If motivation were all it took to save money, we would all have pretty healthy bank accounts. But often, it’s more than just wanting to save money — it’s coming up with a strategy to make it happen. That’s why we love these apps that make saving money automatic.
When you don’t have to think about how and when to stash away money, you can devote that mental space to other parts of your financial picture — like making sure your 401(k) is maxed out or that you’re on track to buy a house.
Consider adding these apps to your own personal savings strategy arsenal.
Put your credit card and bank account information into Debitize, and money will be automatically deducted from your checking account when you use your credit card. That way, you can use credit cards for everyday purchases to gain points, price protection and other benefits while simultaneously making sure that you have the cash to cover your bill at the end of the month. (Available on iOS, free.)
Truth: Almost every single online retailer has promotion codes running at any given time. Other truth: When you’re rushing through an online purchase, scouring the internet for codes to apply to your order can be time-consuming. That’s why we’re in love with Honey, an extension that automatically chooses the best promo code and applies it to your order at checkout. (Available on Google Chrome and Safari, free.)
Digit tracks your spending habits and finds small amounts of cash it can sock away into savings each day. You can withdraw the cash at any time, but the whole idea centers around the fact that you won’t miss the money. The result: a sweet pile of savings. (Available on iOS and Android, start with a free trial, $2.99 a month after that.)
Any caffeine fiend who’s found herself spending over $10 on java before noon knows that coffee runs can suck up savings like nothing else. Enter Cups, an app that enables you to buy those lattes in advance — and gives you a 15 percent discount for doing so. Plus, this app supports independent coffee shops. (Available on iOS and Android, free.)
You’ve likely heard of the envelope system, where you take out your anticipated weekly expenses in cash and then divide that cash into envelopes. GoodBudget brings that system into the digital age, allowing you to virtually divide your money into different categories. The best part is that you can sync this app with a partner, so you can both see how much you’re spending on shared expenses, like groceries or gas. (Available on iOS and Android, free; $6/month or $50/annually for the plus version.)
Acorns rounds up the spare change from your debit or credit card purchases and invests the money in a diversified portfolio. Of course, it won’t substitute for your 401(k) or Roth IRA, but this app can get you comfortable with the idea of investing and seeing how the market works in real time. Plus, small amounts add up quickly, and you can withdraw your money at any time. (Available on iOS and Android, $1 to $3 per month.)
With a friendly interface that allows you to photograph and upload your receipts, Wally is great for freelancers who expense payments — and anyone else who wants to see how their spending shapes up each month. (Available on iOS and Android, free.)
Have an international circle of friends? Circle – See what we did there? – is a peer-payment app that works internationally and allows you to reimburse folks in Euros, pounds or dollars. This makes it an ideal app to download prior to a vacation abroad. Plus, there are no fees, which can save you big when traveling – and spending – abroad. (Available on iOS, Android, and desktop free.)
Nothing is worse than buying groceries or drugstore supplies based on an amazing in-store offer only to realize that you left your loyalty key card at home. Key Ring eliminates that stomach-sinking feeling by keeping your loyalty cards all in one place – and alerting you of nearby deals. (Available on iOS and Android, free.)
Sometimes, the best way to save money fast is to give up a spending habit, especially if it’s one that may not be healthy, like your 3 p.m. soda run. Quit That keeps you motivated by tallying how much cash you’re saving for each day you go without your vice. (Available on iOS, free.)