11 Apps to Automate Your Savings
Saving money is one of those “adulting” practices that is simple in theory but way more difficult to actually make happen. Like flossing your teeth or washing your sheets regularly, the resolution to save always starts out well, only to fizzle out once the vigor of the initial motivation wears off.
And honestly, we don’t blame you; it takes a great deal of willpower to resist the temptation to spend your hard-earned money on the things you want right now. After you’ve paid your bills and this month’s expenses, it’s hard to give up what’s left over. But, what’s harder than hiding away your dollars, is finding yourself caught off-guard, having to pay for an emergency root canal or needing to scrounge up enough to replace your worn-out brakes.
Luckily, you’re not in it alone. A number of financial apps have raised the bar on budgeting, taking you out of the equation and automatically transferring your cash to your savings account. Every app’s features and methods vary, but each one is sure to kick start the habit of saving regularly by keeping your disposable income out of sight and out of mind.
While most apps make it all too easy to spend money, these ones make it even more simple to stash it away. To help you take charge of your finances and reach your savings goals, we’ve rounded up the top 10 apps that will automate your savings. So sit back, relax, and watch your savings account grow!
Digit is the heavyweight champ of automatic savings, and the app that currently has the financial world buzzing. Rather than transferring a set amount per period like most automated savings programs, Digit takes a smarter approach.
After connecting the app to your checking account, it will start to study your income and spending habits to learn what you have coming in and going out.
From there, the app will start withdrawing small amounts a few times a week to be set aside in your Digit account. The regular transfers are small, intended to be amounts that you can afford and will hardly notice missing from your day to day budget (around $5–50). But, when you check your Digit account after a few weeks, you’ll notice you’ve saved a pretty penny with money that you likely would have spent on frivolous things.
When you’re ready to use your balance for that big purchase you’ve been storing away for, simply send a text to Digit and the app will transfer your balance back to your bank account. The best part is that this app is no cost and all savings — it won’t charge you to download or even bill you for fees to transfer.
If you’re working towards a specific savings goal in a certain amount of time, Dobot may be the perfect app for you. It allows you to set the dollar amount you are working towards along with when you’ll need to access that money (say, in 12 months to buy your new car).
Once you connect your checking account, the app determines the ideal amount of savings to be transferred each week.
You can pick one goal (your new car) or multiple (next semester’s tuition, a trip to the Bahamas, etc). The app allows you to visualize each of your individual savings goals, making it incredibly easy to see your progress.
Doubt also sends regular bursts of encouragement and advice through text and email to help you stay on track and keep your financial goals on the forefront of your mind. For those who prefer financial saving with an intuitive touch, Dobot will be ideal.
If you like setting your own rules and being fully in-charge, Qapital will be your automated savings app of choice. The app lets you choose how much and how often it will stash away your cash towards your defined goals. You can set up traditional automated savings plans by arranging for daily, weekly, or monthly transfers, or you can set aside your spare change with the roundup rule on purchases.
If you’re looking to have more fun with your savings, Qapital allows you to set up transfers based on your daily app activity. You can set it up so that you save on every rainy day that shows up in your weather app, or each time you hit your step goal in your fitness tracker. Why not try paying yourself for each Instagram selfie, or put your hashtags to work by setting up an automatic transfer for every tweet.
With Qapital, you can turn the “if I had a dime for every time…” phrase into a literal proclamation. When you’re ready to cash out your savings, simply withdraw from your Goals and you’ll see your money in your account within a few days.
4. Stash Invest
This financial app takes automated savings to a whole other level. Rather than taking your extra dollars and letting them sit in an interest-free app account, Stash Invest makes your cash work for you. Using the app’s Auto-Stash feature, you can set up automatic withdrawals from your chequing account and choose what you’d like to invest them into from a list of options.
If you’re new to investing, Stash Invest will provide you with some recommendations and guidance to make you feel good about your financial choices. It’s like having an on-call investment advisor that lives in your pocket. And, unlike most investments, you don’t need a whole lot of principal to get you started, all you need is a fresh $5 bill.
You can try out Stash Invest free for three months, and then you’ll be charged a subscription fee or a percentage for those with higher account balances.
5. Money Clouds
If you’re a social butterfly and you find yourself most motivated with a group of friends cheering you on, then Money Clouds might be the right fit for you.
The app lets you set up your savings goals, detailing each of the things that you’re saving for. You can set the visibility on each goal to private, or choose to share it publicly, with your connections, or with specific people. For each goal, you can set up automatic deposits and, when the money is added, it will show up in a progress bar so you can easily visualize how close you are to meeting your target.
While money and savings are usually private topics, sharing your goals and progress with select friends, parents, or your significant other can help keep you accountable. Are you and your spouse saving up to go on a vacation? This free app makes it easy for you to see how each other is doing and allows you to cheer one another on to meet your goal.
Similarly to Stash Invest, the Robinhood app is all about investments, rather than simple savings. Taking investment apps one step further though, Robinhood let’s you trade stock with no fees. This sleek app allows you to schedule automated deposits — weekly, bi-monthly, monthly, or quarterly — that will sit in your Robinhood account until you’re ready to trade.
You can search for your favorite company and buy its shares with just one click. Alternatively, Robinhood makes selling just as easy if you’re the non-committal type.
Maybe you find that the various fees and confusing fine print of banks are getting out of hand and you’re looking to get back to the basics. If that’s the case, the Simple app might be a heck of a lot more appealing.
Rather than depositing money into a savings account separate from your bank, Simple aims to replace your bank. You can start by opening up a Simple checking account, complete with a Visa debit card, and then set up your savings goals.
The app’s Safe-to-Spend feature considers your budget, scheduled transactions, and upcoming bills, then transfers a portion of what’s left over to your goals accounts. Simple is all about balance so you can be sure that, even after your savings, you still have enough leftover to splurge on a fancy latte.
If you’re looking into building an investment portfolio but want to start small, Acorns might just be the app for you.
While you can absolutely set up recurring deposits to grow your investments, most users find the Round-Ups feature most valuable. With every purchase you make, Acorns rounds it up to the nearest dollar and withdraws the collective amount from your account daily.
From there, you can choose to invest your savings into a diversified, smart portfolio based on your desired level of risk. With five options to choose from, you can play it safe with a conservative portfolio or choose to go all in and select an aggressive one.
If you’re a student, you should definitely jump on Acorns as it’s free with a .edu email address. For the rest of us, the app costs just $1 per month if you carry an account balance less than $5,000.
We all want financial planners, but unfortunately they can be difficult to get in touch with and get charge ridiculous rates for a simple hour of advice.
Enter Albert, the app that is changing up the financial advising game. The app gives you a financial advisor and strategist at your fingertips.
Connect your multiple bank and financial accounts, and let Albert analyze your current stock and tell you what moves you should make to ensure financial success.
With suggestions like “Get renter’s insurance” or “Pay off your credit card”, Albert will create advice based on your unique financial situation, keeping in mind what makes sense for you as an individual.
The best part? Albert lets you take action right from the app. With all of your accounts connected, it’s easy to act on the app’s advice immediately and effectively.
10. Long Game
Everyone loves playing the lottery, and Long Game makes that easy by taking losing out of the equation.
It’s easy to use: download the app, make your first deposit of a few dollars, and immediately earn coins that you can use to play a variety of different games. These games act as your “lottery”, you’ll get multiple chances to win money. The more you save, the more chances you get to play.
So, I pay to play these games, you ask? Well, not really. While it’s true that the more you deposit in your Long Game account, the more chances you have to play and win, the money in your account is never affected.
Meaning if you deposit $50 and play games, that initial $50 stays in your account. This means that you can withdraw your money at any time — taking the risk out entirely — and any additional money you earn through playing the games is a bonus!
11. Tip Yourself
If you love social networks and partnered activities, you are going to love Tip Yourself. This app makes saving so incredibly easy and what’s more, motivates you to continue.
So how does it work? Just as it sounds: you tip yourself!
Whenever you want, you transfer a small amount of money ($2, $5, etc) to your secured Tip Jar in the app. The idea is that over time, those small amounts add up, and while they won’t create a big loss in your monthly budget, they will allow you to slowly save.
But why use Tip Yourself? Why not just do this yourself, without the app? Tip Yourself makes saving social by allowing you to connect with friends and fellow “tippers” to share each time you tip yourself.
You are also encouraged to add a reason to every tip — i.e. tipping yourself $2 every time you workout, or tipping $5 whenever you stay under your grocery budget for the week. In fact, the reasoning for your tip is more important than the actual tip, according to the app’s website.
Positive reinforcement only fuels your desire to save, and makes saving a game that you simply can’t lose.
Originally published at getlenny.com on December 15, 2016.