Best Money Saving Apps for 2021 (for $5 a month or less)

There’s an app for pretty much everything these days, including a mobile tool that helps you avoid dating your cousin and another that tells you when to go to the bathroom during a movie.

It follows that money saving apps are in no short supply, which is why it’s essential to separate the good from the bad when it comes to trusting technology with your finances.

Accordingly, we’ve recommended each of the options below because they’re FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per account, have seriously prioritized security and encryption of sensitive information, been backed by reputable investors, and found a way to either minimize fees or waive them entirely. Not to mention, they’re all compatible with both iOS and Android. 

Happy saving!

1. Digit

If just the idea of budgeting to save makes your stomach turn — Digit might just be what the doctor — er, financial consultant — ordered. The automated savings solution does all the hard work for you. You simply set your goals: that trip to Cabo, paying down debt on that second credit card, or adding to that nest egg for your dream home. The app then automatically analyzes your spending patterns and decides when it’s safe to save and when it’s better to keep the money in your checking account. Best of all, even though it’s hands-off, Digit provides lots of flexibility, including anytime withdrawals at no charge, as well as some cool perks to boot, like a 0.10% savings bonus every three months.

Cost: $5 per month

Best For: Anyone who doesn’t want to deal with the stress of saving

2. Qapital

Built on the premise that supercharging your savings can be fun, Qapital is an award-winning tool that uses “goals” and “rules” to help you hit your savings sweet spot (it claims the people who use it save at least $1500 on average per year). For instance, you can set up a rule to save a dollar every time you buy a coffee to achieve a short-term goal, like a fancy dinner, or choose to put away five bucks when you use your debit card to work toward a longer-term goal of a down payment for a car. What’s more, the easy-to-use app now offers Payday Divvy, a feature that lets you automatically divide up your paycheck as soon as you get it in order to better manage your money, as well as Money Missions, time-based challenges that motivate you to change a daily spending habit into a weekly treat. In terms of the latter, imagine buying lunch once a week instead of every day. 

Cost: $3 for month for the basic package (additional features available at variable fees)

Best For: Anyone who needs little wins to get motivated to build bigger and better savings habits

3. Trim

Trim is the financial assistant you always wish you had, specializing in negotiating down bills and cancelling unused subscriptions. This money saving app is all about cutting back your spending — and then putting the money you’ve freed up into a high-yield savings account that gives you way more return than a savings account operated through a traditional bank, like Wells Fargo or Bank of America. The service starts by scanning your bank and credit card statements, pointing out opportunities for getting lower rates on services you need (e.g. utilities), and recommending you get rid of services that you don’t (e.g. that credit report subscription you never knew you had). You can then put this money in Simple Savings, the FDIC-insured Trim account that gives you 4% annual reward on the first $2000 you put away, as well as choose to set up automated transfers of an amount of your choosing from your checking to your Simple Savings account.

Cost: Free (additional features available at variable fees)

Best For: Anyone who needs help trimming their spending

4. Acorns

Got the saving part down but not sure how to grow your stash into a bigger pile of cash? Acorns’ all-in-one banking, investment, and retirement app may be a worthwhile way to make sure you have the capital you need in your twilight years. The tech tool invests “Round-Ups” (the amount needed to round up to the next dollar after a purchase) in recommended investment and retirement portfolios as well as gives you the ability to automate regular contributions. This way, spare change and a small percentage of your paycheck can go a long way thanks to the expertise of the Acorn team. The portfolios themselves comprise ETFs (exchange traded funds) that match your financial goals.

Cost: From $1 a month (multiple plan tiers available at higher rates)

Best For: Anyone who wants to grow their savings through investment

The information provided is for educational purposes and for your independent consideration. This information does not contain, constitute, or provide individual tax, financial, or investment advice. This material should not be considered as a recommendation of any particular savings product or service. Particular savings strategies should be evaluated relative to each individual’s objectives. Readers are urged to seek professional advice with respect to their specific financial, legal, and tax matters.