I never kept a piggy bank as a kid…and it shows. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I began to save money like a grown-up. Before that, the majority of my paycheck went toward paying down maxed-out credit cards, student loans (ugh, just cancel them already!), and inevitable overdraft fees. To be fair, money management isn’t deemed an essential subject in high school or college (unless you’re studying to be an accounting or other money expert). Plus, I only half-love cooking and live for takeout. Had any of the best money-saving apps existed before I got my act together, I’d probably be a lot closer to my big-picture goals by now.
I’m not saying they will solve all of your money problems. These virtual piggy banks play more of a supporting role when it comes to money management. In most cases, they can’t replace a traditional checking account and ultimately, only you can decide how to spend the cash you store up. But if you’re anything like me and like the idea of “click it and forget it” saving, these apps cover an impressive gamut of goals and do all of the legwork for you. So whether you’re saving up for a dream house, that perfect pair of heels you saw on Instagram, a top-notch microphone for your podcast, or an emergency fund for your new business, here are seven of the best apps for boosting your savings efforts.
For Investing: Acorns
Whether you’re new to investing or a seasoned pro, Acorns is a beginner-friendly, all-in-one service that takes your spare change from everyday purchases and automatically micro-invests in a diverse “portfolio,” or combo of investments, which Acorns recommends based on your personal profile. Other options include automatically contributing to a retirement account or going mobile-only with a checking account you can manage online or within the free app.
For Better Spending Habits: Qapital
Qapital also gives you the option of investing your savings, but the real strength of this service are the various features that will push you to spend smarter as you’re saving more. They include the “Payday Divvy,” which allows you to segment your deposits so you can focus on different goals or parts of your budget simultaneously. There’s also “Money Missions,” or challenges that will shed light on your weaker spending spots for better insight in the future.
For Mindless Saving: Digit
You’ll be surprised by how much you’re able to save in a short period of time when you add the Digit app to your phone. Using a sophisticated algorithm, it constantly evaluates your spending habits to determine how much money can be saved from day to day. Before you know it, you’ll have enough cash to pay off a credit card bill, invest in some Facebook ads for your business, and more.
For Mobile Banking: Stash
If you’re ready to go full-on mobile with all of your finances, any of the Stash’s affordable membership plans will give you a bank account, investment account, and free financial education. The Stash+ plan also includes monthly marketing insights for smart investing, as well as beginner investing accounts for children.
For Community-Based Saving: earnin
With no loans, interests or other hidden costs included, Earnin is truly a money-saving app for the people. In addition to a “Tip Jar” that encourages you to reward yourself for good habits, there’s also a “Balance Shield Cash Out” for when your checking account goes below $100 and a “Health Aid” that allows you to submit unpaid medical bills for their team to review and help negotiate lower costs.
By the way, you don’t need to save up for BlogHer Biz, a monthlong series of weekly virtual (and free!) workshops that will prepare you for the big leagues, whether you’re a newbie small business owner, a blogger hoping to get more website traffic, or an influencer who wants to master their elevator pitch before meeting with a brand. In other words, we’re celebrating National Women’s Small Business Month (October) all month long. Learn more here.