Piggy

Piggy

The internet is filled with convenient and user friendly interactions that encourage you to spend money: one-click purchasing, recommendation engines, wish-lists, registries, SMS purchasing, etc. There are loads of buttons that help you spend money. However, there are very few buttons to help you save.

Piggy brings the save button to the forefront, and helps people develop better money-saving habits one day at a time.

The problem we're solving

A friend and I got into a discussion about how difficult it is to save money. Our conversation shifted to complaining about how our culture is a spending culture, and we are pushed to spend but not to save.

In our personal lives spending occurs daily, while saving occurs bi-weekly or monthly. We are very good at spending because we practice it daily, but the opposite is true of saving. As a result, the act of spending feels easy and seamless, while saving money feels like a chore and takes effort.

Moreover, we both didn't have confidence in our ability to save. We felt that our spending habits were bad. We recalled that when we did have extra cash, we usually ended up spending it on socializing or superfluous things.

We came up with this problem statement:

Our next step was to do some customer discovery and see if other shared in this pain.

Customer Discovery

Before we started to dig into solutions, we wanted to see if other people had a similar relationship with money and/or related to our problem statement. We created a short list of questions to ask people. We started with gathering qualitative data from 5 in-person interviews.

After some basic analysis we found that:

We thought these responses validated that people wanted to save money, but their saving habits were bad.

However, we feel that our assumption that the lack of extra cash led added to the difficulty of saving was invalidated.

We observed from multiple in-person interviews that extra cash wasn't viewed as money they should save, rather there was a perception that the extra cash could be spent.

After the surveys and the interviews, we modified our problem statement:

At this point we felt confident that people resonated with our problem statment, and decided it was time for an abbreviated design sprint.

The Sprint

Almost right away we had an interesting finding. While getting background and looking at our competition, we noticed that most existing tools were directed at helping people get context around their money. They "helped" people save by offering up budgets or attempting to automate the saving process.

Looking at our competition was eye opening. It didn't seem that anyone had acitvely focused on developing a persons saving habit. Rather, existing tools aimed to help people save money by monitoring spending habits. We kept this top of mind as we went though the sprint.

As we diverged we continually found ourselves digging into the belief that:

As we continued to sketch out solutions, we refined that statement further:

From here we developed a user journey to help guide us through building our prototype:

As we refined a potential solution, we surfaced many assumptions about our users that we needed to test.

Next we set out to build a prototype to test with users.

Prototype

Based off the outcome from the sprint, we started to build a prototype to test that our solution was a viable solution and addressed our riskiest assumptions:

Without further ado, here is the prototype:

Results

We ran 7 user tests with our "target market"; people who made $80K+, currently wanted to save money, and felt that they had bad saving habits. We weren't entirely confident that this was our target market, but that was the group we had gotten the most positive feedback from.

The user tests were a great success. Not only did we uncover some (now seemingly obvious) interface and experience problems, but we got a lot of positive feedback and validation that being prompted to save money felt empowering, and that it felt different from other tools. About half of the group users asked to be notified when the application was to be released without being prompted.

MVP

Before we started to develop the MVP Piggy application, we spiked on the engineering side of things. We quickly ran into some difficult technical hurdles. The immediate problem we faced was facilitating the transferring of funds from a checking account to a savings account. We were able to find a means to do so, but at a high cost. The best solution we found would cost each user $10 per month.

With a cost that high, we didn't believe that our complete solution would be viable. Five options we were considering:

  1. Don't have a save button, rather remind and suggest an amount save.

  2. Partner with a bank to get free access to the API to facilitate money transfers free of charge.

  3. Find a better/free solution to facilitate money transferring.

  4. Create a better/free solution to facilitate money transferring.

  5. Get users to pay

To date, we are currently pursuing the third option, while considering the first option to be our MPV. We felt that although you couldn't save money using the application, the daily reminders and encouragement would still be usefull. Our end goal is to provide the means to directly save money without any charge to the customer, so option 5 is out of the picture for now.

Updates

March 1st, 2016

We were able to negotiate the use of an API for up to 10 accounts for free. Although this isn't ideal or for that matter a scalable solution, we felt it was a positive step in the right direction and would allow us to work with some early adopters.

Check back for more updates!