Personal Finance

How to Build Saving Habits With These 9 Apps

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You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone. This content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser, unless otherwise noted below.

Popular wisdom once said that a new habit takes 21 days to become a permanent fixture in life. But according to one study,* it’s actually closer to 66 days.

I’m on a quest to find some powerful apps that will allow me to build a positive savings habit. If you have some bad spending habits you want to track down and eliminate, there’s help out there. Since there are apps for everything, you can train yourself for free with savings apps that will encourage you on your road to financial freedom.

Best apps for saving money goal

Let’s look at these 9 apps to encourage and track positive money-saving habits for your life.

Empower - iOS and Google Play

Empower is an app that not only helps you to organize your finances and implement a budget, but also to move money into savings. It may be the perfect app for you if you’ve been unable to create a workable budget, or save money on a regular basis.

The app offers its AutoSave feature that monitors the money coming into and going out of your checking account and will automatically set aside excess cash into savings. Empower deposits are FDIC insured up to $250,000.* (Empower is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by nbkc bank, Member FDIC.)

Empower can also help you get access to cash if you're in a tight spot. You can access your paycheck up to two days early.* This can help you get the money you need if it's close to payday.

Also, you can get interest-free Cash Advances up to $250^ with no late fees and no risk to your credit. Empower will send the advance directly to your account and you can immediately spend the money using your Empower Card. Empower will automatically take repayment from your next direct deposit so you don't have to worry about making a manual payment later.

Likes: The ability of Empower to intelligently accumulate excess money into your AutoSave Account. We also like that the app comes with up to $250 Cash Advance.

Dislikes: Unlike some of the other apps on this list, Empower isn't free. Your first 14 days are free however, there is a subscription fee of $8 per month for access to the full suite of money management features offered on the platform after your first 14 days. But the money you'll save from budgeting may cover that cost several times over.

Visit Empower or Learn more in our full Empower Review

Digit iOS and Android

Digit is a smart way to save without even noticing. If you’re someone who always reaches $0 in their checking account at the end of the month, Digit could be the solution.

You start by setting up your savings goals. By default, Digit sets up a rainy day pot, but you can have as many different pots as you like. Maybe you need to save for your wedding, a new car, or a vacation.

Then Digit’s intelligent algorithms kick in, analyzing your income and expenditure to figure out how much you can afford to put aside. It automatically siphons this amount into your pots without you lifting a finger.

Digit automatically adjusts according to your spending, so if you’re having an expensive month, it’ll take a break. Conversely, if you’ve just been sitting at home, it can skim more off the top. You just live like normal and get a nice surprise when you see how much you’ve saved.

Likes: You get a 0.1% savings bonus every three months. Your funds are held in FDIC-insured banks - protecting you up to $250,000. And if Digit accidentally sends you into your overdraft, they’ll refund the fees.

Dislikes: Digit is free for 30 days, but after that, it’s $5 a month. Paying to save may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re someone who really struggles to save, it could be a price worth paying.

Visit Digit or Learn more in our full Digit Review

Chime

Chime is a financial technology company whose mission is to provide basic financial services that are “helpful, easy, and free”. Through its award-winning financial app and debit card, Chime provides a broad range of services including a Spending Account, a Credit Builder Account, and a Savings Account.

Chime requires no minimum balance and has no monthly fees to worry about. It also offers a solid interest rate that will help your savings grow over time. If you use Chime for your checking account as well, you can take advantage of the bank’s automatic savings features, including automatic transfers and round-up transfers on debit card purchases.

Likes: multiple account types, credit-building option, automatic savings tools.

Dislikes: If you already have a checking account, you’ll need to completely move to Chime to make the most of its features.

Visit Chime or Read our full Chime Review

Chime Disclosure - Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

1Chime cannot guarantee when files are sent by the IRS and funds can be made available.

^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

Acorns

Acorns is a micro-investing app that links with your debit card and automatically puts the money that you save into a low-cost, diversified investment portfolio. It’s a great way for people who can’t afford brokerage companies’ usually high minimums to start investing.

If you sign up for Acorns checking account option, you can get savings bonuses when you use your debit card at select stores and take advantage of even more automated savings tools. However, the company does charge a monthly fee for its service with no way to avoid the fee.

Likes: Micro-investing with no minimum balance or trade commissions.

Dislikes: Unavoidable monthly fee is $3 or $5 based on account type.

Apply Now or Read our full Acorns Review

Related: Best Round-Up, Automated Savings and Micro Savings Apps

Stash

Stash is another micro-investing app that comes with a bank account. Unlike Acorns, Stash gives you full control over the investments you buy and makes it easy to get started by letting you buy fractional shares in stocks and ETFs. That means no minimum balance requirements.

If you use your Stash debit card, you can take advantage of the company’s unique rewards program: Stock-Back. Stock-Back gives you rewards in the form of stock in the companies you shop at. This makes buying from your favorite brands exciting because each purchase gives you a small amount of stock.

Likes: Automatic savings and rewards in the form of company stock.

Dislikes: Unavoidable monthly fee from $3 to $9 depending on account type.

Apply Now or Read our full Stash Review

Personal Capital

Personal Capital is a financial management company that can help you keep track of your money and investments. It also offers a cash management account you can use for your savings and checking accounts.

The app has a lot of tools that you can use to analyze your savings and investing strategies. The people who will get the most out of Personal Capital are those with a relatively high net worth. These customers can use Personal Capital’s wealth management services, which have a $100,000 minimum investment, to try to get the most out of their portfolio.

Likes: Powerful financial dashboard with savings and investment analysis.

Dislikes: Designed for higher net worth clients, many people won’t be able to make the most of these tools.

Apply Now or Read our full Personal Capital Review

iMoneyLover iOS

A simple piggy bank app, iMoneyLover requires no bank account information for setup and offers a customizable savings goal creator. Set your Goals Name, Amount to Save, Currency Name (great for those saving other than $), and the time frame for when you want your goal accomplished. You can activate daily notifications to remind you to feed the pig and when you complete your goal, reset your data and start a new one.

Likes: Simplicity of use. Feed this pig and hell tell you he’s full for the day and to come back tomorrow.

Dislikes: This app is free but an advertisement bar appears at the bottom. There’s no way to track your savings goals over time, as MoneyLover will only keep one goal active and visible.

Money Box iOS

The Money Box app is a step up from other electronic piggy banks that will help you create that positive savings habit. Users can track goals throughout their lifetime, sort by the due date or alphabetically, and even add their own pictures (or stock icons) to help visualize each goal.

I was able to set my master currency to USD, but global savers can choose anywhere from the Hungarian Forint to the Chinese Yen. You can add a Facebook or Twitter handle and activate sharing for Creating, Achieving, Contributing, and reaching a Milestone goal.

To create a goal, you’ll select a photo/icon and enter the title of the goal. Choose your target amount, currency, and target date. While not connected to your real bank account, there’s an option to “name” your savings account. Like other electronic piggy banks, you’re responsible for creating your own separate savings account to fund your goals. Finally, you’re able to set how often you want to save for this goal: Daily, Weekly, Bi-Weekly, and Monthly.

Likes: Customizable options and visualization tools, like adding a photo. Then track the goal status with color-coded bars and percentages. This makes for a subtle-yet-powerful motivator to save.

Dislikes: Inability to link a bank account. Coupled with the power of the visualization, being able to transfer money with one touch of a button on this app would make it more powerful on the road to building positive savings habits.

fineants iOS

An elegant savings app for positive habit transfer, fineants provides monetary proverbs from the likes of Benjamin Franklin and other financial gurus as it motivates you to develop a habit of saving.

Create a goal, then track the money you’ve saved over time after squirreling it away in your real piggy bank. Under each goal, you can track the progress by percentage complete and total dollar amount you’ve saved. A downside to this fast and easy app is that you can only track one goal at a time unless you buy the pro version.

Likes: Visually simple and to the point. Move the money on your own but track progress on your iPhone, inside the app, or in the widgets section under the Today option.

Dislikes: Cost. Upgrade to the pro version to track more than one goal.

Final Thoughts

Whether it’s 21 days, 66 days, or somewhere in between, developing a habit of saving is possible. We use our phones and computers every day anyway. Installing a habit-reinforcing savings app can increase your chances of success.

*You can read more about the study we referenced in this article here.

What app do you use to help you remember to save? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Disclaimer- Paid non-client endorsement. See Apple App Store and Google Play reviews. View important disclosures.

Investment advisory services offered by Stash Investments LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser. This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice. Investing involves risk.


¹For securities priced over $1,000, purchase of fractional shares start at $0.05.

²Debit Account Services provided by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC and Stash Visa Debit Card issued by Green Dot Bank, Member FDIC. pursuant to a license from VISA U.S.A. Inc. Investment products and services provided by Stash Investments LLC, not Green Dot Bank, and are Not FDIC Insured, Not Bank Guaranteed, and May Lose Value.” because the article mentions the debit card.

³You’ll also bear the standard fees and expenses reflected in the pricing of the ETFs in your account, plus fees for various ancillary services charged by Stash and the custodian.

⁴Other fees apply to the debit account. Please see Deposit Account Agreement for details.

⁵Stock-Back® is not sponsored or endorsed by Green Dot Bank, Green Dot Corporation, Visa U.S.A, or any of their respective affiliates, and none of the foregoing has any responsibility to fulfill any stock rewards earned through this program.

Mark Hull

Mark Hull

Mark is an Army aviator and native of Alabama. The views expressed in this article are those of the author only, and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army or Department of Defense.


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