Boost Your Personal Savings With These Apps
Saving money is hard. I’m not referring to the money you save when you buy something on sale or the number listed on your receipt from the grocery store that says “you saved $24.92 today.” That sort of saving is simple; but real savings for your future is much more complex.
Consider some recent survey findings:
- Americans have a household savings rate of 4.9% while many European countries are above 10%
- One in three Americans has no retirement savings at all
- 60% of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings account
- 34% of Americans say they could not come up with $2,000 by next month to pay for an unexpected expense
For the growing number of self-employed Americans without employer-sponsored retirement plans or consistent direct deposits, personal savings might be even lower.
Smart Ways To Start Saving
Most apps help you spend money – not save it – with streamlined “one touch” checkout experiences. Amazon even offers a wi-fi enabled button you can place around your home and press it anytime you want to re-order your favorite products.
But there is a new brood of apps to help you save money. The mentality of “live for today and forget about tomorrow” is pervasive but not obligatory.
If you want to boost your personal savings, consider a savings app that fits within your existing routines.
Micro Investing: Acorns
Acorns rounds up each purchase you make to the nearest dollar and deposits the quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies into an investment account. Once you sign up and give Acorns permission to access your bank account, the act of saving is automated.
The investments are relatively low-risk with higher returns than a savings account. Acorns charges $1 per month plus 0.5% of funds invested.
If the fees put you off, consider Bank of America’s Keep the Change Savings Program. It uses the same spare change concept but Bank of America deposits the funds into your savings account instead of an investment account.
Friendly Budgeting: Level Money
Level Money is a free mobile app powered by Capital One. It helps you plan ahead for essentials like rent and bills, and lets you set a target savings goal. The surplus beyond essentials and savings is your “spendable” money.
By linking your bank account data, the app looks for recurring expenses to automate the task of building a budget. Once you get started, the app visualizes how much “spendable” money you have remaining so that you aren’t dipping into savings without knowing it.
Savings Coach: Digit
Digit monitors your spending each day and moves funds from your checking account to your Digit savings account. Its algorithm tries to understand your lifestyle and save accordingly, instead of a traditional approach where you move a fixed amount of funds from checking to savings each month.
Digit is free but there’s a catch: the interest you earn on the savings is lower than your current savings account. So, if Digit is the difference between saving and not saving, go for it! But, you are better off financially to move the funds from checking to savings yourself.