Everybody needs a little help sometimes, especially when it comes to savings. However, a big-budget financial advisor costs too much for most people trying to get their financial lives together. And blogs like this one, great as they are, can’t give you that hands-on help you might need to start saving or spending more wisely.
Luckily, there’s an answer! There are plenty of apps and tools for smartphones and other electronics that will help you save a ton of money automatically, and often in a very short period of time. My team at WealthKept and I just looked over some of the most popular, and have listed for you the three best savings apps and tools available to consumers right now.
Just as an actual acorn, so tiny and insignificant, can grow into a towering oak tree, the Acorns App for Android and iOS can maximize your net worth by helping you save small amounts of money frequently.
The app is easy to use and download, and has been well reviewed by sites such as My Money Blog. In addition, while it started as an iOS exclusive, it has recently been released for Android and in a web version accessible by both Macs and PCs.
All you need to sign up is an email address and bank account. Also, if you’re under 24 or a student, the service is completely free. Even if you don’t fit these criteria, Acorns is incredibly affordable, and you’re almost guaranteed to save much more than you pay out.
How It Works:
Acorns rounds all of your debit card purchases up to the nearest dollar and deposits the extra in a secure, diversified investment account. For example, if you buy something for $4.37, Acorns will move 67 cents from your checking account to your investment account.
Furthermore, you can set up recurring deposits or make one-time deposits into your brokerage account. The account is a fully insured, legitimate investment account, with all the benefits thereof. Also, there are simply explained, easily manipulated tools to change the amount of risk in your overall investment portfolio.
This app comes highly recommended because it is such a simple, cheap way to start investing, and because it automatically invests spare change you’re not even thinking about every time you spend money. Because it also rounds all your purchases up to the next even dollar amount, it also makes it much easier to manage your checking account, simplifying the math involved.
Unless you don’t own a car at all, it’s pretty likely that you’re spending a large amount of money on gas fairly regularly. While gas prices are down at the moment, finding the cheapest gasoline around can still save you money, and the benefits will only increase as the price of gasoline rises again.
This app, well reviewed by CNET (who also offer some other great savings app and tool ideas), shows you all local gas prices so that you can always get gasoline for your car as cheaply as possible.
The reviewers at CNET confirmed the prices were well reported and frequently updated, meaning you’ll be able to reference the app anytime you need to gas up your vehicle.
This app can be especially useful on long trips, as you can find the cheapest gas even in the most unfamiliar areas. I’ve used it on several long trips recently, and it’s saved me a ton of money.
Saving money on regular purchases like gasoline and groceries is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make a positive impact on your net worth and cash flow. This tool comes highly recommended because it makes the hunt for better gas prices infinitely easier, and because it’s such a simple tool to use. Furthermore, it’s available for all major smartphones.
This application from Intuit saves you money by allowing you to completely and easily arm yourself with information about your finances. It also allows you to more easily file your taxes!
Although bank apps are getting better and better, there are still some flaws with them. Features like spending statistics are not integrated well into every single bank’s app, and many bank apps also feature annoying sales tactics, trying to get you to sign up for credit cards and paid accounts. Furthermore, most bank apps only show you what’s going on with the money you have in accounts at that bank, while most people have funds spread across multiple locations.
Enter Mint. This app allows you to track and manage your finances across multiple banking and other platforms (such as investment accounts), and also provides useful information about your spending habits. In the right hands and with the right knowledge, this information can turn your financial life around for the better.
You might think you don’t need an app like Mint, because all it really does is pull information from multiple sources (different bank statements, for example). However, having all this information in one place does several things for you:
- Gives you a big-picture snapshot of your entire current financial situation
- Allows you to track spending habits across long periods of time
- Helps you manage debt and overspending by putting all of your credits and debits in front on you on one screen
- Makes filing taxes much easier.
Putting all of this financial information power in a single app makes Mint a big winner in our book. It’s free and easy to use, and once you download it you may find yourself referencing it multiple times per day.
It’s also available to use online at Mint.com, so even if you don’t want to download the smartphone app, you can educate yourself about your finances and save a lot of money with this program. The fact that a single account works across multiple platforms is also a nice feature, and means you can keep track of your finances wherever you go.