We all know that money talks, but wouldn’t it be nice if yours said, “Hey, I think I will stick around for a while.” Or perhaps, “I want to go further for you, and give you more,” instead of just “Goodbye.”
Whether it’s coupon apps, apps that can lead you to great deals, apps to help you save over a certain period, or even apps that help you to invest your savings, we will help you make the most out of what you already bring in or have. And you’ve probably heard a million times about how you should be budgeting or saving more, but now you can get some assistance with the hard part—the how to.
Something that could help you put things in perspective is to track where all your money goes. If you normally take the out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach, you could be in for a surprise, as those little purchases do add up.
Once you gain that understanding, as some of these apps do illustrate, then it’s time to do something about it. You can use these apps to help control your expenses, help you save on what you already were going to purchase, and to make the smartest decisions about where your hard-earned cash goes.
1. Toshl Finance App
This app accommodates your goals. Whether you want to budget on a one-time, daily, weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or annual basis, it can help you determine a better spending plan. It will also remind you when your bills are due, so no more missed payments. Most importantly, it helps you identify areas where you can save, without making it hurt too much.
It will ask you to set a starting date, and then you must enter your income versus your expenses. Toshl does some analysis based on past income and spending trends to determine a realistic plan. You can start your new budget effective today, or you can wait a few months until you have a collection of data to determine average amounts of earning/spending. Toshl will help you gain a more accurate assessment of how much money you have left to spend or save after you satisfy your obligations, so there will be fewer surprises and shortcomings.
If you are a visual person, the interface itself isn’t anything too outstanding, but the app does provide a macro view of your money flows and many data visualization tools, such as bubble graphs, pie charts, and even an expense location map. The app isn’t necessarily what we’d call fancy, but it does make things easy to understand, and doesn’t leave you trying to sort out any abstract concepts. The Toshl web app looks great on tablets. You can get the Toshl Android or desktop app for free, or there is also a paid Pro desktop version.
Download: Toshl Finance Budget & Expense
Download: Toshl Finance Web App
Download: Sign Up for Toshl Pro
This app may be the most effective of the five apps to save you money, long-term. You probably already know that some people earn significant revenue streams or even live off their investments, but that might seem like an option only available for the very wealthy.
Although it certainly does help to have money already to make more money, you can still put whatever amount of money you have to work for you. If you are ready to go to the next step beyond saving or just want your savings to be utilized wisely, consider investing. And if investing seems like it requires a degree in Finance to understand, allow the Acorns app to help you.
The app helps you create your very own diversified portfolio where you can give even modest savings a home where it won’t be lying stagnant. Keep in mind that even if you store savings in an account with a very low-interest rate, you could be losing money due to rising interest rates, so investing very well can be the way to go. But how does this app help you save? Ironically, it can help you turn each purchase into a savings opportunity.
Acorns works by asking you to associate the cards and accounts that you use for your everyday purchases. Your only duty is to continue to make those purchases, but the app will round each purchase up to the nearest dollar and invest the difference automatically.
Your savings will be spread over at least 7,000 stocks and bonds, and Acorns will ask you some questions initially to determine which ones would best fit your income, net worth, and risk tolerance. You aren’t limited to saving just the round-ups either—you can contribute additional one-time or recurrent amounts to your investments.
Download: Acorns – Invest Spare Change
Download: Acorns Web Registration
3. ShopSavvy Barcode Deal Scanner
Ever find yourself at a store, perhaps unexpectedly, and realize you haven’t done your research on what’s for sale? You can still arm yourself with your personal shopping assistant and compare prices to the web and at other stores. ShopSavvy allows you to do so by scanning the barcode of most products with your phone’s camera. You can also sign up for an integrated service called Purch Perks to earn cash back and get more coupons.
Stores include Kohls, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Kmart, Walmart, Overstock, Target, Forever 21, Best Buy, Express, CVS, Old Navy, and we won’t continue to list them all because there are about 40,000 in all. If you are going to download any of the five apps to save you money, you might as well download this one because you probably frequent some or most of these stores anyway.
You can sign up to receive emails for the items you have scanned with links to where you can find the best prices. A feature called WATCHING will keep you apprised of any price decreases on items you’ve searched for or scanned. The scan function usually works well and is mostly accurate and speedy, but you’ll occasionally run into this annoying message: No information on this product.
This can happen even when you aren’t scanning an item that is something obscure; it sometimes happens with products like Lays potato chips, and can be frustrating. To its credit, it does give you a tip that scanning is intended for higher value items—$10 and up. The app does mostly prove itself to be a worthy companion, and can also help you be more organized with your shopping by helping you create lists.
It’s still extremely useful, but I really could have used something like this when I first started out as a young adult, not as familiar with how much many items typically cost. I grimace to think how many times I have paid too much for something just because I didn’t know any better.
Download: ShopSavvy Barcode Deal Scanner
Download: ShopSavvy Website Sign Up
Whether you are a diehard coupon addict, or this is your first and only venture into the coupon app world, RetailMeNot is the one to have. This is where you will find coupon codes, gift card deals, product deals, printable coupons, exclusive offers, and free shipping. It contains deals from 50,000+ retailers. You can see what’s trending and receive personalized recommendations.
The app also supplies you with deals from thousands of eating establishments. You can redeem the coupons directly from your Android. If there are specific stores or restaurants you are interested in, you can create a list and receive alerts on any new offers. You can also search by item or category.
Specify your location to receive deals nearby, or look for international coupons if you choose. During the holidays, there is a section wholly devoted to seasonal deals. There’s a good chance you may rarely pay full price again. You can also submit coupons to share with others, and the app will even track how much money you have helped people save.
Download: RetailMeNot Coupons, Discounts
5. Money Lover – Money Manager
Isn’t it amazing how much easier it is to spend your money than it is to acquire it? And what happens when you don’t have any plan for where your money is supposed to go? It can seem like it might as well be scattered to the winds. You do need a budget if you want to get serious about saving.
You also need to be able to keep track of expenses, debt, and bills. These are things you can’t avoid (your creditors won’t let you), and it’s best to maintain awareness of them. Money Lover – Money Manager helps you to do these things, and it also helps you monitor and stick to your savings plans.
If you treat your savings like you do your budget, bills, expenses, and debts—in other words, it’s mandatory—you will save more money for your future, and this app will help make it possible. This app is one of the highest and most rated of our 5 apps to save you money.
Download: Money Lover – Money Manager
Download: Money Lover on the Web
Who wouldn’t turn down more opportunities to save? And who thinks that their future self (at which point you may be too old to work) wouldn’t enjoy the savings? And yet people do it all the time, including turning down full employer matching on retirement savings. And the reason is often that people think they can’t squeeze any more savings out of their income, or that it would be too painful a sacrifice.
We have just shown you five ways in which this doesn’t have to be the case. And if one app seems like too much work, or just isn’t your cup of tea, utilizing some of the others is bound to have some effect on your finances.
Do be careful with deals and coupons, and don’t allow them to cause you to purchase what you would otherwise put towards savings. But if you are going to buy it anyway, why not get the best deal?
Which apps have helped you succeed the most in saving? Which apps are the easiest to use?