by Carson Kohler (Staff Writer)
Updated June 6, 2023
Saving money is oftentimes filed under personal finance 101.
It’s easy, they say. You’ve just got to do it! Stay focused! Quell spending temptations!
Honestly, that’s just not the case.
In the United States, only 15% of us can come up with $2,000, according to a Penny Hoarder analysis of Federal Reserve survey data.
If saving money were that easy, that percentage would be a lot higher.
But here’s the thing: There are plenty of money-saving tools out there that’ll make the task way easier. Some of them will even help you grow your stash with that sweet, sweet interest.
We Reviewed ’Em: The 7 Best Money-Saving Apps of 2023
There are so many personal finance apps, which is great, but it can quickly become overwhelming. To help you decide what’s best for you and your financial goals, we rounded up our favorite savings apps (in no particular order).
1. Digit: A Mindless Way to Hit Your Savings Goals
If you have trouble determining just how much money you can afford to put away each month, turn to Digit, an innovative mobile app that’ll do the work for you.
First, download the Digit app, and connect your bank account. (This is where the app will pull money from to go into savings.)
Then set up your savings goals. For example, you can set a goal of $2,000 for a rainy day fund and then $500 for a weekend getaway.
Now, Digit will use its smart algorithms to analyze your income and spending habits to determine just how much you can afford to save. It’ll automatically pull small amounts of money (it promises no overdrafts!) into its FDIC-insured Digit account.
It’ll even send you real-time daily notifications, so your balance is never a surprise. You can pause or tap into your savings at any time — it’ll take one business day for the funds to roll back into your checking account.
Best for those who have a hard time figuring out how much they can afford to save and want to lean on automatic savings.
Cost: Free for the first 30 days, then a monthly fee of $5
Bonus: Penny Hoarders will get an extra $5 just for signing up. Additionally, you’ll receive a 1% savings bonus on your average daily balance every three months.
Available via Apple iOS and Android.
Read how one Penny Hoarder mindlessly saved $4,300 in our Digit review.
2. Acorns: A Virtual Piggy Bank Turned Investment Account
If you want to dip your big toe into investing while also stockpiling money, Acorns is a micro-investing mobile app that allows just that.
Download the app, then link up your checking accounts, credit cards and/or debit cards — go wild. (This is all protected, by the way, and your investment portfolio is insured for up to $500,000.)
Now, turn on its round-up feature, and Acorns will act like a virtual piggy bank, rounding up your transactions to the nearest dollar and depositing the spare change into your Acorns account. Then it does all the heavy lifting for you.
You can even earn cash back through Acorns. For example, if you’ve wanted to sign up for Blue Apron, it’ll give you $30 to invest. Or if you book your next Airbnb through the app, you’ll snag 1.8% cash back to go toward your investments.
Best for those who are interested in investing their savings and are willing to take a little risk.
Cost: $1 a month for account balances under $1 million
Bonus: Pocket $20 when you sign up.
Available via Apple iOS and Android.
Check out our Acorns review, and read how Penny Hoarder Dana Sitar was able to save at a rate of $420 a year.
3. Qapital: A Fun (Almost Addicting) Way to Save Money
If you want to, you know, spice things up while saving, look into the Qapital app.
I initially tried Qapital out back in 2016, when I’d just secured my first full-time job and was having a hard time putting any money away. It helped me sneak away $700 in about five months.
When you download the Qapital app, you’ll link up your bank account and set savings goals. Under each goal, you’ll set rules. This is where it gets fun.
For example, if you’re really excited about saving for your trip to the Bahamas, set Qapital to transfer $5 into your Qapital account each time you hit your daily step goal. Or maybe you’re always stopping by Starbucks. Tell Qapital to funnel $1 into your savings each time you go.
(Since I used Qapital, it’s evolved to offer banking and investment services, too, but I’m still keen on its core: saving.)
Best for those who like a good challenge and want turn goal-setting into a game.
Cost: $3 a month for the basic version after a 30-day free trial.
Available via iOS and Android.
4. Twine: A Simple Way for Couples to Band Together to Hit Mutual Goals
If you’re looking for a way to save toward a joint goal with your better half, you’ll want to use the Twine app.
Say you and your honey want to save for a long weekend in the Bahamas. Or maybe you’re looking to buy a home in a few years and want to save for a down payment. Whatever it is, Twine allows you both to work toward that goal.
The app offers two options: You two can save your money in a free joint account with a 1.05% variable interest rate, or you two can invest your money and potentially earn some interest. (That option costs 25 cents per $500 invested.)
To get started, you and your partner will each create Twine accounts, and link your individual bank accounts — this is how you’ll fund your savings. Then, set your goal (vacation, down payment, emergency fund, you name it) and select your monthly deposit amount.
Then, watch your savings grow together.
Best for those who want to make saving money a joint affair.
Cost: Free for saving.
Bonus: Pocket $5 when you sign up.
Available via desktop, Apple iOS and Android.