Ask a Nerd: How Can I Use AI for Budgeting and Saving?

AI chatbots can help provide advice for budgeting steps and tips for saving money.
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Written by Chanelle Bessette
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Edited by Sara Clarke
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Artificial intelligence, or AI, has been making waves across many industries, helping with things such as customer service and medical diagnoses.

Chatbots like ChatGPT, Jasper, Bard, Bing Chat and Pi have also become popular in the world of AI. Chatbots let users input prompts and interact with the bot, allowing them to receive answers to questions.

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For those of us trying to make life a bit simpler, there are some great uses for AI chatbots when it comes to managing our finances, including creating budgets and saving money.

How can I use AI to create a budget?

The first step is to track your income and how much you’re spending. Once you have that information, you can start thinking about what you want to change, including how much you want to save and what you want to save for. Then, you can tell an AI bot what you want to accomplish and ask how to get there. To get even more granular, you can tell the AI bot how much you earn and what you want to do with your money.

“Try to be as specific as possible about your savings goals,” says Lanesha Mohip, who works with businesses as a contract CFO and is the founder of Polished Business Solutions. “You can tell the AI an ideal goal time frame and a dollar amount, and the software will give you a plan.”

Remember that AI is only as good as the data that feeds it, whether that data from is the user who's asking questions or the backend data the AI is pulling from for its responses. There's always a chance of getting incorrect information or information that’s just not right for you. If you want more specialized advice, you may want to contact a certified financial advisor or planner instead. At the very least, you should double-check the math that an AI gives you and cross reference the advice with other online sources.

How can I use AI to save money?

AI can help you save money by providing recommendations for how to spend less money or use the resources you have.

Kelly Anne Smith, a financial blogger and the founder of Freedom In A Budget, says she’s used AI to help with meal planning by giving prompts around her dietary requirements and telling it to create a plan. The AI generates a list of meals, then she can tweak it to remove ingredients that she doesn’t like until she’s happy with the plan.

“From there, I tell it to create a shopping list,” Smith says. “It can even break down the list into categories like dairy, meat or veggies for easier shopping.”

She also says she’s used AI to create meal plans out of ingredients she already has, plus maybe a few extra things from the store.

“The recipes have been delicious and are things I wouldn’t have thought to make,” she says.

I decided to test this idea. Say you have food items in your fridge or pantry that are all about to go bad. You can tell the chatbot, “I have eggs, leeks, cooked quinoa, nut butter and lemon juice. What recipes can I make with these ingredients?”

When I entered that prompt into a chatbot — I used ChatGPT at first — it gave suggestions for quinoa cakes, a leek and quinoa frittata or a tangy quinoa salad with lemon. I tried another AI chatbot called Pi with the same prompt, and the results were a potato and leek gratin, quinoa-stuffed leeks and a different quinoa salad. These recipes might not be things I would have thought of, but it’s nice to know that by using the ingredients you have at home, you can reduce food waste and save money.

Other ways to save money could include questions about how to repair or perform maintenance on things so you don’t need to hire a professional or buy a new item, such as, “How can I mend a hole in my workout leggings?”

As a test, I asked Pi, “What car maintenance should I do when my car reaches 100,000 miles?” Once I got the results, I asked for a list of local shops with high customer star ratings, which the AI laid out in plain text. Unlike the results of a regular web search, a chatbot response is usually written in simple, direct steps, and you can ask follow-up questions so you don’t have to check a dozen websites to find the answer.

The opportunities for AI are endless, and we’re beginning to see plenty of new uses for this technology when it comes to finances. You might be surprised by the things it can suggest to help your budget and savings.

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