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How we use behavioural science to help you save for a house faster 🧠

Anya GairAnya Gair
Last Updated 13 June 2024

In between your ears, there are 86 billion neurons that make up the wonderful world of your brain. It’s responsible for everything that makes you, you, and is more advanced than any machine on earth today (and hopefully always).

Inside this brilliant brain of yours is the ability to make decisions and create habits that help you reach your goals, like saving up for a home. But building a big enough house fund can be a daunting task.

So within the Tembo Lifetime ISA app, we’ve built in features that use behavioural science to nudge your brain towards smashing your deposit goal. It starts as soon as you set up your Tembo account and keeps going until you’re ready to buy your place.

Here are the behavioural science hacks within our award-winning app that help you reach your house deposit goal faster.

#1 Goal-setting sets you up for success

Over 380 tests have shown that goal-setting has a significant impact on your behaviour. And as we know, behaviour builds habits and habits create change. Goal-setting has an even greater impact when they are written down - people who write down their goals regularly are 42% more likely to succeed than those who don’t.

When you set (and refine) your time to buy goal in the Tembo app, you go through the same process of writing it down. You can remind yourself of what you’re trying to achieve and think about what you need to do to get there - which could make you 42% more likely to reach your house deposit goal!

#2 Creating a designated space for your house savings

Our brains associate spaces with different tasks and routines. You step into your office, your brain knows that it’s time for work. You hop into bed and you’ll start feeling sleepy (or have a sudden urge to rethink every embarrassing thing you did in the last 10 years). 

The same goes for digital spaces. Every time you open the Tembo app — the dedicated space for saving for your first home — you remind your brain that you’ve got a really important goal to smash. This keeps it at the front of your mind when it comes to choosing between that 2am impulse buy vs putting more money towards your first home.

#3 Connect with something you’re excited about

To reach a goal, you need to be doing it for intrinsic reasons. In other words, you have to really, really want it. That’s why in the Tembo app we show you how long it could take you to buy your home - not just how much of a deposit you have saved up. No one really wants to hand over a deposit worth tens of thousands of pounds. You want to own a home one day, and knowing roughly when ‘one day’ could be makes it way more exciting - especially as you see that time whittle down as you save. When you’re excited by a goal, you’re more likely to keep at it.

#4 Leverage both sides of your brain at once

When your brain is faced with instant gratification vs long-term goals, it goes into battle with itself. The emotional side of your brain has a hard time imagining the future (so wants the reward now), whereas the logical side of your brain clearly sees the impact of your current actions.

For example — the logical side of your brain wants to put money towards your first home, but the emotional side of your brain wants to go to that karaoke bar for the third time this week.

The Tembo app helps to convince the emotional side of your brain to agree with the logical side of your brain, by giving it rewards every time you work towards your first home goal. Here’s how we do it…

Whenever you act on a money-saving insight in the Tembo app or complete a challenge, you immediately see how much sooner you could buy your home. The logical side of your brain is happy with the positive impact on a future plan, and the emotional side of your brain gets instant gratification from seeing your time to buy go down.

With two sides of your brain on the same page, you’re less likely to give into temptation and instead, stay focussed on buying your home.


#5 Break your big goal into smaller chunks

Buying a home is a huge goal. By breaking it down into small, everyday habits, you can make it feel a lot more achievable. A huge body of research shows that small wins have enormous power - disproportionate to the size of the victories themselves. When you achieve small wins by completing habits or reaching smaller milestones, you’re setting in motion momentum to achieve the next small win. 

In other words, when you accomplish something during the process of trying to reach a huge goal (eg: completing a challenge that helps you put more money towards your home) your brain wants to do it again and again and again. Next thing you know, your money-saving habits have a snowball effect, keeping you on track to reaching your house deposit goal.


#5 Share your goal

Sharing is more than caring when it comes to goal-setting, it also helps you make it happen. In fact, 70% of people who regularly tell their friends about their goals are successful in achieving them, compared to 35% of those who kept their goals to themselves.

This is because, by telling someone, you feel more accountable. Plus, when you share your progress and accomplishments, you’re likely to get some positive vibes in return. And that’s the stuff of motivation magic.

We’ve brought this thinking into the Tembo app: 

👭Join forces with Team Up

With our Team Up feature, you can join forces with your partner, best friend or sibling to build your deposit for your first home together. You both have your own accounts but can see your joint progress in one place and support each other all the way.

🥳 Share your progress

Our ‘Share Goal’ feature lets you share your first home countdown to your Instagram stories, family WhatsApp group or whatever channel you like. By sharing your progress with others, you are making yourself twice as likely to reach your goal.

Like we said, your brain is a pretty powerful piece of kit. And with Tembo, there’s no stopping you from smashing your goal of becoming a homeowner.

Get started with Tembo today!

Download the Tembo app and join the +350,000 others saving for their first home.

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