The fintech (financial technology) space has made saving money easier with a multitude of apps.
They can help you do general things like saving, budgeting, and managing your money as well as more specific things like finding grocery coupons, online shopping discounts, and discounts on services and events in your local area. Here is a rundown of some of the leading apps.
There are saving apps that can help you save money without feeling too much of a pinch in your wallet. Some of these also offer investment services:
- Acorns: Acorns rounds up purchases to the nearest $1 made by cards that you grant access to, such as some or all debit and credit cards, and invests the rounded-up balance (in $5 increments). After you answer some questions about goals and feelings about risk, Acorns will recommend a portfolio choice (although you can select any), such as Conservative through Aggressive ETF portfolios. Through their Found Money solution, select vendors (such as Apple, Blue Apron, Macy’s and WalMart) will add a percentage of your purchase into your account on top of your roundup.
- Buxfer: Buxfer seeks to enable users to make better decisions on where they spend their money. Not believing in a one-size-fits-all solution, it allows people to tailor the product to best fit their needs while providing personalized advice on ways to save.
- Digit: Digit connects to your bank account in order to analyze your inflows and outflows of money. From there, it moves money from your checking to your Digit savings account which, as an e-savings account, normally offers higher interest rates. Although it’s free for the first 100 days, they charge $2.99 per month afterward.
- Icebox (from finder.com): Icebox prevents impulse buying by replacing your “Buy Now” button with one to put it “on ice” so that the item can only be purchased after a certain amount of time. Think about it like a waiting period before you get that tattoo on spring break.
- Qoins: Qoins is similar to Acorns in that it rounds up purchases made on debit and credit cards to the nearest dollar, but instead of investing the money, it pays down the existing debt. By automating the process, including sending out payments, they seek to provide a painless process to help people gain financial freedom. They charge $1.99 per month, which is deducted from the total “roundups,” and the service can be paused or canceled at any time.
- Stash: Stash provides multiple offerings such as investment and banking services, but for savings, they offer a product called “Smart-Save.” It will analyze your average expenditures over the last six months and determine your projected bills. What is left is spare cash, which it will place in a personal Stash account to earn interest, or you can opt to invest the capital in the markets. Smart-Save is free for all users; however, investment accounts are charged $1 per month for balances under $5,000 and 0.25% for accounts greater than $5,000.
- TrueBill: Do you have recurring costs for services that you just don’t use? Are there refunds out there that you don’t know about? Well, let TrueBill do the legwork to save you some cash and possibly get you money back on the things that you didn’t even know you were paying for. Recurring charges are tricky things. TrueBill can help.
- Trim: Trim provides a hassle-free way to find out if you’re paying too much on your recurring expenses. All you have to do is connect your debit and credit card accounts, and Trim will analyze where you may be able to save more money. This includes canceling subscriptions, negotiating utility bills, or suggesting cheaper alternatives. The basic service, which includes identifying savings and, in some cases, canceling subscriptions, is free. However, for more advanced bill negotiation and their Amazon Price Patrol tool, they will charge you a 25% success fee on what you save.
- Long Game. After you open your FDIC-insured account, Long Game gives you rewards as you hit your goals. By saving more, you also get more chances to play the in-app games with prizes up to $1M or payments in popular cryptocurrencies.
- WinWin. An app that lets you play for prizes every time you add $1 to your savings. Players can win up to $100 for each game played.
Some apps help you with money management, including spending and budgeting. Think of these like your e-financial advisor. However, if you’re looking to invest, you can also consider robo-advisors:
- Cinch: Cinch will evaluate and monitor your spending habits, debt levels, banking patterns, and insurance needs. As a fiduciary, they are required to act in your best interest, as opposed to some others that are commission-based. The service provides a 90-day free trial, after which fees may be up to $4.99/month.
- Mint: Mint is one of the original money management platforms (Eric: long-since owned by Intuit and used by me for about a decade). By providing your information (credit cards, mortgage, car loan, bank accounts, retirement/brokerage accounts, etc.), you can see where your money is going. You can set budgets to create notices when you’re approaching your threshold, get bill due dates, check your credit score, and see your account balances. Bonus: It imports into services like TurboTax to help complete your taxes quickly.
- Personal Capital: This company took finance by storm by offering technology with a high-touch, human approach. Paying 0.89% of money invested (up to $1 million) is relatively inexpensive compared to the fees charged by professional money managers, who may not always have your best interests at the top of their list (see discussion of the fiduciary standard under “General Thoughts“) . . . and this is all after fund and other operating expenses. Compound the effect of that cost difference over 45 years, and you’ll be astounded.
- Tiller: Are you financially savvy but just don’t want to aggregate multiple accounts into one consolidated Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet? Well, Tiller’s got you covered. This solution is more for the “I want to do it my way” vs. the “I just want you to do it.” Use your models with Tiller.
- MoneyLion: It will literally pay you to save. It tracks your finances and helps build healthy habits. It also hooks you up with low-cost loans and better savings accounts. Did I mention that it’s paying you to save!
- Clarity Money: Clarity Money takes a different approach by helping to determine where you may be losing money. This could be by identifying high-fee accounts, lowering bills, and finding you better rates for the services that you’re already using.
- LearnVest: LearnVest helps create personalized financial plans. It will analyze your financial situation, figure out the financial goals that you have, and give you the steps to pursue them. This is all done with a personal financial planner. They are a bit pricier than the rest with a $299 setup fee and $19 per month for ongoing support in helping to achieve your goals, but in the long run, this could be far cheaper than personal financial mistakes.
- YNAB: This stands for “You Need a Budget.” They have four steps (and the technology to help you) to better save your cash: be intentional about where the money should be going; save for larger expenses down the road; be flexible to change your budget; and spend only money that you earned long ago. Essentially, this helps create a mindset to move people away from a paycheck-to-paycheck mentality.
- CountAbout: Similar to Mint, CountAbout helps you keep track of your finances. It has the advantage that if you need to import from Quicken or Mint, it can easily do so. It touts itself as an alternative to Mint without ads, but it charges a fee, which Mint does not.
- Nav.it. It’s a women-centric app that helps manage your money and helps to achieve your ambitions. It helps you track and manage your finances with specific goals in mind.
Grocery coupons and cash back
For grocery coupons (digital and printable), check out:
- TheKrazyCouponLady: This site is obsessed with uncovering coupons and deals at grocery stores as well as leading retailers.
- Coupons.com: This one offers printable coupons and coupon codes at grocery stores and leading retail stores. It’s a bit more trouble, but the savings pile up.
- Checkout 51: This is much easier, as by just uploading a photo of your receipt through the app as well as selecting offers, you can earn cash back on groceries.
- Ibotta: Also simple…you can earn cash back wherever you shop by scanning your receipt with the app.
Online shopping coupons, cash back, rebates, price monitoring, and refunds
For online shopping, there are a lot of sites and apps that provide coupons, coupon codes, cash back, rebates, price monitoring, or refunds:
- Ebates: By shopping online (or in-store at some retailers), you can receive a cash back rebate. They also have a Chrome app to let you know how much you can receive.
- Paribus: This tracks e-commerce purchases via email and looks for price drops, and subsequently contacts the retailer to request a refund for the customer.
- Earny: Similar to Paribus, Earny searches for price drops on your purchases based on receipts in your email. If the app notices potential savings, it seeks a refund on your behalf.
- Dosh: It’s sort of like an ongoing credit-card promotion—it gives you cash back on purchases when you link your credit card and order through the app.
- Drop: Earn points on purchases that you make with your linked card. Redeem points for gift cards.
- BeFrugal: Offers cash back on purchases from thousands of merchants when you make the purchase through the app.
- Spent: Pay with your linked credit card and earn cash back at participating partners.
- RetailMeNot: This is an online coupon clipper: it offers promotions, deals, and discount codes at many leading retailers.
- Honey: (Eric: Another personal favorite, this is constantly running on my machine.) You can go to the site if you want to search their price comparisons manually, but with the Chrome extension installed, their recommended alternative offerings come to you. When you’re making a purchase, the extension will scan all available coupon codes to find you the best one (if one exists) and then applies the coupon it found at checkout.
- Jewel: Get cash back from online shopping at many designer and high-end brands of clothing and lifestyle products.
- CamelCamelCamel: This allows you to watch for price drops on specific products at Amazon. Very specific, but still, especially if you have Prime, very useful.
- Wikibuy: Billing itself as “Waze for shopping,” the solution utilizes crowdsourcing to find deals and working coupons for things you are looking to purchase. When any of the other 1.5 million users make a purchase, the purchase price and any coupons used are uploaded in real time to the system. If you are looking at a similar product, and have the browser extension installed, Wikibuy will alert you if it knows of a better deal.
- You can always do a Google search for the retailer’s name and the word “coupon” or “promotion” or “promo code” or any similar keyword. You may find lots of sites that offer coupon codes for the item you are about to buy. Just make sure the offers are current.
Local discounts and deals
For local discounts and deals for restaurants, spas, events, products, and services:
- Groupon: One of the originals in connecting you to deals from local merchants.
- LivingSocial: Also offers deals on things to do in your city, LivingSocial is now owned by Groupon.
- Cinch Wallet: Save money while doing good: download the Cinch Wallet app and select a business offering a discount. You choose a local charity, and Cinch Wallet will donate to them for every purchase.
- Gilt City: Sometimes you need a splurge. Discounts on everything from high-end spa treatments to restaurants can be found on this site.