It’s not always at the top of your list to check your bank account. Sometimes receipts mysteriously disappear, and sometimes your credit card is a little higher than you anticipated. If you’re one of those people who doesn’t keep a close eye on your day-to-day spending, it can be hard to get focused on your savings goals. Maybe you want to plan a family vacation but you aren’t sure how to set enough money aside, or maybe you’d simply like to establish an emergency fund. Whatever your dilemma, there’s probably a money saving app for that.
If you’re like most Americans, you probably have a smartphone glued to your hand. So why not use it to make saving easier? Take a peek at four different smartphone apps that can help you get started saving.
Do you feel like you’re getting lost in a sea of receipts? If so, this app could be the one for you. OneReceipt is a tracking app that lets you organize all of your receipts in one place. It pulls in digital receipts, tracking, and shipping information from any of your email addresses and also allows you to take pictures of your paper receipts and store them in the cloud. The app enables you to filter and tag your purchases so you can quickly identify where you are spending most of your money. You can easily pull up needed receipts for returns or tax season. The newest feature also gives users deals on the things they buy the most in the form of digital coupons.
While the original platform for OneReceipt is through a web page, the company offers a free app for iOS users only. The company promises security in the form of keeping your email private and not storing credit card information from your purchases.
There have been a few issues with the mobile app’s ability to take photos and upload them, but that can be solved by emailing a picture of your paper receipts to your personal OneReceipt email account.
Mint is one of the biggest personal finance apps in the world, and it’s owned by finance guru Intuit, who also owns TurboTax and QuickBooks. It works in real-time with your bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and retirement funds to track how much you’re spending and manage your budget. You can also set up alerts that let you know when you’re reaching your budget limit. Mint also has a sister app, Mint Bills & Money, which can help you keep track of when to pay your bills.
In order for both of these systems to work, you have to enter in your bank account usernames and passwords into the program. While executives at Mint promise that their James Bond-level security protocols keep your information safe and encrypted, there is a risk with divulging this type of information. However, there haven’t been any documented problems specifically with Mint.
Occasionally, users who have banks that require two-step authentication for logging in have run into problems connecting their accounts. Mint is available for iOS and Android.
This free app allows you to keep track of a budget on your smartphone. The idea derived from good old-fashioned envelope budgeting, where each paycheck was cashed and the money was divided up into envelopes, each of which had a particular use. That cash was all you could use until you ran out, and it kept budgets in check. Goodbudget allows users to keep their money safe and sound in a bank, but still virtually divide up paychecks into digital “envelopes” each pay period. App users manually input their paycheck or checking account dollars and expenses during the month, and Goodbudget will let you know how much you have left to spend in each “envelope”.
There isn’t any connection to bank accounts or credit cards, and everything has to be entered manually to make this system work. The app also lets you share and sync your budget with other people so that everyone is on the same page. They also say that they can help you save for significant expenses.
There is a free and paid version of this software. The free version gives you only ten regular “envelopes”, ten annual “envelopes”, one account, two devices, and one year of history. The paid version, which is $5 per month or $45 for a year, allows unlimited regular and annual envelopes, unlimited accounts, five devices, five years of history, and email support. The app is available for iOS and Android.
If you have trouble remembering to put money into a savings account, this app might be for you. Digit creates a savings account and slowly moves small increments of unused money from your checking account. When you set up Digit, you will give it permission to access your checking account and analyze your spending. Once it figures out how much money you have to spare, it will transfer money every couple of days. When this happens, it will notify you via text message. This app could be great for saving up for an especially expensive item or a vacation. One downside is that your Digit savings account doesn’t accrue any interest for you, because the interest goes to Digit to help keep the company functioning.
The Digit savings account is FDIC-insured, so you don’t have to worry about your money disappearing. You can easily transfer money back and forth via text message with Digit. There are some security risks with giving your bank information to a third party, as with Mint, but the company promises bank-level security and does not store your bank login information. This program isn’t technically an app, and after signing up on its website everything is managed by text message. With Digit, you can take the thought out of saving money.
Keep your family’s finances in check with a little help from your closest friend, your smartphone! If you want a more detailed look at your finances and suggestions for ways you can plan ahead, connect with a local Farm Bureau agent and learn more about our financial products.