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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 DoughRoller team has put our heads together and compiled a list of 76 free or cheap savings tools 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!
Budgeting Your Money
1. Empower: My favorite money management tool, Empower 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.
2. PocketSmith: PocketSmith is a budgeting tool that could be a great option for side hustlers as it makes it easy to manage multiple income streams. Additionally, its forecasting tools can project how soon you’ll be able to achieve FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) or other savings goals. Plus, it offers bill scheduling through its budget calendar. Plans range from free to $26.66 per month.
3. 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.
UPDATE – Mint has decided to close its doors on January 1st, 2024. Now would be a great time to consider an alternative to Mint so that your monthly budget doesn’t miss a beat.
4. PocketGuard: In addition to helping you create and manage your budget, PocketGuard can track your investments and net worth. It also offers rate negotiation services on cell phone, cable, and other common bills. PocketGuard Basic is free while PocketGuard Plus is the premium paid version at $3.99 per month or $34.99 annually if you pay in full.
5. Goodbudget: Goodbudget aims to be the digital version of the envelope budgeting system. With Goodbudget, you can track the progress of your savings and debt payoff goals right from your phone. You can get up to 10 envelopes for free or pay $7 per month for unlimited envelopes.
6. EveryDollar: This is a great option for Dave Ramsey fans as it’s built from the ground up to help you move through the “7 Baby Steps.” The free version is extremely capable but requires users to enter their transactions manually. The paid version offers automatic transaction downloads from your bank and access to a number of additional Ramsey+ products.
7. 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.
8. Clarity Money: Clarity Money is an AI-powered budgeting tool backed by Marcus by Goldman Sachs. It can track all of your savings, debt, and investment accounts in one place. Plus, Clarity Money users can open a high-yield Marcus Online Savings Account which will help you monitor and cancel unnecessary subscriptions.
9. 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 letting you track IOUs with friends. The basic account is free, but paid accounts ranging from $1.99 to $9.99/month can add additional features.
Checking Your Credit
10. Experian: Experian is one of the three major credit bureaus and it offers its own free in-house credit monitoring. Users get an updated credit report every 30 days, real-time alerts of key changes, and FICO® Score tracking.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. CreditWise from Capital One: You don’t have to be a Capital One customer to check your TransUnion® VantageScore® 3.0 for free with its CreditWise service. And once you sign up, you’ll get automatic alerts from TransUnion and Experian.
Traveling on a Shoestring Budget
14. Kayak: This is a popular 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 the cheapest.
15. Hotwire: Hotwire’s website and app let you find great deals on travel-related everything, including activities, cruises, and vacation packages.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. Expedia: With Expedia, you can compare prices on flights, car rentals, cruises, and travel packages. Plus, it highlights travel deals and offers vacation ideas.
20. Google Flights: Google excels at crawling the internet for information, sorting the data, and serving it up in a useful way to searchers. And it’s applied that same expertise to its Google Flights tool. Plan trips and set price alerts with ease.
21. Hotels.com: Hotels.com offers free cancellation on most of the hotels that are available on its site and with its “Price Guarantee,” can match any price that you see elsewhere online. Plus, for every 10 nights you book and stay with them, you get one free.
22. Cruise Compete: If you’re planning to book a cruise soon, you need to check out CruiseCompete ASAP. It compares offers from multiple travel agencies to help you find the best deal and offers a wealth of reviews of both cruise ships and ports.
23. AutoSlash: AutoSlash will help you find the best coupon codes for car rentals. Then, after you’ve booked, it will continue to track rates for your specific car type and travel dates and will notify you if the price drops.
24. Last Minute: Waiting until the 11th 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.
25. 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.
26. Airfarewatchdog: Set up travel alerts on this site so you can buy your tickets when they’re at their absolute cheapest.
27. Skyscanner: This website and app can compare flights, hotels, and car rentals from over 1,200 sites at once. Plus, you can narrow your search to only return airlines that have flexible tickets or hotels and car rentals that have free cancellation policies.
28. 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.
29. 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.
30. 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
31. Dealnews: This website features Black Friday style deals from all sorts of online retailers, but features the best deals on electronics of all sorts.
32. Ben’s Bargains: One of the best features of this site is its Deal Alert manager, which offers a lot of customization by product name and price range. This site offers deals on all sorts of products, especially from high-end name brands.
33. 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 30 days are free.
34. SlickDeals: Check out deals in a variety of categories, including drugstore deals, local deals, freebies, and computer deals.
35. 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.
36. 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.
37. RetailMeNot: This website features free shipping deals, printable coupons, daily deals, and online coupons to tons of different online and brick-and-mortar retailers.
38. Rakuten: 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 Rakuten and you’ll automatically rack up redeemable rewards points.
39. eBay: While it has been long passed as the digital retailer king by Amazon, eBay is still a great place to find deals on all kinds of products. Today, many of their listings are “Buy It Now” only. But you can still find auction items to bid on if that’s your thing.
40. Swap.com: Looking for secondhand clothes at low prices? Swap.com is a great go-to. It has clothes for the whole family. You can see how close to new items are, and it often runs sales for even steeper discounts.
41. OfferUp: OfferUp is like Craigslist for the 21st century. Like Craigslist, it makes it easy to list or buy items from people in your community. But unlike Craigslist, it offers a beautifully-designed mobile app and seller profiles complete with badges and reviews.
Snagging Daily Deals
42. 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.
43. 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.
44. Gilt: This shopping app features time-sensitive sales on high-end, name-brand goods.
45. 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. It more recently started carrying some menswear, as well.
46. Woot: This site offers daily deals in a variety of product categories including Home & Kitchen, Electronics, Computers, Tools & Garden, and more. Plus, as a subsidiary of Amazon, Prime members get free shipping on all Woot orders.
Clipping Great Coupons
47. Coupon Cabin: Here’s another great site for finding coupons of all sorts, including printable coupons and coupon codes for use online.
48. 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.
49. 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.
50. Checkout51: Like iBotta, Checkout51 makes it easy to scan your gas and grocery receipts and earn cash back. Users can cash out their earnings once their balance reaches $20 (via check or PayPal).
51. 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.
52. Coupons.com: This website and app offer printable coupons in addition to digital coupons and promo codes. You can clip coupons from your computer or download the app to your Android or iPhone.
53. The Krazy Coupon Lady: A fun site started by two extreme couponers, which offers daily deals and couponing tips.
54. 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.
Managing Your Investments
55. Empower: Empower earns another spot on our list for its portfolio management options. It offers some of the most advanced investment and net worth trackers and calculators that you’ll find anywhere online. And, yes, they’re all completely free to use!
56. Morningstar: With Morningstar, you can compare mutual funds whenever and wherever you want. Plus, you can create watchlists to help you keep an eye on investment opportunities.
57. 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. And the Acorns Earn feature allows you to earn by shopping at over 300 brands could help you more than recover the starting fee of $3/month. Try Acorns.
58. TD Ameritrade App: This company actually has a few apps. One allows you to look at your accounts, But you can also create custom watchlists for investments or set up alerts. It’s helpful if you’re tracking specific investment options. Visit TD Ameritrade for details.
59. SigFig: With SigFig, you can manage your investment accounts from over 50 popular brokers all in one place. It will help you uncover hidden fees and send weekly email updates of your portfolio performance. Plus, it offers wealth management for a 0.25% annual fee.
Managing Bills and Expenses
60. 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.
61. 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.
62. Billshark: Billshark scans your recent transactions to find bills, subscriptions, or insurance policies that it may be able to negotiate and reduce for you. The app is free to use but it charges a 40% fee of your bill savings and $9 per canceled subscription.
Getting Out of Debt
63. Debt Payoff Planner: Looking for a detailed debt payoff plan? This app could help. It can also keep you motivated by showing you your debt payoff date.
64. Tally: This app is focused on helping you pay down high-interest credit card debt. It says that the average lifetime savings of its users are $5,300.
65. ChangeEd: This app is intended to help student loan borrowers track and pay down their loans. It offers round-up savings on all your transactions and will automatically send a payment to your loans once your balance reaches $100. This app does cost $1/month, but you can earn free cash by referring friends and family which could offset the cost.
Other Money-Saving Apps
68. 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.
69. 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.
Related: Best Home Appraisal Sites
70. GasBuddy: Driving just a few blocks could save you a load on gas. GasBuddy will tell you where the lowest gas prices are right now. Plus, it now offers its own card that can save you up to 25¢/gal on every fill-up!
71. Honey: Honey is a smart shopping assistant that can be accessed via its website, app, or browser extension. Before you check out from an online store, use Honey to search over 30,000 websites for coupons and promo codes and have them automatically applied to your order.
Automating Your Savings
73. Qapital: This app automates your savings with high-tech rules. For instance, you can round up all your purchases to the nearest dollar, and then save the change. Or with “Payday Divvy,” you can split up major deposits in just a few taps to make sure all your key expenses and goals are covered.
74. 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.
75. SaverLife: SaverLife is a nonprofit organization that exists to help Americans improve their financial health. The app is 100% free. Every time SaverLife sees that you saved money in your bank account, you’ll earn points that can be redeemed for prizes or cash.
76. Stash: This personal finance app offers a variety of automatic savings features in addition to fractional share investing, a Stock-Back® Card¹, and more. With monthly subscription plans starting at $1², Stash can be affordable. If you use your Stock-Back® Card often enough at participating companies, the value of the stock you earn could outweigh the cost. Sign up for Stash and get a $5 bonus after funding your account with $5. Read more about it in our Stash Review.