Everyone is busy these days, and it can be surprisingly easy to procrastinate, especially when it comes to things like managing your money.
With significant financial pressures facing young Americans — from crushing student loans to high costs of living — budgeting can sometimes feel like the last bullet point on the to-do list. But, even though the concept of budgeting sometimes gets a bad rap, people can overcomplicate things by not taking advantage of tools that can simplify the process.
While savings apps are nothing new, there are many of us who aren’t taking full advantage of how they can help to automate, and relieve some of the pressure of, saving. Today, there are countless savings apps out there that take most (if not all) of the stress, guesswork, and time out of managing your finances. With quickly advancing innovations, chances are that there is a perfect financial app out there for you — no matter what your personal finance situation looks like.
Ahead, we take a look at some of the most innovative apps that can help you further your financial goals without having to do much more than just open up your phone.
Cost: Free for 30 days, then $3-12 per month depending on membership model.
How it works: Focused on passive saving, Qapital ‘forces’ you to save money. With this app, you are able to set goals for specific things you might be saving for in the future, such as a vacation or a new car. You are also able to set up specific ‘rules’ that will trigger transfers to your savings account, such as rounding up designated transactions or rewarding yourself if you spend less than your budget in a specific category. Best of all, the money you save is held in an FDIC-insured checking or savings account so you can rest assured it is safe.
What users are saying: “I love that you can set up your goals with a visual picture (similar to a vision board), it really makes you want to save towards your goals more every time you open the app. I also love all the options for how you want to save and how much. I have complete control over this which was very important to me because I know how important it is to save (no matter how little) when you can, especially when your finances fluctuate as much as mine do.”
How it works: Mint is a money management and financial tracking app that keeps all of your spending habits transparent so you can get ahead of your financial goals. Mint offers a variety of services, including 'Mintsights,' which provide money-saving insights based on your personal financial situation, free credit score monitoring, and smart budgeting and savings tips created based on your spending. Mint also sends you weekly summaries to breakdown your weekly financial activities, and alerts you about important things like pending bills and ways to save so that you're always on top of your finances as long as you have access to your phone.
What users are saying: "I love Mint to help me track my spending. This is way better for me than banking tools because Mint lets me pull in several accounts and credit cards and see everything all together."
Cost: Saving is free, investing costs $3 per year for every $500 invested.
How it works: Saving on your own can be complicated enough, and when it comes to navigating a savings goal with a significant other, it can be doubly complex. Twine allows you to set custom goals based on you and your partner's needs, and then save together as a team. Twine is set up to allow you both to contribute to a shared financial goal and track your progress. And when it comes to how you want to approach your goals, you're able to invest in a portfolio as well as save cash. Either way, you’re covered: Cash is protected in FDIC accounts and investments are protected by the SIPC.
What users are saying: “Before downloading this app I was spending way too much every week and couldn’t keep $500 in my bank account. Since downloading it back in January 2018 I’ve saved over $12,000 and made plans and goals for the future. The money is taken out weekly for me, and I don’t even notice it.”
Cost: Free for 34 days, then $6.99.
How it works: If you’ve had trouble setting up a budget in the past, You Need A Budget (YNAB) might be the perfect app for you. YNAB’s goal is to help you give every dollar a specific job. By assigning all of your money to specific financial ‘buckets’ — from debt repayment, to rent, to utilities, to eating out at restaurants — YNAB sets you up for success by teaching you to better understand where your money is actually going.
What users are saying: “My wife and I started using YNAB in August of 2018 because we wanted a way to track our everyday spending without having to manually enter every transaction. This app has taken a lot of stress out of managing finances and is pretty flexible with several budgeting techniques you may want to use.”
Cost: Free for 30 days, then $2.99 per month.
How it works: If you’ve ever wanted to save money (or pay off debt) without thinking about it, then Digit might be the app for you. Digit uses sophisticated algorithms that learn your spending habits and save accordingly, so you don't have to change a thing. With Digit, you’re able to set savings goals (for your best friend’s wedding or your credit card debt), set a date, and let Digit do the rest. Even if you don’t set a specific goal, Digit will start putting money away into your “Rainy Day” account, so you can basically count on building an emergency savings account without giving it a thought. Best of all, until you transfer it to your bank account, your money is held in an FDIC account.
What users are saying: “I love this app, it’s saved me over $5,000 without me even having to break the bank. Yes, they have a monthly fee, but you save a lot more and every 90 days they give you 1% of what you saved. So it’s almost like you’re making your fee back.”
Cost: $1.99 per month.
How it works: With more than two-in-five (42%) millennials reporting that they, or someone in their household, has student loan debt, finding practical and effective ways to tackle these financial hurdles is more important than ever. And Qoins is making it incredibly easy for anyone to begin to pay down debt without feeling overwhelmed. Similar to Qapital, Qoins rounds up your transactions — except instead of saving it, it sends your spare change towards your debt. Depending on the amount of debt you have, Qoins may not be able to solve all of your financial problems, but it's a great tool to have in your arsenal to help you pay debt down faster.
What users are saying: “Alright, so I don’t write reviews, ever. So for me to be doing this is huge. But I think everyone should have this app if they have credit cards or a loan or something along those lines.”