December 12, 2019

Best Money Saving Apps

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If you may find yourself spending more than saving, these easy-to-use apps can help. What's the best money savings app for you? Read on to find out.

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How Money Saving Apps Works

Money-saving apps move small amounts of cash periodically into a separate savings or investment account. This can be an easier way to save than waiting to see what's leftover at the end of the month.

Each app has different parameters, some of which you can customize. Some round up every transaction while others use an algorithm to determine your monthly savings.

The goal? To make saving money easier. Read on for our top choices to start saving today.

Best Money Saving App Overall: Chime

Chime is a mobile bank with a money saving app feature. When you sign up for Chime, you get a:

  • Checking Account
  • Visa Debit Card
  • Savings Account (Optional)

Its Save When You Spend program rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and deposits the "spare change" in your savings account.

You can also designate a certain percentage to save using Direct Deposit. Chime will automatically transfer the appropriate amount to your savings account.

Chime doesn't charge overdraft fees, monthly maintenance fees, minimum balance fees, or service fees.

Cost

  • Free to use and maintain account
  • $2.50 charge for over-the-counter or non-ATM network withdrawals

Pros

  • Instant access to your saved funds via the mobile app
  • Virtually no fees
  • Unlimited roundups of each purchase throughout the month
  • FDIC insured
  • Have early access to your direct deposits (up to 2 days early)

Cons

  • There's no option for joint account holders
  • You can easily access your funds, which can be tempting
  • You must use a MoneyPass or Visa Plus Alliance ATM to avoid ATM fees

How to Get Started
  1. Download the Chime app
  2. Connect your funding account
  3. Turn on Automatic Savings to round up purchases
  4. Enjoy your savings

Best Free Money Saving App: SmartyPig

SmartyPig is an online version of the piggy bank you had as a kid. Whether you have long-term goals like saving for a home or short-term goals, such as paying for Christmas gifts, SmartyPig makes it easy to achieve them.

Cost

  • Free to use

Pros

  • High-yield savings account rate tiers
  • No startup fees
  • No fees to save or withdraw funds
  • Savings accounts housed at Sallie Mae Bank with FDIC insurance
  • Earn $10 reward for each referral that successfully opens and contributes to an account

Cons

  • Withdrawals are easy, which can make it harder to reach your goals
  • You must allocate goals or the funds sit in your SmartyPig Primary account
  • You can only have one external funding source at a time

How to Get Started
  1. Register for an account with your mobile phone, Social Security number, and driver's license number
  2. Choose your savings goal or goals
  3. Set up a recurring bi-weekly or monthly deposit from a linked bank account
  4. Work toward your goal and enjoy the rewards

Best Money Saving App for Goals: Qapital

Qapital believes in setting rules for your savings. These include:

  • IFTTT
    An "If This Then That" rule triggers savings upon certain actions

  • Apple Health Rules
    Set health goals in Apple Health that trigger savings every time you meet them.

  • Freelancer Rule
    Every time your pay is higher than a determined amount, Qapital will move a set percentage to your Goal account.

  • Spend Less Rule
    Set a budget for specific merchants and if you come in under budget at the end of the month, Qapital will transfer the difference to your savings account

When you sign up with Qapital, you get a Spending account with a linked Visa debit card, a Goals account for short-term planning, and an Invest account for longer-term goals.

Cost

  • Free 30-day trial
  • Basic: $3 per month—Qapital Save account only
  • Complete: $6 per month—Qapital Save, Spend and Invest account
  • Master: $12 per month—Qapital Save, Spend, Invest, and educational opportunities

Pros

  • FDIC insured
  • No account setup or overdraft fees
  • No limit on the number of transfers to and from your Qapital Goals account
  • Set up joint goals with family or friends
  • Qapital Invest automatically diversifies your portfolio based on your risk preference

Cons

  • Minimal interest rates
  • Pausing rules proves can be a little tricky
  • Deposits take a while to clear

How to Get Started
  1. Register for the chosen account based on the type of accounts you want
  2. Link your funding account (external checking account)
  3. Set your savings rules
  4. Watch your money grow

Best Money Saving App for Investments: Acorns

Acorns rounds up your credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and saves the spare change for you. Once your balance reaches $5, the app invests the money based on your chosen portfolio.

Acorns offers three programs:

  • Invest: Round up your spare change and Acorns invests for you once you hit $5

  • Later: Set up recurring deposits and Acorns invests in an IRA according to your lifestyle and goals

  • Spend: The Acorns checking account with Visa debit card

You can earn "Found Money" by linking a debit or credit card to your Acorn Core account. If you shop at one of the 350+ merchants that partner with Acorns, you'll earn cash back into your Acorns account.

Cost

  • Invest Plan: $1 per month
  • Invest + Later: $2 per month
  • Invest + Later + Spend: $3 per month

Pros

  • Great way to get your feet wet in investing
  • Set up recurring or one-time "boosts" to increase investments
  • Suggested portfolios based on answers to simple lifestyle questions
  • No minimum balance requirements or trading fees

Cons

  • Annual fee of 0.25% for balances over $5,000
  • Investment—not a savings—account so you could lose money
  • Withdrawals take time

How to Get Started
  1. Register for the chosen account
  2. Link your funding account (external checking account)
  3. Add a credit or debit card (if you wish)
  4. Start saving

Best Money Saving App for Automatic Savings: Digit

Digit uses artificial intelligence to evaluate your income and spending habits and determine how much you can save.The program even adjusts the amount you save daily to maximize your funds.

Cost

  • $5 per month with a free 30-day trial

Pros

  • FDIC insured
  • State-of-the-art security, including encrypted data
  • Adapts to your income and spending habits, taking the thinking out of saving
  • You can make as many withdrawals per month as you want
  • If you use Digit for three consecutive months, you get a 1% annualized bonus

Cons

  • Only works with banks within the United States
  • Risk of overdraft on your checking account—Digit only reimburses you for two overdrafts
  • No interest on your savings

How to Get Started
  1. Sign up for a Digit account
  2. Connect your checking account
  3. Digit analyzes your account for a few days
  4. After analyzing your account, Digit transfers the allotted money to your savings account automatically

Other Apps to Consider

Tip Yourself
When you "tip" yourself, you transfer funds from your checking account to your "tip jar," or savings app. Tip Yourself isn't an automated savings app—you must click the button to transfer the funds.

The app helps you save money while recognizing your accomplishments. You can even share your wins on their social feed to get positive reinforcement. Tip yourself for making it to the gym, not overspending, sticking to your diet, or whatever you decide.

Cost

  • Free

Pros

  • Available on iPhones and Android phones
  • You choose the amount of the tip each time
  • You choose when you tip yourself
  • You can withdraw funds whenever you want or need to
  • Helps you maintain positive lifestyle habits

Cons

  • Withdrawals take up to three days to process
  • It's easier to skip saving when it's not automated
  • Your money doesn't earn interest

Simple
Set savings goals with a target date and Simple determines how much you need to set aside and the frequency. If you agree to the calculations, the app sets that amount aside in your account. Your Simple account is a checking and savings account in one.

The app can also help you budget. Just input your recurring expenses and Simple allocates for those expenses for you. It will calculate your "Safe to Spend" funds by deducting your expenses and goal money from your available balance. That way, you can spend money without worrying about affecting your bills or goals.

Cost

  • Free to use and maintain an account
  • $5 for a book of checks

Pros

  • Accurately budget your money considering future expenses and goals
  • Live customer service
  • Direct deposit your paycheck right to Simple
  • Earn interest on your goals' balances
  • You can open a shared account

Cons

  • Incur ATM fees if you visit an out-of-network ATM
  • No cash deposits
  • Only residents of the United States can use it

Kidfund
Start your kids on the right financial path with Kidfund. Download the app and set up regular contributions to your child's account. You choose the rules and can adjust them at any time. Family members can also gift funds right into the Kidfund account after you send an invitation link.

Cost

  • Free

Pros

  • FDIC insured
  • Earn 3% interest on the first $500
  • Receive savings reminders to keep you on track
  • No account minimums
  • Earn referral bonuses

Cons

  • Only available on iOS
  • ACH transfer is the only option for depositing funds
  • Funds aren't easy to withdraw

What to Look for in a Money Saving App

Platform
Make sure the app is compatible with your device. Most are mobile apps and some work exclusively on iOS or Android.

Security
You are sharing private and important information, so pay close attention. Make sure there's bank level security and all data is encrypted.

FDIC Insurance
FDIC insurance ensures that you don't lose your money even if the bank goes out of business.

Features
Consider the features carefully. Do you need automated savings? Do you want automatic round-up features or automatically calculated savings goals?

Bottom Line

If you struggle with savings, consider one of the many money saving apps available today. While most save automatically, you may find yourself paying more attention to your spending with regular use.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone. Please support CreditDonkey on our mission to help you make savvy decisions. Our free online service is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content.

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