When it comes to saving extra money and budgeting, there are a few apps that I’ve come to rely on to help me save more money for investing and wealth creation. I personally use all of them and have seen that they really work. When looking for extra money and building wealth, every extra bit helps.
Below are six apps to help you save money and spend less. Check them out for yourself!
SAVING & INVESTING APPS
Acorns rounds up your debit or credit card purchases to the nearest dollar (they call these round-ups) and invests the change into the stock market. This can help you save more every month on top of what you are already saving. You can get started with just $5, and Acorns invests your money in Vanguard mutual funds. In one year, I went from $5 to $1,000 in my Acorns account.
The Acorns app offers two account types, Lite and Personal. With a Lite account, you can invest your spare change, earn bonus money from shopping with Acorn partners and get access to articles from financial experts.
On the other hand, a Personal all-in-one account allows you to invest, spend now and save for retirement (“Acorns Later”). The investment account is still primarily used for investing your round-ups; the retirement account is an easy way to save for your future. In your Later account, you can earn tax advantages and set specific goals for retirement savings. Lastly, a Personal account includes a checking account without fees; ATM fees are also reimbursed. You can earn more cash for this account when you shop with Acorns’ partners and set up automatic transfers to your investment and retirement accounts to boost your total savings.
Pros: Acorns saves your change from purchases and gives you money back when you shop with Acorns’ partners. Withdrawing your money is simple and can be done in a few clicks. With Acorns, you learn as you earn thanks to their weekly financial articles.
Cons: You cannot pick your investment funds and the $1-a-month account fee is expensive for low balances.
Cost: Free to download, but you need at least $5 to start investing. Acorns charges $1 a month to manage your money in a Lite account. However, it’s $3 a month if you have their Personal all-in-one account.
With just $5, Stash helps you save money and invest in the stock market. After you set-up your account, you can set-up automatic transfers to consistently contribute to your fund. Deposits can also be as little as $5 per week. Just like Acorns, Stash also automatically invests your change in your portfolio. One difference is Stash allows you to customize your investments. You can choose from different groups of companies, such as clean energy, cybersecurity, or American military suppliers, giving you easy customization.
Stash also has several account options. Users can sign up for a Beginner, Growth or Stash+ account. With a Beginner account, you can set up an investment account, get access to financial articles and open a bank account that pays you two days before payday. The Growth account includes everything from a Beginner account plus tax benefits and access to retirement accounts. Lastly, the Stash+ account has every previous feature plus allows you to invest on a child’s behalf for up to two children. Stash+ account holders also get a monthly market analysis report.
Pros: Just $5 gets you into the stock market. Stash allows you to pick your investment portfolio. Funds can be based on your personal interest. Stash users get financial literacy articles so they can learn while they earn.
Cons: If you have a small portfolio, the $1 fee is expensive for small balances and could consume your investment growth. There is no auto round-up feature for purchases.
Cost: Free to download, but you need at least $5 to start investing. Stash charges $1 a month for a Beginner account, $3 a month for a Growth account, and $9 a month for a Stash+ account.
MONEY SAVING SHOPPING APPS
Ibotta gives cash back on everyday purchases. I use this cash as spending money on our family vacations. Ibotta gives you money back on purchases made at grocery stores, restaurants, and online or in-store retailers. Rebates range from 25 cents to a few dollars and add up over time. To save the most money, I combine cash back offers with coupons. To maximize your savings, check offers before you go shopping and plan shopping lists accordingly. Your cashback is immediately deposited into your Ibotta account. When you are ready to cash out, you can redeem gift cards or cash via a Venmo or Paypal account. I have gotten cash back on everything from big screen TVs at Best Buy to milk, bread and eggs at the supermarket. So far, I have earned $450.
Ibotta recently added grocery pick up and delivery to their list of offers. So now you can also select your food and have it delivered all in one app. In addition, if you invite your friends to use Ibotta, too, you earn referral cash. Right now they are offering $100 to users who refer 10 friends. You get paid once a referral claims their first rebate.
Pros: You get cash back on everyday purchases. The app reads your receipt and matches rebates based on the items purchased. And you can earn cash for referring friends.
Cons: You must add rebates to your list before you can redeem them. Ibotta only gives cash back based on rebates on your list. If you make a purchase that qualifies for another rebate that is not on your list the app does not tell you. Rebates expire, so you should redeem them fast.
Rakuten is another app where you can shop and earn cash back. They also look for deals and discount codes when you shop online so you can save money before you check out. Rakuten has partnerships with hundreds of retailers, including subscription services.
When I shop on my phone or online, I normally start at the Rakuten website and then navigate to the company where I plan to purchase a few items. But even if I forget, the Chrome plugin reminds me to activate my cashback offer when I visit a partner’s website so I never miss a rebate opportunity.
The referral program for Rakuten is higher than most companies. For each friend that signs up, you get $25 . That’s what I call a win-win.
Pros: You can earn cashback on purchases you were going to make anyway. When you redeem your cash back for gift cards you get more money to spend at a store you choose. Or, you can simply take the cash.
Cons: You have to remember to start shopping from the Rakuten site, in the app, or have the plugin on your browser so you don’t miss cash back deals. The cash back checks are only sent once a quarter, so you have limited access to your cash.
The Target app is my personal favorite because it saves you even more at Target, which sells everything. The money you save with the Target app can be combined with the 5% discount offered to Red Card users and other coupons. Before you shop at Target, search the app for items on your shopping list. Target offers exclusive discounts to app users.The discount is applied to your purchase at check out when the cashier scans your barcode.
If you upload your Target Red Card to your wallet in the app, you can use it to pay for your purchases in Target stores or online. Say hello to contactless shopping! The cashier simply scans your barcode, gives you the receipt and off you go. The app can be used to pay for purchases at self-checkout kiosks, too.
Pros: Target app users get exclusive discounts on items on their shopping list.
Cons: You have to search the app for yourself to get exclusive daily discounts that are not marked on the shelves.
ONLINE SHOPPING MONEY SAVING APPS
Honey is another cash back app that gives coupons and discounts for online purchases. You can download the extension on your computer and it will automatically alert you about savings and discount offers available on your favorite shopping sites.
With Honey, you don’t have to do anything, just shop like you normally do. At the time of check out, Honey will tell you what is the best discount code to apply to your purchase. Honey works with over 40,000 stores, including Target, Macy’s, Lowes and more. You can book trips and order food, too.
With each purchase, you earn Honey Gold, which is a part of Honey’s reward program. With each purchase, a percentage of what you spent is given back to you in Gold. You can redeem Honey Gold for gift cards to your favorite stores. When you refer friends to Honey, you earn Honey Gold, too.
Pros: Honey takes the pain out of searching for discount codes when you make online purchases.
Cons: You have to install the extension on your computer so you don’t miss a deal.
SEE THE SAVINGS FOR YOURSELF
Start trying some of these apps for yourself and see how much you can save. I like to challenge myself to save the Ibotta cash back so we can have the most to spend on our vacations. Acorns is used as a second emergency fund for when ‘Life Happens,’ and with Stash, I just set up automatic contributions and watch the account grow. Anytime you step into Target you should always open the Target app to see what savings they are offering and pay with the Red Card to save 5% more.
These apps have helped me save and put more money towards my goals. Every cent counts and is helping me reach my financial goals faster.
Do you have a savings app you use and love? Leave us a comment and tell us about it.
Acquania Escarne is the creator of The Purpose of Money, a community of women building generational wealth for their families one dollar at a time. As an entrepreneur, real estate investor, and licensed insurance agent, Acquania has always been passionate about financial literacy. On her website, Acquania blogs about ways to help you improve your money habits, create wealth, and invest in real estate. Follow Acquania on social media for daily tips.