Which app is best for helping you to put away savings regularly?

Best Apps for Automatic Savings

by Dollar Stretcher Contributors

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Best Apps for Automatic Savings

I am trying to get into the habit of regularly putting money in my savings and do not seem to do a good job at sticking with it. Has anyone ever used one of the apps that automatically transfers money from your checking into your savings account? Do you find these constant small transfers make it more difficult to keep your checking account balanced? I don't live paycheck to paycheck, but I don't have a lot of extra cash in my checking at any time, so I do need to be careful. Also, are they secure? Or is it another good way to get bank information hacked? I was just wondering if anyone knew of any pros or cons to these types apps or if there are better ways to automatically build savings. I do not have direct deposit, so I cannot have a part of my paycheck deposited each week.

Easy to Use!

I use Digit on iPhone. It works great and judges the withdrawal based on your bank balance. It starts pretty slow. It's easy to keep track of because it sends you daily text messages with your bank balance. If you want to shut it off, you can do so and turn it back on as you need to or withdraw from it as needed as well. It's an easy app to use and I've really enjoyed it. I've also enjoyed the $267 I've saved in just a few months!

No App Needed

I don't use an app, but here are a few ideas to get money into your savings.

My bank allows me to make scheduled transfers from one account to another. I set up a transfer on payday from my main account to a savings account.

My struggle is keeping the money in the savings. There is always a good reason to spend it! In order to save for a trip at the end of the year, I opened a Christmas Club account at my bank. I will be putting money in there bi-weekly and any bonuses will be deposited there as well. I won't be able to touch it until October, which will be time to pay for my trip. My bank also offers Vacation Clubs, which typically start in the spring to save for the following summer. I may also take advantage of that next year!

Years ago, I had a passbook (not a statement) savings account that I gave to a friend to hold on to for me. She and I would go to the bank to make the deposit together and then she'd hold onto the booklet. That way, I wasn't tempted to take any money out. She's since moved far away, so I no longer do it this way, but it was an effective method to save!

Round Up

Your bank can automatically transfer the amount you choose from your checking to your savings account at whatever preset interval you choose. My credit union also has a round-up program. When I use my debit card, the program rounds up to the next dollar and deposits the change into my savings account. If you're afraid you'll be short when the automatic withdrawal is due, you can cancel it or just transfer the money back to the checking, so outstanding payments will clear. These days, I can check my accounts, make transfers, and even make deposits with my phone, so I know what's going on with my account all the time.

Disappears Before It Is Seen

My daughter's job also does not allow for direct deposit, but she has found a savings system that works for her. She has free checking and savings accounts at a regional bank that has lots of ATMs, branches, and online services. She deposits her whole check into her checking account at an ATM on payday (Thursday). She has a weekly bank transfer set up through her online banking (so no special app, just the regular online banking she can access through her computer or phone) to transfer $20 on Friday of every week from checking to savings. Finally, she has an app on her phone, provided for free by the bank, with which she can check her balances at any time. So, paycheck goes in Thursday night, the bank moves $20 to savings automatically on Friday morning, and before she makes any purchase she looks up her checking balance on the bank's free app. That $20 "disappears" from her balance before she can spend it.
Donna in Ohio

Earn Some Interest

This is not necessarily an app but maybe it will help. It is free and your money actually earns some interest. I have a savings account with Capitol One 360 (formerly ING) online banking. Twice each month, $25 is moved from my checking account to my Capitol One 360 bank account. It is done automatically and I don't notice the withdrawal and hope to increase it this year. You can set up a couple of accounts (Christmas, new washer, etc.) and do the same. Just remember that to get the money takes a couple of days. (You can do a transfer to your regular bank account, but it is not instantaneous.) Hope this helps!

An App with Fantastic Customer Service

A good app I've used for that purpose is called Qapital. It works great with fantastic customer service!

Highly Recommended Savings App

I use the Acorns app and like it very much. I set it to round up all bank transactions to the next dollar. It does this and withdraws the weekly total once each week. (I just round up all my scheduled bills in my spreadsheet to roughly account for the investments in my cash flow forecast.) In our case, this is about $5-10 per week. In 18 months, we have accumulated over $1000 and never missed it. It invests in an index fund. The market has not been great, so we have not earned a huge rate of return, but it is better than a savings account and painless. You can choose your level of risk tolerance and potentially earn more, and the information is displayed in a very simple format. You can also schedule regular amounts or one-time "found money" deposits. Customer service has been great when we needed them. All in all, I highly recommend Acorns.

Saving Can Be Sweet!

I used to work at a company that had an in-house credit union. Although direct deposit was not available to us in our regular pay checks, the firm would withhold whatever amount specified and put it into our credit union savings account. We were paid weekly, so I had them take $1 an hour from my pay. That $40 a week added up quickly and I never missed it at all. After a while, I had enough to pay cash for a classic Ford Mustang an individual was selling. Sweet!
Lynn B.

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