What’s better, to save $100 or to make $100?
The hands down winner is to save $100. Why? Because if you make $100, you have to pay Uncle Sam a big chunk of it.
However, reducing your expenses by a Benji — as my daughter likes to call the C-Note — is more akin to getting a $130 raise.
This realization led me to write about painless ways to save money several years ago. Well, the Dough Roller team has put our heads together and compiled a list of 72 free savings tools that you can use to help save even more dough.
Note: Some of these tools are apps, and some are websites. Many offer services on both platforms!
Table of Contents:
Budgeting Your Money
- Personal Capital: My favorite money management tool, Personal Capital lets you track everything from your monthly budget to your retirement portfolio. It’s extremely easy to use and offers investment advice for those who choose to take advantage of the service. Check out our full review here.
- Buxfer: Similar to other online budget tools that sync with your bank account, Buxfer has the added advantages of running financial projections for savings goals and of letting you track IOUs with friends. The basic account is free, but you can add additional budgets and bank accounts for just $3.99 per month.
- SmartyPig: SmartyPig is something like a piggy bank you keep in the cloud. It lets you set savings goals for specific things and gives you a high-interest savings account to do it in. You can set up multiple savings goals in a single account.
- Mint.com: Mint is a great, free way to set up and track a monthly budget, and it even syncs up with your bank and credit card accounts to track transactions automatically. See where you’re at in your budget categories at a glance, with color-coded bar graphs. You can use Mint to track financial goals and savings, too. I’ve used Mint for years, and you can check out my review of the service for more details.
- Wally: This free app lets you get a visual glimpse of your money, set goals, and more. It also tells you how much of your budget is left to cover, which is helpful if you’re struggling with cash flow.
- GnuCash: This Linux-based personal and business accounting app allows you to track many different accounts and makes financial calculations for you. It also comes as an Android app.
- BudgetSimple: This budgeting app was made specifically for people who are in debt. With the free account, you can’t connect to your bank accounts. This could be a good thing if you want to enter all your transactions manually, though!
- Simple: This is actually a bank account and budgeting tool in one. It gives you a Safe to Spend amount based on your savings goals and upcoming expenses.
Related: 5 Unique Alternatives to Savings Accounts to Save Money Now
Checking Your Credit
- Credit Karma: Stay on top of your credit score with this free service for regularly checking your credit score. The site will also help you figure out what you can best do to improve your overall credit score. Credit Karma has been a favorite of mine for a long time, and you can check out my review of the service here.
- Discover Credit Scorecard: You don’t have to be a Discover customer to check your credit score for free. With their scorecard, you can get an estimated Experian score. Plus, it’ll tell you what you can do to increase your score.
- Credit Sesame: This is another service that offers a free copy of your credit score and options for how to improve it.
- Quizzle: Once again, you can use this site to get your free credit score. This one is provided by VantageScore. Since it’s not based on the same algorithm as FICO’s, it may give you a different perspective on your score.
Traveling on a Shoestring Budget
- Last Minute: Waiting until the eleventh hour to book a flight or hotel can actually be a good thing. With this helpful website, consumers are let in on amazing last-minute deals.
- Hotwire: Hotwire does have an app, but the website is easier to use. It lets you find great deals on travel-related everything, including activities, cruises, and vacation packages.
- Travelocity: Here’s one more site that’s a great way to find deals on travel. But you can also use the app to search for flights, hotels, and more by voice.
- Wegolo: This site compares the fares and deals from low-cost airlines around the world, but especially in Europe.
- Yapta: One advantage of Yapta over other, similar travel cost comparison websites is that it lets you check for airline refunds on tickets you’ve already bought.
- Kayak: This is another price comparison site that lets you check for flights and more. It also lets you explore different routes for getting places, so you can see which ones are cheapest.
- Hopper: This app does what Bing’s Farecast used to do–helps you figure out when is the cheapest time to purchase plane tickets for your upcoming travel.
- Airfarewatchdog: Set up travel alerts on this site so you can buy your tickets when they’re at their absolute cheapest.
- Farehack: This is a really simple site to use. Im fact, it doesn’t actually sell you tickets. It just tells you which week will be best to buy tickets for your upcoming trip. You can even set an email reminder so you don’t forget to buy them at the right time.
- Happy Hours: Happy Hours isn’t just for cocktails anymore! This free app helps you find a happy hour near you. It can let you in on great discounts for drinks, desserts, or appetizers.
- Hotel Tonight: Looking for a hotel room at the last minute? Use this site to find same-day discounts of up to 70% off at luxury hotels needing to fill up their rooms.
- Orbitz: This helpful app lets you not only find great travel deals, but also check out your current travel plans, find nearby hotels, and even view your flight status.
- HotelsCombined: This site pulls in the best hotel deals from a bunch of other travel sites, so you can compare them in one place.
- Trivago: This is a hotel finder tool with a minimalist design. It lets you sort hotels by stars, rating, miles from a location, price, and amenities. Plus, it’ll show you where to book online to get the best rate.
- Momondo: This is yet another site for getting deals on hotels, rental cars, and flights. It offers a Best Price Guarantee that will give you a rebate if you find the exact same reservation cheaper.
- BestParking: One of the worst parts about traveling in an unfamiliar city is finding parking. Best Parking is a website and app that helps you find the cheapest parking wherever you are. It also gives you the cheapest parking options for airports near you.
Buying Stuff Cheaper
- Wise Bread’s Daily Deals: My friends at Wise Bread track helpful deals from around the web with their daily compilation of deals.
- Dealnews: This website features Black Friday style deals from all sorts of online retailers, but features the best deals on electronics of all sorts.
- Bargainist: One of the best categories on this site is “Freebies,” which lets you get absolutely free and free-after-rebate items. This site offers deals on all sorts of products, especially from high-end name brands.
- The Krazy Coupon Lady: A fun site started by two extreme couponers, which offers daily deals and couponing tips.
- FreeShipping: If shipping costs keep you from shopping online as much as you’d like, use this site to find no-minimum free shipping and free return shipping coupons for online retailers. The first thirty days are free.
- SlickDeals: Check out deals in a variety of categories, including drugstore deals, local deals, freebies, and computer deals.
- Shop It to Me: Upgrade your wardrobe for less with this site, which lets you enter your clothing sizes and favorite brands and then sends you email alerts when your brand and size go on sale.
- Techbargains: As you can guess from its name, TechBargains specializes in giving you the best bargains for electronics of all sorts, including electronic toys for kids, computers, and more.
- RetailMeNot: This website features free shipping deals, printable coupons, daily deals, and online coupons to tons of different online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
- Coupon Cabin: Here’s another great site for finding coupons of all sorts, including printable coupons and coupon codes for use online.
- Coupon Mom: If you’re new to couponing, Coupon Mom is a great place to start. The site includes not only a huge database of coupons — some printable and some to be found in your local newspaper ads — but it also offers a great “how to coupon” primer.
- Ebates: This website, which you need to sign up to use, is a little different from most. It actually gives you rebates after shopping online at some of your favorite stores. Just start your online shopping trip at Ebates, and you’ll automatically rack up redeemable rewards points.
- eBay Mobile: If you love finding great bargains on eBay, the eBay Mobile app can let you stay on top of the auctions you’re most interested in – or make some extra cash by selling items.
- Swap.com: Looking for secondhand clothes at low prices? Swap.com is a great go-to. They have clothes for the whole family. You can see how close to new items are, and they often run sales for even steeper discounts.
- AppShopper: If you’re addicted to apps, you’ll probably spend money instead of saving it. With AppShopper, you can search for apps that are on sale, or even track an expensive app you want to see when it goes on sale.
- Saving Star: This app is like coupons, only it gives you in-app savings and cash back on your purchases.
Related: How to Build Saving Habits With These 7 Apps
Snagging Daily Deals
- Groupon: This popular social couponing site is a great way to save money on everything from spa visits to carpet cleaning to vacations. Access deals through the app, on the regular website, or by signing up for daily email alerts.
- LivingSocial: This app, similar to Groupon, is another great way to cash in on local deals, and it also offers plenty of deals on services, local products, and even travel.
- Gilt: This shopping app is a sort of blend of SalesCast and Groupon – time-sensitive sales on high-end, name brand goods.
- Zulily: This daily deals site is made specifically for parents (especially moms) and offers major discounts on brand name toys, clothing, and accessories for kids, as well as clothing and accessories for moms. They more recently started carrying some menswear, as well.
- Totsy: This is a great deal-finding app for parents, since it offers 25%-80% off on popular, name brand toys, books, and kids’ clothing. It also includes household items, clothing, and accessories for mamas.
Clipping Great Coupons
- SnipSnap: This slick iPhone app allows you to better organize both mobile offers and printed, clipped coupons. Take a photo of a coupon you’ve recently clipped, and SnipSnap will automatically convert it into a mobile-optimized coupon that can be redeemed from your phone. You can even search for, and use, coupons that others have uploaded for specific stores.
- Ibotta: This app offers rebates on products you’re already buying. Simply log in, select your preferred store, and see which items are available. Select the ones you’ll purchase (or already purchased that day) to see how much cash you’ll get back. Then, scan the product barcodes and your receipt to rack up the rebates. Earned rewards are transferred to a linked Paypal or Venmo account, so you’ll get cash back easily.
- Grocery IQ: This grocery shopping app by Coupons.com lets you scan barcodes of the items you need to stock up on before you head to the grocery store. It will automatically create a grocery list and tell you if any coupons are available for the items on your list.
- Coupon Sherpa: This free coupon app gives you access to in-store coupons that you can use at checkout, as well as exclusive deals you won’t find anywhere else.
Managing Your Investments
- iTrade Stock Market Simulator: If you’re new to stock market investing, check out this simulator. Start with $100,000 in an imaginary stock portfolio, and use real-time information to see if you’ll make or lose money on your investments.
- Morningstar: This website allows you to check out mutual funds whenever and wherever you want.
- Acorns: This app lets you start investing by tossing your “change” into an investment account. It rounds up all of your daily transactions, and then puts the change into an investment account. Try Acorns
- TD Ameritrade App: This company actually has a few apps. One allows you to look at your accounts, but you can also create custom watch lists for investments or set up alerts. It’s helpful if you’re tracking specific investment options. Visit TD Ameritrade for Details
Resource: Can Anyone Learn to Be a DIY Investor?
Managing Bills and Expenses
- BillTracker: Don’t need a full-on budgeting tool, but just want to track your bills? This app can help. It’ll give you alerts when bills are coming up to make sure you avoid late fees.
- Expensify: You’ll save money by properly tracking your business expenses with a tool like Expensify. It’ll even submit expenses to your employer automatically.
- Prism Money: If you’re constantly paying late fees on overdue bills, this may be the app you need. It will track bill due dates for you. But it will also let you pay your bills right from your phone with a few clicks.
Getting Out of Debt
- Unbury.Me: Paying off your debts in the right order can literally save you thousands. This calculator helps you figure out which way is best for paying off your debts.
- Debt Payoff Planner: Need a more detailed debt payoff plan? This app could help. It can also keep you motivated by showing you your debt payoff date.
Other Money-Saving Apps
- ATM Hunter: Stop paying ATM fees with this app, which lets you find your bank’s closest ATMs with the touch of a button.
- WiFi Finder: Look for Wi-Fi hotspots near you with this easy-to-use app. It can help you save on your data plan, or find a place to hang out with your laptop when you’re on the go.
- Allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner: Your favorite recipe-finding website now has a free app that lets you throw some excitement into your weekly meal planning. Try the spinner to get on-the-go recipes, look for recipes by ingredients already in your pantry, or create a shopping list from saved recipes.
- Mixology: Ready for a drink after a long day at work? Skip the expensive cocktail bar and make your own drink at home instead, with the recipes from this app.
- Zillow: Use Zillow’s website or app to find and compare rentals in your area (or in an area you’re moving to), or to simply find out what the housing market in your area is like. It’s a great app if you’re buying or selling a home, or switching apartments.
- GasBuddy: Driving just a few blocks could save you a load on gas. GasBuddy will tell you where the lowest gas prices are to be found right now.
- Onavo: This app has two functions–reducing your data usage and protecting your personal information. It will save you money by keeping you away from overage data charges. It alerts you when an app is using a lot of data.
Automating Your Savings
- Qapital: This app automates your savings with high-tech IFTTT (if this then that) rules. For instance, you can round up all your purchases to the nearest dollar, and then save the change. Or you can “charge” yourself for indulgences like an expensive cup of coffee. Get that coffee, but let Qapital put some money in your savings account for it.
- Digit: This app is similar to Qapital, but it automates the savings without your input. It looks at your spending habits and account balances to determine when to transfer funds and how much to transfer.
- Chime: This is a bank account based solution. It rolls up your spending to the nearest dollar, and saves money for you. The average user saves at least a few hundred bucks a year! Open a Chime account
We hope that these free tools will be useful to you in saving money each and every day. If you have any other suggestions — or feedback from those you’ve tried — we would love to hear it in the comments below!