Zavfit founder Anna Freeman on why we need a new approach to spending

by Chris Jackson

By Patrick Crowder

Zavfit is a new tool that is designed to help you spend your money in more productive ways. Unlike other money-saving apps, Zavfit is designed not only to discourage excess spending, but to encourage you to reinvest that money in other more beneficial areas. 

The full version of the app securely connects to your bank with view-only permission in order to monitor spending. Then, the app will ask you to rate your happiness with each purchase on a sliding scale of satisfaction. This data is used to track your wellbeing as well as to set spending and saving targets based on areas which need improvement.

It’s all the brainchild of founder and CEO Anna Freeman. Through her background in finance, tech, and sport, Freeman found strong links between financial stability and mental and physical wellbeing.

“I grew up competing in sport, so I’ve always had a passion for health, wellbeing, and fitness which has only grown over the years,” Freeman says. “What I hadn’t realised when I was in the tech and finance industry was that worrying about money is the global leading cause of mental health issues.”

As mental health awareness increases, largely due to the pandemic, the finance industry has begun to take financial wellbeing into consideration. While this is an improvement, Anna believes that it needs to go a step further.

“Most of the solutions in place are focused on the wellbeing of your finances, as opposed to actually addressing that stress and anxiety that people feel with their money,” Freeman continues. “I knew that we needed to create a health tool.”

Zavfit offers a free “MoneyFitness” quiz, which asks the user how happy they are with various aspects of their day-to-day spending. This includes questions about post-purchase regret, satisfaction in work, social spending, charity, and physical fitness. I took the quiz myself and despite my mediocre score, the questions got me thinking about how I prioritise different aspects of my spending and how to reinvest that money on better things.

“The stereotype of being good with money is ‘saving is good and spending is bad’, but ‘save, save, save’ doesn’t really recognise the present and taking care of yourself,” Freeman adds.

In my case, I found that I am probably spending a bit too much on nights out and not paying good enough attention to my physical health. Rather than simply staying in and saving cash, the philosophy behind Zavfit would suggest that I invest the money saved on a fitness class.

Freeman believes that focusing spending on healthy, fulfilling hobbies and interests can have a big impact on both financial and mental wellbeing. Freeman’s outlets are singing and sport, so she decided to put her resources into those areas.

“I remember walking down the road in the sunshine one day and thinking, ‘I have stopped spending on anything else’,” Anna said, “and that’s because I had found those things which really took me out of my head and lifted me up.”

The pandemic has given many people a chance to think about their wellbeing and break the cycle of habit. Freeman sees this as an opportunity to step back and make important changes moving forward. “There’s been a massive reset on everything, particularly on spending. There’s an opportunity here to think about things differently and to think ‘Okay, I’ve set out what’s important to me, I’m aware of my mental health and that it needs looking after’.”

As the link between health and finance continues to be explored, new ideas like ZavFit can help push the conversation forward to find fresh approaches to the age-old problems of money stress and non-beneficial spending. Breaking bad habits is never easy, but ZavFit proves that this is both achievable and essential to personal wellbeing.

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