15 Best Money Saving Apps for 2020

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Tough financial times often call for a bit of reflection. The recent virus has put into perspective the problem today’s adults have with saving. According to a recent report, one-third of homeowners have less than $500 saved in case of an emergency home repair. Overall, four in 10 adults would need to either borrow or sell their own property in the event of a $400 emergency expense. 

The Best Money-Saving Apps 

Here are a few of our favorite money-saving apps to help you get the most bang for your buck. 

Ibotta

5.0
5/5

DollarFlow rating

EARNING STYLE

Cash back

OPPORTUNITIES

Scan receipts, shop through online portal, use Ibotta pay feature and more.

EARN POINTS

Earn by shopping across a wide range of categories.

Ibotta is classified as a cash back app, which often use gamification to appeal to users. This interactive app allows users to earn points across a wide range of purchases including grocery purchases, clothing, and other expenses like travel. With over 140 retail partners, Ibotta is a great option for those looking to save. Users can shop online directly through the Ibotta shopping portal, leading to automatic cash back. Another way to save is to scan your receipts after purchase to earn extra cashback. You can also choose the Pay by Ibota feature, which allows you to pay in-store and receive instant cashback via a special discount code. Whichever method you choose to save, downloading Ibotta can go a long way in making small changes that lead to big savings over time. 

Shopkick

Shopkick
5.0
5/5

DollarFlow rating

EARNING STYLE

Earn Points (Kicks)

OPPORTUNITIES

Earn by watching videos, checking in to locations and more.

REDEEM

Redeem through Paypal or for gift cards.

Shopkick is aptly named in that users earn points a.k.a. ‘kicks’ by shopping in stores or online. You can earn points by scanning barcodes to determine if they offer rewards, then send in your receipt upon purchase. Other ways to earn include linking your credit card to your account in order to earn points automatically. From checking in to locations to watching videos directly on the app, there are a number of ways to earn points and save with Shopkick. What’s more, points can be redeemed via Paypal or through gift cards from big-time retailers like Target, Amazon, or eBay. In many ways, it pays to shop with Shopkick, which is enough reason to download it now. 

Retail Me Not

There was once a time when a pair of scissors and the Sunday paper were all one needed to save a few bucks on their grocery bill. Coupon apps like Retail Me Not give this concept a major update. As one of the most popular apps of its kind, Retail Me Not is trusted by thousands of shoppers who use it to find coupons, promo codes and other savings right from the comfort of their smartphones. But Retail Me Not goes beyond simple savings. It’s backed by a community of shoppers who can offer feedback on deals, as well as a newsletter that rounds up the best bargains for shoppers on a regular basis. From grocery savings to savings on prescriptions, Retail Me Not is a go-to for shoppers hoping to save big. 

Paribus

There are few things more frustrating than paying full price only to find out days later the item you’ve purchased in on sale. It happens often, but there’s a way out, and it comes in the form of Paribus.

Contacting retailers for price adjustments is an easy way to save money, but the process can require time and vigilance. Apps like Paribus, on the other hand, do the work for you. Paribus monitors your purchases for eligible price adjustments and negotiates with retailers on your behalf. It can also have your back when it comes to getting compensated for things like late deliveries from retailers. While there are only currently about 25 retailers signed up with Paribus, the app is free to download, rendering it worth the effort.  

Personal Capital

You can download as many money-saving apps as you’d like, but all of that means little if you haven’t got a strong hold of your finances to begin with. Knowing exactly where your hard-earned money is going each day, week or month is crucial to understanding how saving and investing can impact your future. While there are a variety of apps today that can help with this, none does it better than Personal Capital. Personal Capital keeps users accountable by dissecting their spending on an entirely new level. The app allows you to connect all of your accounts in one place, from current open accounts to credit cards and investments. It’ll also give you insight into stuff like individual account fees and your portfolio’s performance. You can download Personal Capital for free, but there will be a charge for accessing the platform’s professional advising services for investment accounts of $100,000 or more. 

Twine

It’s true that money can impact relationships. Being coupled up in adulthood may mean eventually joining finances or, at the very least, splitting costs on some things. Twine is unique in that it makes the process of saving with your partner much easier to bear. With Twine, couples can begin saving for their future together at their own individual pace. Whether for a new home, a special trip, a wedding, or even a child’s tuition later down the line, saving isn’t always easy. Twine allows couples to save separately while tracking each other’s progress and holding one another accountable. This is a valuable option for couples who want to take saving seriously. 

Truebill 

Truebill is an app that truly works for you. How? Truebill is designed to carefully monitor your subscription services, allowing you to find real ways to cut back. It helps by comparing things like utility rates and negotiating with providers to help you get the best deal. While there is some work required on your part – you’ll need to log onto your accounts and upload photos of your bills – users will find this pales in comparison to the perks offered by Truebill. There is also a monthly fee for their premium service, which includes deal negotiations, and a 40% commission fee for amounts saved. But still, the benefits of Truebill outweigh the risks. Download this app if you’re hoping to save in the most convenient way. 

Peak Money

Some people are visual learners. That’s what makes an app like Peak Money so great. This app allows users to track their financial goals, which are represented with a 3D visualization of mountain tops, in a clear, concise way. Savings Plans for each goal make it easy to set up recurring transfers and set dates by which you’ll hit these goals. The app also lets users attach a spending account, such as a debit card or credit card, to “round up” purchases and expenses so they save even more. While there are many apps that strive to make the concept of saving more appealing, Peak Money uses a distinct wellness background to guide users toward better choices when it comes to finance. It even employs a deep breathing exercise within the app to help users de-stress while managing their funds. 

Qapital

Gamification serves as a popular means of motivation, and this is definitely true in the realm of saving. Qapital keeps users motivated by setting goals and rules that help you stretch your dollar and approach saving more wisely. The app’s unique Payday Divvy feature, for instance, helps users divide spending and saving commitments while Money Missions are challenges that can offer benefits, such as better insight into investments. With Qapital, users receive a debit card that requires a fee for some types of spending. Qapital even has pre-built portfolios for users looking into investing. While undoubtedly useful, Qapital isn’t free to operate — plans range from $3 to $12 b — and thus, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons. 

Varo

Varo is changing the game of online banking, and with over 30,000 rave reviews, you know they’re doing something right. Varo is unique in that it’s among the first mobile-accessible online banks. With Varo, customers gain access to an online bank account and Varo debit card, which is completely free to use, except when customers withdraw cash from an outside ATM. With Varo, customers can make direct deposits and even access their cash up to two days more quickly. Other benefits include the ability to send money instantly to other Varo users, as well as deposit cash at over 90,000 retail locations. What’s more, Varo savings account customers earn an impressive 2.80% APY on balances of up to $50,000 when making monthly deposits of $1,000 or more and at least five payments each month. 

Acorns

4.5
4.5/5

DollarFlow rating

MINIMUM INVESTMENT REQUIREMENTS

$0

INVESTMENT TYPES

Stocks & funds, gold, crypto, options

FEES

$1 per month for accounts under $5,000; 0.25% of account balance yearly for accounts over $5,000

That big jar of spare change you keep is about to get a lot smaller once you download an app like Acorns. Among the first of its kind, Acorns allows users to start saving and investing with just spare change. It does this by rounding up purchases and slipping those cents into a separate savings account. With this, users can choose to invest or simply save in a retirement account. Not only does Acorns help you save, but it also seeks to enhance your financial literacy, too. It’s got articles and resources to help you understand what you are doing with your money so you can make wise financial choices moving forward. With plans from $1 to $3 per month, it’s easy to see why Acorns has earned as many accolades. 

Robinhood

5.0
5/5

DollarFlow rating

FEES

Commission-free investing.

ACCOUNTS

Brokerage account includes access to a debit card to pay bills or withdraw cash from.

CRYPTOCURRENCY

Ability to buy and sell bitcoin or other crypto.

It’s almost impossible to talk about money-saving apps without mentioning Robinhood. Founded in 2015, Robinhood is a discount stock broker that has hosted billions in transactions over its lifetime. Why so popular? For one, Robinhood offers fee-free stock trading and cash management all in one. You can pay your bills with a Mastercard debit card, or withdraw cash from thousands of ATMs for no fee. The app has even made some major improvements over the last couple of years, with the introduction of Robinhood Crypto, which lets users dabble in cyber currencies. Over ten million users currently look to Robinhood for their investments, making it one of the most trustworthy apps on the market. 

Chime

Chime is another great banking app that has customers transitioning solely to online banking. With Chime, users can enjoy automatic savings and no minimum, monthly, or overdraft fees. Like Varo, Chime users can also access their paychecks up to two days early, which is bound to come in handy during times of financial trouble. Another thing Chime offers is account monitoring, offering real-time alerts so customers are aware of every transaction. Chime is also backed by Visa’s Zero-Liability Policy, which offers customers protection against unauthorized purchases. And with over 38,000 fee-free ATMs spread out all across the country, your funds are never too far away. 

Stash

4.5
4.5/5

DollarFlow rating

MINIMUM INVESTMENT REQUIREMENTS

$0

INVESTMENT TYPES

Fractional shares of stocks & funds, EFTs, bonds

FEES

Stash Beginner; $1/month, Stash Growth; $3/month, Stash+; $9/month

Not all investment apps are created equal, and Stash is in a league of its own. To be clear: plenty of apps offer users the opportunity to invest, but not many make the process as easy. This app is unique in that it allows users to purchase fractional shares, while most platforms require users to purchase full shares of investments. You can do things like save and invest automatically through the use of Auto-Stash, a suite of automatic and investing tools. With this, you can set schedules, round-ups, which invest your spare change, and Smart-Stash, which offers smart analytics to help users save more wisely. Stash also keeps a range of educational tools to help users become confident investors. All in all, Stash is an excellent app for micro-investing and may be just the one you need to make your big debut in finance.

Mint

Between checking, savings, and retirement accounts, it’s no wonder so many people have such difficulty getting a hold on their finances. But in this regard, Mint saves the day. This personal finance app lets users keep track of all of their accounts and account activity under one roof, so to speak, giving users a clear picture of their financial health at any given time. With Mint, each transaction you make gets recorded and categorized automatically and the app even goes as far make note of your spending matters and recommend a budget. Another thing Mint offers is visual graphs that represent your cash flow and overall net worth, which is available through the iPad. There are also some pretty neat security features, like the ability to deactivate your account’s phone access in the event that it’s lost or stolen. 

Honorable Mentions

Here are a few additional apps that can help make the process of saving easier and a lot more fun.

You Need a Budget (YNAB)

Keeping (and sticking to) a budget is one of the hardest parts of maintaining solid financial health. But like so many things today, there’s an app for that. You Need a Budget (YNAB) is easy to use and offers users the tools they need to get it done successfully and with minimal effort. The app’s goal is to make users rethink and improve the way they manage money, which, over time, can lead to a less stressful financial life. It’s not exactly cheap, though. The app comes with YNAB’s $60 software and is intended to let you access your budget on-the-go. But still, $60 pales in comparison to the money you save when you create a budget and stick to it, no matter what. 

Viggle

No one said saving money has to be boring. There are plenty of ways to earn cash and savings by doing the things we do every day. Viggle, for example, capitalizes on our collective need for entertainment, and it does so pretty brilliantly. This app rewards users for simply watching TV. It works by users “checking in” to shows they are watching, which yields points that can be redeemed at retailers like Barnes & Noble, Starbucks, and other brands. Another way to earn points is to answer TV trivia and play games. You can even interact with friends, so there’s a social element to this app, as well. If you are looking to get free stuff in one of the most enjoyable ways possible, Viggle is a good bet.

Groupon

Smartphone users on the hunt for great deals have long found solace in Groupon. This app offers some of the best bargains to be had over the internet. With a wide range of products and services listed at discount rates, Groupon users are loyal and are saving hundreds or thousands each year on both everyday items and luxuries like travel and hotel stays. Groupon and its diverse selection of retailers also allow users to get out of their comfort zone and purchase from places they may not have otherwise. This makes Groupon not just valuable for customers, but for the businesses they work with, too. 

What are money saving apps?

When you are struggling financially, you may begin to wonder how, if possible, you can make your situation better. This may cause you to replay your recent spending in your head, searching for ways to cut back.

Truth be told: saving is no easy feat. Millions of Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck, with just enough money to meet even basic living expenses. This can make saving for the future feel like an impossible task with no clear start or end in sight. But there are endless ways to cut back on your spending, if necessary. While you can start by decreasing your discretionary spending, there are a number of modern ways to save, too. One of the easiest methods is through the use of money-saving apps.

Money-saving apps aren’t a new phenomenon. In fact, there’s been some variation of money-saving apps for nearly as long as smartphones have been around. And while money apps are certainly growing in numbers, with each promising to help users save more than the next, determining which is best for you might require a fair amount of trial and error. There are plenty of great money-saving apps to choose from, but determining which makes the most sense for your unique financial situation will depend on several factors. Some things you’ll want to take into account include your financial goals, your age and income, and whether or not you plan to build an investment portfolio. 

How to choose the best money saving app 

Here are some things users should be looking for when deciding which money-saving apps to use:

Security/Protection

Safety is not something you want to gamble on when it comes to your money. Hacking and identity theft run rampant in today’s digital age, so you’ll definitely want to stick to apps that are safe and protected. Multi-factor authentication and other safeguards can serve as an extra method of defense when dealing with money-saving apps.   

Coupons/Discounts

If saving money is important to you, you likely scour the internet for coupons or discount codes on any given day. Doing this can add up to hundreds or even thousands of dollars in savings over the course of a year. Apps that do the work for you can save you time, effort, and – of course – money. Some apps go as far as negotiating with retailers to get you price adjustments where applicable. All of these are reasons to pay close attention to an app’s coupon and discount capabilities. 

Cash Back

There is truly nothing sweeter than cash back when dealing with money-saving apps. Cash back is like getting paid to shop, and it’s a big perk consumers look for when shopping around for banks and credit cards. An app that can offer you cash back is bound to do more for you than other apps that, well…don’t. 

Rewards

It’s not enough anymore for money-saving apps to simply track your finances. They’ve got to offer you something in return, and these come in the form of rewards. Whether rewards come in the form of gift cards, airline points, or bill credit, all of these are incentives that can make a significant difference in how you spend your cash. 

Locations

Some money-saving apps come in the form of online banks, which can be highly convenient in the digital age. But just because a bank is online doesn’t mean it’s free of the constraints of the real world. This means location is still important. Apps that offer debit cards, for instance, may only have a few locations in which customers can withdraw cash. Pay attention to the location and availability of ATMs to avoid signing up with an app that may not make sense for you.  

Deal Finders

Not everyone enjoys “shopping”. Some customers prefer to avoid shopping at all costs, instead relying on an app to do the heavy lifting. Apps that compare prices and find the best deal for you can be a great way to alleviate some stress with your everyday purchases and still allow you to save money in the process.  

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are becoming more valuable in a world with seemingly endless options. They’re valuable when it comes to money-saving apps, too. Enroll yourself in enough loyalty programs and you’ll find how much the savings and perks can add up over the course of a year. Apps that promote loyalty programs through various lenders are ideal for people hoping to save by whatever means available. 

Final Word

There are all kinds of ways money-saving apps can help you save. From cash back and coupon apps to automated savings and investment apps, a lot of today’s money-saving apps are guaranteed to put a little extra cash in your pocket if used right. But, unfortunately, apps won’t do it all for you. These apps are only valuable if you truly use them to your advantage. That means taking the time to evaluate and clarify your financial goals and sticking to a budget that allows you to save and invest freely. Doing these things, in addition to downloading any number of these money-saving apps, will help you create a path toward a healthy financial future. 

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