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If Only We Had An App For Impulse Saving

Putnam Investments helps you save for your 401(k) with its iPhone app.If your 401(k) plan is with Putnam Investments and if you have an iPhone, stop what you are doing right now and download the Price Check & Save app.

Not only can it help you find better deals while shopping, but it can also give you a reality check about your spending, and divert more money into 401(k).

Here’s how it works: Go shopping. You see an item you want. Using the camera on your iPhone, take a picture of the bar code on that item.

Blammo. Using data from your retirement account, the app will show you how much you’d be adding to your monthly retirement income if you chose to put what you would have spent buying that dress or flat screen TV into your 401(k) instead.

Then you have two options.

First: You’re so freaked out by how much money you’d be losing down the line that you don’t make the purchase. Press the button that says “Save into 401(k).”

That money you were going to spend will be added onto however much is already deducted from your paycheck for retirement, and be deposited into your 401(k) next time you’re paid.

Or, if you know this is something you really, really, really want (and we mean really, and only if you have zero credit card debt), Price Check & Save will use that barcode information to show how the item is priced at other stores.

You can then take the difference between what you were going to pay on the spot, and what you will pay because you’re shopping around, and toss it into your 401(k).

The only problem with this plan is that you can only use this if your 401(k) is with Putnam, and you have the iPhone (though they say that apps for other smartphones are in the works).

We wish this kind of service was offered on more plans to more people because it’s that good.

Maybe they’ll be kicking off a 401(k) savings app trend.

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