Whether you’ve blown all your cash ordering Uber Eats for virtually every meal, or you made one too many late-night Amazon purchases during quarantine, we all could use a little help saving money this upcoming year.
While the advice to just “save money” sounds simple enough, finding extra money to store away for the future is easier said than done. Even though the average American household savings rate increased to 30% this April 2020, only 9% of Americans believe their emergency fund would last them 7-12 months. About 8% said it would last them over a month.
Pandemic aside, everyone could benefit from saving more money — and using one of these highly-rated budgeting apps might make it a little easier to do. The Penny Hoarder recently reviewed the different personal finance apps available and named the seven listed below as the best ones of 2020.
Deciding exactly how much to save each month can be tough if you’re a gig economy worker or don’t have a consistent monthly spending budget; enter Digit.
Once connected to your bank account, you simply set up your savings goal, and then Digit uses a smart algorithm to analyze your spending habits and income. It uses that information to determine the amount you can save — and then does the saving for you by automatically putting away small amounts of money into its account (which is insured by the FDIC and has no overdraft fees). You’ll also get daily notifications, and you can pause your savings whenever you want.
The app is available on Apple iOS and Android. It’s free to download and use for the first 30 days. After that, it’s $5 a month.
Have you always wanted to try investing but have no idea where to start? Allow us to introduce you to Acorns.
Acorns is a micro-investing app that rounds up every transaction from your linked bank account and deposits the total—which is essentially your spare change—into its account. From there, it does all of the investing for you. The app also allows you to earn cash back by partnering with other companies like Blue Apron or Uber.
Your Acorns account is protected and insured for up to $500,000, and you can increase your investment amount at any time. It’s available on both Apple iOs and Android. While it’s free to download, it costs $1 a month for balances that remain under $1 million.
If the idea of budgeting and putting away money sounds boring, then Qapital might be the perfect personal finance tool for you.
It essentially turns saving money into a game. After you link up your accounts, you set up your savings goals. Then, under each goal you have, you get to set up “rules” for how you save. You can set up rules like save $5 every time you reach your step goal or save $1 every time you make a purchase at Starbucks. With fun rules and customization options, Qapital makes budgeting a goal-setting game. There are also banking and investment services available through the app.
The app is available on iOs and Android. It’s free to download, but after your 30-day trial, it cost $3 a month to use.
If passive investing sounds like a dream come true, you need to check out the micro-investing app Stash.
Like Acorns, you can choose to link your bank accounts and invest the “spare change” of all of your transactions. You also have the option to withdraw a set amount of cash on a schedule or use the app’s Smart-Stash feature. This tool will analyze your bank account and determine how much you can afford to invest from there.
Stash will invest your money into over 150 EFTs and individual stocks. It only costs $1 a month for accounts with balances under $5,000. After that, it’s 0.25% year. Stash is available on both Apple iOs and Android.
Maybe you’re already ahead of the game, and you’re contributing every month to a savings account with your local bank. That’s great — but it won’t earn you any additional cash. Varo, on the other hand, can.
Varo is a mobile banking app that will pay you 19 times (or 2.80% APY) the amount of money in your savings account. To put that in perspective, average savings accounts only pay about .06% APY, according to the FDIC. To get that high-interest rate VARO offers, you have to meet a few requirements during a qualifying period. It’s also important to note that the APY rate can change.
In addition to their high-interest rates, there are also no monthly fees to worry about. It’s also easy to use and free to download and use. However, it’s only available on desktop or Apple iOS.
Twine is a savings app designed with couples in mind. Instead of individual accounts and separate budgets, this app allows two people to set savings goals together and contribute to them from their separate accounts.
After you each create an account on Twine and link your individual bank accounts, you’ll decide and set a mutual goal, like saving up for a wedding or a long vacation. Then you’ll select your monthly deposit and watch your money build. You can either save through the free joint account (which has a 1.05% variable interest rate), or you can invest and earn interest. The second option costs 25 cents per $500.
The app is available on Apple iOs, Android, and your desktop. It’s free to download and use for savings but costs money if you decide to invest.
Chime is a mobile bank that includes some of the innovative features of the apps listed above.
Instead of having to deposit money from your checking account to your savings manually, Chime will do it for you. The bank will round up your purchases and dump the spare change into your savings automatically. In addition to this feature, you can also schedule automatic transfers between your accounts.
This app is free to use and is available on both Apple iOS and Android.
Having a personal finance tool that takes all the guesswork and thinking out of saving money could just be the best way to do so.