Trying to save money can be a daunting task. I’ve taken it on as something of a profession, and honestly, I struggle. Luckily, technology has stepped in to help us. These 7 money saving apps range from helping you budget better to finding coupons and other discounts.
Acorns: Round-Ups Automatically Deposit into an Investment Account
I’m a huge Acorns fan. When I was just making my first foray into investing, this is where I started. I monitored it daily (not a good idea, especially when I watched my first $20 quickly dip to $18) and played around constantly with the different portfolio options. Watching the way Acorns allocated my tiny round up investments was a huge step for me in understanding that investing doesn’t have to be so complicated.
With Acorns, you can set it up to round-up each of your debit or credit card purchases and automatically deposit the difference into an investment account. It’s a great way to save money without having to think too much about it, and you can easily adjust the settings to fit your needs. Plus, setting up your account is simple, making it even easier to get started with the basics of investing.
Mint: Allows You to Aggregate All of Your Accounts to a Single App
Mint is one of the most popular money-saving apps, allowing you to connect all of your financial accounts — from anywhere — in one place. Full disclosure, I’m kind of lukewarm on Mint. The app is meant to categorize your spending, but much of my spending ends up miscategorized (like anything from Amazon) and it just stressed me out to see graphs that depicted my money seemingly pissed away on “uncategorized” goods.
However, I know people who swear by this app and if you’ve never gone through the exercise of watching where all of your money goes each month – this is a great place to start.
Mint allows you to easily monitor and track your spending patterns by connecting directly to your cards and then automatically categorizing your spending. Using this information you can more easily develop a realistic budget for yourself and plan for how much you should save each month. Mint also provides tools for setting up bill reminders and detecting suspicious activity, making it easier to stay on top of your finances.
Rocket Money: Alerts You of Charges That Need To Be Canceled or Refunded.
Full disclosure, I’m new to Rocket Money, but I’m jazzed about the concept. Americans spent $13 BILLION on subscriptions on 2020. I would hazard a bet that about half of that comes from subscriptions people forgot about. I try to audit my subscriptions every few months, but I’d rather let an app do the work for me.
Rocket Money works to save you money by alerting you to charges on your bank accounts and credit cards. The app monitors recurring fees and subscription costs and notifies you whenever it finds something that can be canceled, refunded, or negotiated for a lower rate. You can even set up an auto-cancel feature so the app will automatically alert you before any subscription renews.
The app also has other features like bill negotiation, budget management, and net worth tracking. Of course, one always pays extra for features and who needs another subscription?
You Need A Budget: Operates Under a Zero-Based Budget System That Can Change Your Spending Habits
YNAB is my personal goal for 2023. Last year I came in hot with budgeting but by August, had fallen off track. Of course, the holidays are tough on budgets as well. So, new year, new budget, and time to crush some investing goals.
You Need A Budget (YNAB) helps you track your income, expenses and investments. YNAB operates under a zero-based budget system that encourages users to not spend more money than they have available at the moment, giving them financial power and freedom. YNAB also has a goal setting feature which will create a schedule of savings goals to get you to certain milestones quicker.
While I’ve previously been reluctant to go all in on zero-based budgets, I’m feeling the need to hit refresh on how I budget. So I’m going to give it a go!
Digit: An Automated Savings Platform That Calculates And Saves For You How Much Money You Can Afford To Put Away
This is an app for people who don’t want to think about saving. I don’t use it because I want to be more active with my money, but Digit can be great for more passive savers.
Digit connects to your bank accounts and looks at your spending habits. Based on its analysis, it calculates how much money you can afford to have saved. Then, it puts this amount into a safe FDIC-insured savings account each month unless you direct it otherwise. This automated system helps put your finances in the hands of technology, ensuring that you don’t miss out on these savings opportunities or forget to save altogether.
Even cooler than the automated savings, is that you can set as many goals as you like, so you can have an account to save for a vacation, another for Christmas presents, and so on and so on. This system of having separate accounts for separate goals is one of the best ways to get ahead of foreseen expenses rather than popping them on a credit (like most of us do).
Ibotta: Save Money on Groceries, Automatically
Oh 2022, the year of inflation. If you’re like most people in the world, your grocery bill got a bit unwieldy this past year. With an average 13.5% rise in grocery bills, most of us probably spent at least an extra $800 at the check out this year. Enter Ibotta, a digital coupon app to beat all digital coupon apps.
Simply sign up, select your store and add offers to your list. You can even just scan your receipt after shopping. My favorite part about this setup is that I don’t have to add my bank or credit card accounts to get money back.
Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, and OfferUp: Buy Used to Save Your Wallet and the Planet
No discount or coupon is ever as good as finding something that has been previously loved. My apartment is furnished almost completely with used furniture, my closet and bookshelf filled with used clothes and books. Even when I buy new, I always look for refurbished options. To say I love the circular economy is an understatement.
It used to take a ton of work to buy used stuff – garage sales, vintage stores, goodwill… These options limited buying used to necessity and hobbyists. Happily the app economy has changed that, making buying used goods pretty damn easy.
And the really great news? It’s good for the planet. According to Eva from greenwithless.com, 85% of textiles end up in landfills. Not only does buying use reduce that waste, but it also conserves the resources that would have been used to create a new version.
When managing money, tech can be an awesome friend. Have a favorite app for saving money? Comment below to let me know!