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Building a savings habit can be hard. Once you get into the routine of living paycheck-to-paycheck, or even worse, end up in debt, it’s difficult to break out of the cycle. It seems like it’s hard enough to stay afloat, never mind save up a bit on the side.
But everyone has the ability to save. Even if you have to use all your spare money on paying off debt rather than investing in stocks, there are undoubtedly a few areas of your life you could cut down your spending on or ways to apply discounts you aren’t taking advantage of.
The main barrier generally isn’t money; it’s often time or knowledge. Manually searching for the best deals can be exhausting and overwhelming; most people don’t know how to start or even what they’re looking for.
Apps are great because they’ll automate the hard work, and all you have to do is take advantage of the savings. With lots of apps available, you don’t need to do anything more than sign up and link a credit card.
What Is The Best App For Saving Money?
There are a few different ways to save money through apps; the type that works best for you depends on your current financial position and your goals.
The apps available fit into the following groups: Cashback and Coupon Apps, Cutting Costs Apps, Automated Saving Apps, and Investment Apps.
You may want to download a few apps across different categories, but it would be overwhelming to have one in each. As you’ll soon see, there’s a lot of overlap between features.
Cashback and Coupon Apps
Using apps for cashback and coupons is one of the most accessible ways to save money – no matter how much you’re earning and spending, you’ll be able to earn some points to save on future purchases.
Wikibuy offers a free browser extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari which automatically compares prices as you shop online.
Join at Wikibuy’s site and then install the extension in your favorite browser. As you add items to your cart at an online retailer, Wikibuy will search the web for better deals and coupon codes.
You can use the codes to save or follow the links to other retailers offering a better price. You can even use the Wikibuy app while shopping at brick-and-mortar stores.
Wikibuy’s features include:
- Universal Product Search – scan barcodes in store or search retailers online
- Featured Offers and Trending Deals
- Coupon Codes – automatically finds additional savings
- Price Drop Alerts – notifies you when prices drop for interested items
- Redeemable Credits – earn credits as you shop and redeem for gift cards
Wikibuy Price: FREE By downloading the Wikibuy browser extension, it's as if you have a personal shopping assitant constantly finding you the best deals on your purchases! Let Wikibuy save you money today!
Ibotta is a cashback app that lets you earn points in three main ways.
- Shopping online through their shopping portal to receive an automatic cashback
- Scanning your receipts to earn an extra cashback
- Using the Pay by Ibotta feature to pay in-store and get instant cashback by presenting the discount code on your screen to the cashier.
Ibotta covers a wide variety of stores, including groceries, clothing, and travel – there are over 140 retailers in total.
In order to receive the cashback from products purchased, you’ll need to complete at least one short task, such as taking part in a poll or watching a video.
Although this sounds tedious, it’s very quick and is a great way to earn extra since you can complete multiple tasks for more points if you want. You can use your points towards gift cards or a direct transfer to PayPal or Venmo.
To learn more, read our Ibotta Review.
Shopkick is an app that gives you points (or ‘kicks’) from shopping in-store or online. There are a few ways to earn these kicks.
When shopping in-store, you can scan the barcodes of items to find out if they offer any rewards, then submit your receipt when you’re finished. You’ll earn points for each eligible item scanned.
Alternatively, you can link a credit card with your Shopkick account to earn points automatically, which saves time. When shopping online, you can use the Shopkick portal and earn points as you go.
Once you download the Shopkick app, it uses Bluetooth to figure out your location and offers you tailor-made deals. You can also earn some extra points from checking into locations, so don’t forget to keep your Bluetooth switched on.
If you want to earn even more kicks, you can do so from watching videos on the ‘Discover’ tab of the app. You can use the points you earn for either PayPal withdrawals or gift cards for retailers like Amazon, eBay, or Target.
RetailMeNot is one of the biggest sites on the web for finding coupons, discounts, and promo codes. The main part of the site has coupons for nonessentials like clothes and restaurants, but there’s also a RetailMeNot Everyday section of the website, which is geared more towards everyday items like groceries or cleaning products.
There’s a multitude of additional features too. Rxsaver helps you to save money at the pharmacy, there’s an online community to read feedback on offers, and a newsletter that updates you on the latest coupons available.
RetailMeNot has a dedicated app that makes it easier to find offers on the go and maximize your savings
Cutting Costs Apps
Another easy way to save money that everybody should be taking advantage of is reducing the amount spent on everyday essentials.
You might think you’re saving to the max by purchasing budget items, but what about negotiating down prices?
That’s what a new breed of apps can help you achieve.
There’s nothing more irritating than buying something than seeing it for sale at a lower price a few days later. Wouldn’t it be nice to get that money back? Now you can.
Paribus helps you get money back by tracking your purchases from major stores and negotiating refunds. It also helps you get compensated for late deliveries for applicable (like Amazon) and makes sure you don’t leave it too late to return anything you bought.
Unfortunately, the feature doesn’t apply to retailers; currently only 25 are signed up. But since these are major stores like Target and Walmart, that probably covers most of your purchases anyway.
The app is completely free, so there’s nothing to lose from giving it a try. Just sit back and see how much money you save.
To learn more, read our Paribus Review.
We all know there’s probably a better deal we could sign up for that would reduce our utility bills, but somehow there’s never time to search for the best offers out there manually. Truebill solves this problem.
Instead of you having to call up companies and negotiate for a lower price or search for alternative deals, Truebill’s team of negotiators will do it for you. There’s still some level of a time investment since you’ll need to upload all your bills; this can be done by taking photos or logging into your accounts.
Truebill also helps with lowering all those monthly subscriptions; as we move towards a subscription economy, it’s becoming increasingly harder to stay on top of all the platforms we’ve signed up for, and this often leads to wasted money. Truebill will monitor everything you subscribe to and gives you the option to unsubscribe automatically.
Somewhat ironically, there’s a subscription cost of $3 to access premium services, including the negotiation service, but basic tracking features are available for free. If Truebill successfully negotiates down the bills, they’ll also take 40% commission of the amount saved.
The concept of Trim is almost identical to Truebill: they negotiate down bill prices and cancel subscriptions. However, there are also some features to help you save money by tracking your spending and offering suggestions about unnecessary splurges.
Trim’s Simple Savings is a feature that automates your savings by transferring a portion of your earnings into savings. You can also access advice about trimming down your debt so that you can cover all fronts of money-saving.
Like Truebill, Trim takes a cut of any savings it can negotiate for you, but it’s slightly cheaper at 33%. Bill cancellation, budgeting tools, and text alerts are all free services.
Automated Savings Apps
Although everybody should save, the reality is not everyone does. Once the money comes into your account, it’s tempting to spend it all and just save the leftover – if you have any leftover.
Automated savings apps make saving easier by automatically placing a portion of your income you can afford to save into your savings account.
By setting goals and rules, Qapital helps you to make the most of your money and to save wisely. There’s a Payday Divvy feature which divides up your commitments between spending and saving.
You’ll also be able to take part in ‘Money Missions,’ which are fun challenges designed to give you insight into smart financial investments.
If you want to invest too, you can use Qapital’s pre-built portfolios, which are tailor-made to the timeline and amount you input.
The main downside is that, although you’ll receive a debit card, you need to pay a fee to use it for spending (but you can use it for online purchases and transfers for free). You’ll also need to pay to use the app: it will cost $3, $6 or $12 depending on the level of resources you want access to.
If you can’t figure out how much you can afford to save, Digit will analyze your spending habits and allocate a certain amount to your savings. If the app knows you have spare money to save, then it will be moved automatically, and if you don’t, it will stop, so there’s no risk of being left with no cash for the basics.
You can sign up for a free trial for a month, and after that, the monthly price is $5.
Is The Digit Saving App Legit?
The idea of having to pay a monthly fee to access an app that helps you save money may sound slightly counterintuitive, but Digit is a legitimate app. It uses sophisticated algorithms and automation to figure out how much you can afford to save and spend so you don’t need to do the math yourself, which can save a lot of time and stress.
Digit is safe to use. They save your money in FDIC-insured banks with 256-bit encryption, so security isn’t an issue.
However, you might not deem the features worth the price tag as there’s a lot of great money-saving apps available for free that can help you manage your money.
Other apps are slightly less sophisticated but still serve the same basic purpose. There’s a free trial for the first month, so why not try out a free option before testing Digit and then compare the two?
Twine is unique because it helps couples to invest and save together. If you’re in a relationship, you’re probably working towards joint saving goals, such as a holiday or property, so it makes sense to manage your finances together too.
Both individuals can contribute to the joint goals and track each other’s progress, which has the added bonus of accountability.
You can choose to either hold savings or invest the money, and joint savings accounts have an interest rate of 1.05%.
Savings accounts are FDIC-protected up to $250,000, while investment accounts are SIPC-protected up to $500,000.
The main draw of Varo is its high-interest rate: if you open a savings account, you’ll be able to earn 2.80% APY on balances up to $50,000 as long as you make monthly deposits of $1,000 or more and at least five payments each month. Otherwise, you’ll still receive an interest rate of 2.02%, which is much higher than average.
You can also receive your paycheck two days early, and there’s an option to automatically round up your change to save or automatically deposit a chunk of earnings into savings.
Even better, the minimum balance to open an account is just one penny, and there are no fees – even if you want to use your card abroad.
However, a Varo account is better for saving rather than spending. Deposits are FDIC-secured up to $250,000.
Chime is a free mobile banking app that comes with a debit card and offers various features to help you save more. Chime is an online-only bank.
You can round up your purchases and move the spare change into savings or auto-transfer your paycheck into a savings account. You can also receive your paycheck two days earlier by setting up direct deposits.
The debit card offers some attractive features too. There’s a free overdraft, and you can use your card abroad without incurring extra fees.
A disadvantage is that the app is mobile-only – there’s no web version.
To learn more, read our Chime Bank Review.
Once you’re earning enough to save and you have some form of an emergency fund, it’s time to start thinking about investment.
There’s some overlap between the savings and investment apps since a lot of platforms offer both services to some extent, but the following apps specialize primarily in investment.
This app takes its name from the historical figure who stole money from the rich to give to the poor; that’s because Robinhood makes investing more accessible to the masses.
You’ll be able to access commission-free investment, thus transferring wealth from the investment managers back to the investors. Stocks, funds, and options are all exempt from fees, even when buying cryptocurrencies. This is made possible because Robinhood has no physical locations, and all investment management is manual.
However, you’ll need to pay fees if you want to access learning resources to help you make more informed decisions, like research reports. Going ‘Gold’ (the name of the premium version) demands a monthly fee of $5 or more, but you’ll also get a free stock.
If you open a brokerage account on Robinhood, you can earn an impressive 1.80% APY.
To learn more, read our Robinhood Review.
By using your Acorns debit card, your spare change will automatically get rounded up and placed in an investment account.
You can create a portfolio based on your income and goals; your choice could be more conservative or more aggressive depending on the amount of risk you’re willing to take for a high yield. Acorns portfolios are made using ETFs from companies like Vanguard and BlackRock.
Acorns Later can help you save for retirement, at the cost of $2 a month, while Acorns Spend is a checking account you can open for $3 a month. Otherwise, the basic cost of Acorns is just $1 a month.
To learn more, read our Acorns Review.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one money management app, Stash is a great place to start: you can invest, bank, save, and learn in one app.
You’ve probably heard of cashback rewards, and hopefully, you’re already taking advantage of them – but what about stock-back? Stash lets you earn stocks and funds back when you make purchases using your Stash card.
You only need $5 to open an investment account. Stash offers micro-investments, which makes it a good place to start for those who don’t have much to invest or want to test the waters first. There’s also a Smart Stash feature to automate investments.
The accounts include no hidden fees and the chance to be paid two days early. However, there is a monthly fee: $1 for all the basic features, $3 if you want tax benefits for retirement investing, or $9 if you’d also like two investment accounts for your children and a debit card with double Stockback, as well as a monthly markets insight report.
To learn more, read our Stash Review.
How Do Savings Apps Work?
There are different types of savings apps, and all of them work in different ways.
Cashback and coupon apps work once you connect your account with a credit card you use to shop, or alternatively you can scan receipts or shop through their portal.
In contrast, savings and investment apps provide you with a brand-new card so they can automatically place your spare change or paycheck into a savings or investment account.
Finally, bill checking apps require you to log all your bills into the app so they can track them for you.
Depending on the features offered and the model of the app, they may be free or charge a fee. Bill-saving apps like Truebill charge a commission for savings made, whereas cashback apps are always free but make money from adverts.
Savings and investment apps make most of their money from using yours (like conventional banks) and some from add-ons.
What Is The App That Saves Your Change?
Apps that round up purchases to the nearest dollar and save or invest the spare change have increased in popularity over the last few years. Many different money-saving apps now offer the feature; amongst them are Acorns, Stash, Varo, and Chime.
However, this isn’t an exhaustive list, and more apps are likely to introduce this feature in the future to meet demand.
Which Money Saving App Is For You?
Even if you’re the world’s worst budgeter, it’s still possible to save money as long as you have a smartphone. All you need to do is download a few apps and complete some basic admin tasks before you can passively earn some extra money.
If you can’t afford to save and just want some extra cash to line your pockets, a cashback or bill-checking app can seemingly give you something for nothing. All you have to do is link your card or bills, and the app will check whether you’re applicable for discounts or lower rates.
If you want to save or invest but get drawn into spending the money instead, there are apps that automatically put aside the small change from your purchases to help you reach your goals.
However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that downloading apps is all it takes to form a solid financial management plan. In reality, it’s just the first step: keeping a budget and tracking your spending is just as important as ever. Thankfully, there’s also an app for that.
Bonus: Best Money Tracker
All the apps mentioned above are great ways to save or invest without having to put in much extra effort, however, to save significant sums of money, it’s essential to figure out where yours is going and to have some accountability. Although there are lots of different apps that offer this feature, none quite measure up to Personal Capital.
You can connect all your accounts in one place, including current accounts, credit cards, and even investments. Personal Capital also allows you to analyze your investment in sophisticated ways: you can check how well your portfolio is performing and find out if you’re paying unnecessary fees. It’s kind of like a bill checker and a budgeting platform all in one.
The basic platform is available for free, but there’s a charge to receive professional advice from finance experts if your portfolio is worth $100,000 or more.
To learn more, read our Personal Capital Review.
Personal Capital Price: FREE With Personal Capital, you can see your net worth, analyze investments, and discover any hidden fees you weren’t aware of before – as well as set spending and saving goals.