Best Money Saving Apps
Managing your budget when you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck is tough, but add to that the goal of stashing some of your hard-earned cash and things can seem downright impossible. Enter the world of the best money-saving apps — apps that use technology to help you stash more cash and grow your wealth.
The 5 Best Money Saving Apps
- Acorns: Best for investing with spare change
- Chime: Best for round-up savings
- Clarity: Best for high-yield savings
- Digit: Best for automated savings
- Qapital: Best for Investment goals
|App||Price||Savings Method||Investing Capabilities||What it Tracks|
|Acorns||$1 to $3/month||Purchase round-ups||Short- and long-term||Investments and spending|
|Chime||Free||Automated savings||None||Account balances and savings|
|Clarity Money||No monthly fees||High-yield account||No auto-investing||Spending habits and credit score|
|Digit||$5/month after a 30-day trial||AI-based savings||No auto-investing||Spending habits and investment goals|
|Qapital||$3 to $12/month after a 30-day trial||Auto-savings||Manual or rule-based transfers||Spending, savings and investment goals|
What are Money Saving Apps?
Money-saving apps use technology-backed power to help you keep more of your hard-earned money. However, the best money-saving apps also help you invest your savings, making your money work harder for you instead of the other way around. Some apps even offer you a way to earn interest, though that’s not always the case.
Not all money-saving apps are created equally. Some save you more, others save you less, and many will charge a monthly fee for use. So, are they really what they’re cracked up to be? Sometimes it takes a deeper dive to find the answer, but one thing is certain: there are many situations in which you might benefit from apps that help you save money. They might be a good choice if you’re tech-savvy and looking for a convenient way to start saving.
The 5 Best Apps
Acorns: Best for investing with spare change
One advantage of Acorns is that it gives you an easy way to save. It works by rounding up regular daily purchases to the next dollar amount and diverting the excess to a holding account. Once the holding account reaches $5, funds are then reinvested into an investment portfolio. Acorns might be best for those with an initial deposit to contribute because of the monthly fees.
The Acorns app offers Acorns Spend, which includes an Acorns checking account and Visa debit card. It also has sponsored Found Money partners that will give bonuses — usually a percentage of what you spend — to your Acorns account. Found Money partners include top retailers like Walmart, Nike, Lyft and many more. In all, Acorns has over 350 Found Money partners.
Chime: Best for automatic savings
Chime is a hyped-up banking app that delivers more than just your account details. You won’t find any hidden or overdraft fees, and it gives many of the perks you’d find with mobile banking elsewhere. Then, it steps into new territory to deliver your payday early — up to two days early.
Like Acorns, Chime also offers a round-up savings feature with its Visa debit card. Whenever you spend money, Chime rounds your purchase up to the next dollar and automatically transfers the excess to your Chime savings account. So, it’s like getting a boost to your savings account without the hassle of figuring out how much to deposit each payday. However, Chime also allows you to set up an automatic payday transfer to your savings account as well. So, if you’re really looking to kick it up a notch and build that nest egg, that’s one more way to get it rolling.
Clarity Money: Best for high-yield savings
Clarity Money is a banking app through Marcus by Goldman Sachs. It’s free to use, but you do have to open a Marcus savings account. However, it rewards you handsomely for doing so in the form of an impressive high-yield 1.70% APY with a minimum balance of $2,500. The app also tracks spending habits to help you better gauge where your money is going, and it helps you establish savings goals like building a nest egg or planning a vacation.
The app will help you cancel unwanted or unneeded subscriptions like all those unread magazines that keep piling up in the bathroom. Why spend money on things that you aren’t using or don’t need?
Clarity Money also helps you better organize your monthly bills and expenses and keeps you updated on how your credit score is doing. While it may not be for everyone, particularly if you don’t have the $2,500 to open a savings account, there’s a lot to love about this app.
Digit: Best for automated savings
Digit offers a unique take on the best savings apps mentioned so far. It takes automation to a whole new level by using algorithms that will calculate the “perfect” amount of money to save based on your bank account and spending habits — which is quite an intuitive way to save. You’ll need to plug in your savings goals, like paying off those credit cards, planning a vacation or saving for an emergency. From there, Digit will do the rest. It’s like having a personal assistant by your side to help you save some more.
Qapital: Best for investment goals
Qapital blends behavioral psychology with technology to help you make smart money decisions starting with your budget. It’s important to know where your money goes. Qapital does this by analyzing your spending habits to help you learn what you’re spending and where your spending it. It’ll even find your spending “sweet spot” based on your budget and lifestyle. We like that the app also helps you invest with confidence and once you establish your goals, Qapital will take care of the rest.
Saving Apps vs Shopping Apps
Money-saving apps and shopping apps are both designed to save you money, but there are key differences. Shopping apps help you save money while you spend it. It might sound counterproductive, but the idea is more along the lines of finding the best sale or deal for items that you’re already buying or didn’t know you wanted to buy.
Money-saving apps are more focused on getting real cash back and then reinvesting it to help you save more. Grocery and other shopping apps can help you get real cash back, too, but they don’t usually reinvest it for you. Maybe it goes to your PayPal or maybe you get a gift card for the value that you saved. That’s fine for those looking to earn some cash-back rewards, but if you want your money to grow, then having a way to invest it might be a better option.
Money Saving Apps vs Deal Apps
Deal apps are similar to shopping apps in some respects. They help you save money by finding you the best deals and they aren’t limited to store or e-commerce sales, though they sometimes include both. Instead, you might find deals for travel, hotels, theme parks and more, which is great if you’re looking for some entertainment but don’t want to pay full price. However, again, your savings don’t get reinvested. So, where does the money you saved go? Nowhere, actually. You simply spend less. It’s usually up to you to decide what to do with the savings and, if you’re like many others, what you save simply gets diverted back to your expendable income.
Money Saving Apps vs Budget Trackers
Budgeting apps have much in common with money-saving apps — some of the best budgeting apps help get your financial health back on track by guiding you through a budget. They track your finances to show where your money is being spent and how much of your income is going toward categories like groceries, entertainment, dining out, bills and more. A few of them will even track your investments. Some of the top budgeting apps out there include Every Dollar, Mint, Fudget, and Spendee. These might be great tools for individuals looking to make smarter money decisions but won’t level up your savings.
The Final Word
These apps might not be the best choice for individuals who are concerned about monthly fees. Some of the fees associated with money-savings apps can make using the app more costly and it might not produce the expected return. However, they can be a great option for many other individuals — particularly those who are tech-savvy, always on the go and want their savings automated.
The importance of saving money hasn’t changed — the difference today is in how we save it. So, before you choose, make sure to do your homework. Shop around for the features that make the most sense for you. The savings app you choose could be just what you need to jump-start your finances.