The Time Key: helping people meet their savings goals

26 Aug 2016 By Dan Kelly and The Time Key Team

Helping people save is at the top of the policy agenda – with government investing in new savings scheme and encouraging innovation through FinTech. But sometimes all that’s needed is a new take on an old idea. Today’s blog features Dan Kelly, who has developed the Time Key Money Box.  He shares with us his own savings journey and what inspired him to help others to save, too.

Back in January 2015, I stumbled across the realisation that if I wanted to save money in cash and restrict access to that money, the only tools available to do this were ceramic style urns that I would have to smash or cut open to access the money. These products require re-purchasing if I wanted to continue to save once I reached an existing goal.

Having bought three ceramic money pots myself whilst saving for my wedding  (at £10 each, may I add), my brother Adam and I decided to do some market research for existing saving techniques and, to be completely honest, these ceramics boxes were the best available option.

We next investigated the need for a product like ours and, from our research, we found that people are often lumped into two categories: Savers and Non-Savers.  But it also suggested that products like the ceramic money boxes have been working for those categorised as ‘non-savers,’ as the biggest problem is not that they do not contribute towards a saving goal, but rather that they spend the funds that have accumulated before reaching their goal.

So, backed by our research, The Time Key was born and we made a couple of new additions to the team, Rhys and Will.  The Time Key is an innovative way to save in cash.  It is designed so that once you have a date in mind, you can set the money box to lock and only open once the chosen time frame has expired.

The concept – simply choose a number of days between 1 and 365, press set and the money box will remain locked until your desired date arrives (with no override).  Ultimately, time will be the key to unlocking your savings and not a hammer or tin opener.  The device will be powered by 2 x AA batteries, lasting at least twelve months on one single charge, but we have incorporated a DC Jack as backup.

TimeKey

It started out as just an idea and as we had no previous experience in electronics, we contacted numerous companies to help us and that is when we found Cubik Innovations. Cubik have helped us design and develop our very first prototype and we are currently working on Phase 2 of the prototype which is nearing the end.  We are aiming to have our product ready for pre-sale via Kickstarter by early September…..so non-savers keep an eye out.

Additionally, we are currently designing a brand new mobile phone app which will complement the Time Key and also increase the chances of the user reaching a saving goal.  The app will send reminders daily, weekly or monthly (user’s choice) of how much they need to insert during these stages, to ensure the best possible chance of meeting their predetermined saving goal.  It will also have a countdown timer to show the amount of time remaining on The Time Key and the amount of time remaining until the target date for your goal.

We have highlighted just a few challenges we feel savers currently experience and how we hope our product will assist in overcoming these:

The Parent

Teaching children the value of money and the importance of saving money is vital for parents today.  Having spoken to numerous banks, they explained that teaching children to save at an early age can decrease the chances of debt in later years and that this is why they are sending representatives into schools country wide to explain the value of money to children.  By using our product, parents can safely leave the child to decide how much he or she would like to dispense into their savings, further teaching children how to set and stick to financial goals.  The use of the mobile app will aid in teaching children the value of money and how much money should be saved from their pocket money on a weekly/monthly basis.

The Holiday Maker

According to an Asda money report, British holiday makers will spend an average of £1,310 on their summer holiday in 2016 with an average £529 going towards spending money.  The average Briton books their summer holiday at least three to four months prior to travelling to their chosen destination which gives a sufficient amount of time to save.  However, an increasing amount of people are using their credit cards to buy foreign currency to take away with them, having fallen short of their intended saving goal.  By using our product the user can set the box to unlock a couple of days prior to their travels so they do not use their holiday fund to cover other expenses.  They can continue to use the money box for the following year’s holiday without buying a new saving aid.

The Family at Christmas

According to Money Advice Trust data, 5.7 million people were at risk of falling behind on their financial commitments post-Christmas 2015 and consumer borrowing in the run up to Christmas 2015 rose by £1.5 billion. By setting a goal and starting saving early, it could help to reduce these figures drastically.  With a goal and monthly reminders, households can put a small amount aside per month to reduce the need for future borrowing.  Subsequently, they would not be continuing to pay off last year’s Christmas in the next festive season.

The Recently Engaged Couple

According to Brides magazine, the average UK wedding costs around £24,000.  Now we are not suggesting that the whole amount can be saved in one of our money boxes, but it can certainly target some of the smaller items we spend on for a wedding.

Average wedding breakdown (according to Brides magazine)

Grooms outfit £313
Cake £296
Rings £647
Entertainment £682
Stationary £240
Flowers £560
Beauty £220

The foremost reason to design The Time Key was to help people reach their saving goals (including The Time Key team) and over the next couple of months we need help raising our funding target via the use of crowd funding.  As previously mentioned, we are aiming to start our Kickstarter campaign by early September, so we need our product to reach as many people as possible.

You can follow our progress via out social media outlets – www.facebook.com/Thetimekey & www.twitter.com/ttkmoneybox.  Alternatively you can sign up for our monthly newsletter via our website www.thetimekey.co.uk.

Thank you for taking the time out to read our post and we look forward to having you on board.