‘Wait a sec, I can most likely save for the entire thing.’”

New objective: High-to-bottom kitchen renovation.

“It wants it badly. The tile is falling off the counters.”

Nelson, who makes a six-figure earnings as an IT skilled specializing in cybersecurity, hasn’t withdrawn a penny from the app since her European journey.

After saving towards her Kitchen objective from 2015 to 2018, she had $25,174.31 in financial savings with Digit.

“My magic quantity in my head is $30,000,” she mentioned. “That ought to deal with [the kitchen renovation] — except one other wet day comes alongside.

“That’s why it’s there, to save lots of the day.”

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior author at The Penny Hoarder. He’s right here to save lots of the day.

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