Like many individuals online, I have a mix of feelings towards AI. The potential it holds excites me, yet the thought of it replacing some of my day-to-day tasks makes me anxious. I find myself pondering about the future where AI could take over roles like writing show notes for The Everygirl Podcast. The idea of AI handling my finances, particularly budgeting, intrigued me. My lack of expertise in managing finances made me a perfect candidate for an AI budgeting app.

After encountering the trend of AI-powered finance tools and feeling the need to get my finances in order post-holidays, I decided to give Cleo, an AI budgeting assistant, a try. In this article, I share my experience and the impact of incorporating artificial intelligence in managing my finances.

What is Cleo?

In a world where AI is increasingly prevalent, Cleo, founded by data scientist Barney Hussey-Yeo in 2016, stands out. Cleo functions not just as a standard finance app but as a personal financial assistant. It interprets your budget through a chat feature, similar to ChatGPT, and data analysis. Cleo makes sense of your finances by providing insights and recommendations based on your spending patterns, upcoming bills, and income. The app offers six main features: spend, budget, chat, save, borrow, and habits, making financial management more understandable and accessible.

What sets Cleo apart is its chat feature. This interactive platform analyzes your income and spending data to provide tailored suggestions to save or spend based on your habits. Cleo’s chatbot can even offer positive or negative feedback to motivate you to spend wisely or reconsider your financial decisions, making the process of budgeting more engaging.

cleo budgeting app

How Cleo can help you manage your finances

Budgeting Your Paycheck

Cleo visualizes your paycheck breakdown, displaying your income and expenses along with upcoming bills. The app allows you to set spending goals for different categories, providing notifications to help you stay within your budget.

Reviewing Your Spending

The “habits” feature lets you assess your spending habits in an interactive manner. You can review your recent purchases by swiping left or right to denote satisfaction levels, turning the process into an engaging activity. By gamifying expense review, Cleo makes it easier to understand and adjust your spending patterns.

Reviewing my purchases through the Cleo app felt like a positive experience compared to the traditional method of checking my bank statement.

Building Your Savings

Cleo assists in setting aside money for savings automatically based on your income and expenses. This feature simplifies the process of creating an emergency fund or savings account, ensuring gradual contributions without the need for manual calculations.

Building Your Credit

Cleo’s credit builder program helps individuals establish credit by offering a secured credit-building card. By adding funds to this account, users can make purchases like with a debit card while building a credit history through timely payments.

The app focuses on cultivating responsible financial habits, encouraging users to make on-time payments and improve their credit profiles over time.

Changing Your Habits

Cleo prompts users to review their expenses regularly and provides feedback to encourage better spending habits. The app aims to instill a sense of accountability, making it easier to manage finances independently in the future.

Integrating an AI chatbot into the financial audit process offers honest insights without personal bias, facilitating behavioral changes in spending habits.

How I used Cleo

I reviewed my spending habits

I engaged with various features in the Cleo app to enhance my financial management skills. The interactive nature of the “habits” section made reviewing my purchases enjoyable and insightful, unlike the tedious process of scrutinizing a bank statement.

By consistently monitoring my expenses, I gained valuable insights into my spending patterns, allowing me to make informed decisions on where to adjust my budget. Identifying overspending tendencies in certain categories enabled me to make conscious choices, ultimately improving my financial discipline.

I set aside money for savings

Utilizing the “save” feature, I developed a routine of allocating a portion of my income for savings. Cleo’s automated savings allocation eliminated the guesswork, ensuring consistent contributions towards building my savings fund. By the end of the month, I had significantly increased my savings, setting a positive foundation for future financial goals.

I utilized the chat function for motivation

The chatbot feature, particularly “roast mode,” provided me with constructive feedback on my spending habits. The candid yet supportive nature of the chatbot helped me stay accountable and motivated to make better financial decisions. The interactive aspect of the app transformed budgeting into an engaging and encouraging experience.

Integrating an AI chatbot into your financial journey offers a fresh perspective and unbiased analysis of your spending behaviors, fostering positive changes in your financial habits.

Final thoughts

My experience with an AI budgeting app like Cleo has positively impacted my financial awareness and habits. The app’s interactive features, personalized feedback, and automated savings prompts made managing finances engaging and informative.

In conclusion, I would recommend Cleo to individuals seeking to enhance their financial literacy and develop better money management practices. While traditional methods work for some, Cleo provides a user-friendly platform powered by AI to assist beginners in cultivating sound financial habits. Incorporating AI into financial planning can simplify the process and promote long-term financial well-being, making it a valuable resource for those looking to improve their financial health.

Although I aspire to become more financially independent in the future, I appreciate the support Cleo offers in navigating my financial journey. Until I reach that level of proficiency, having an AI companion to guide me through financial decisions has been a reassuring and beneficial experience.


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