With the rising cost of living across Australia, saving money is tough for many of us.
With so many Aussies in the same financial boat, the mobile industry has exploded with clever personal finance apps designed for both Android and iOS smartphones. These include apps that make saving goal amounts easy, apps that categorise and break down your spending habits, and apps that invest your spare change wisely.
EFM’s pick of the five best money saving apps are a first step towards the path to financial freedom.
One of the App Store’s top finance apps, Pocketbook makes it easy to set money saving goals. Designed to link up with your personal banking app, Pocketbook automatically sorts your spending into relevant categories so that it’s easy to see where your spending may be a little OTT. Everyday essentials like fuel and groceries are categorised - as are shopping sprees - and you can set limits for each category. According to Pocketbook, 350,000 Aussies are using their app to get ahead financially. Are you on board?
Raiz (previously named Acorns) is an investment app that helps you turn spare change into easy to understand investments. Known as a “micro-investing app”, Raiz is easy to understand and targeted at young people and families who are beginners in the world of investing. Users download the app and link their bank accounts, then allocate their spare change into deposits to Raiz. Raiz then takes the pooled deposits and buys units in an Exchange Traded Fund (ETF). The app explains it all better than we can, but with over half a million users joining in three years, it’s a smart way to direct your spare change to expert-recommended investments.
Another user-friendly personal finance app, Digit is easy to use and automatically does the saving for you. This isn’t a free app - it costs $2.99 per month - but according to many user testimonials, it’s a small price to pay for their return on investment. By linking your bank account to Digit, this clever app then uses algorithms to track your spending, understand it and recommend what you can save based on your income and spending habits. Digit then skims what you can save into a Digit account. A lot of users love Digit as the amounts are so small they often forget it’s been transferred to their savings. The average amount invested is around $18 a week, which means that in a year you will have a cool $936 saved without even batting an eye.
Qapital is a personal finance app that encourages money saving much like others do - with a twist. After downloading the app and setting up your account, you then set savings goals and “rules”. These “rules” you can set are interesting and actually kind of fun! For example, if you buy your morning skinny latte for $4.50, Qapital rounds the purchase up to the nearest dollar ($5). The difference of $0.50 is then invested into your Qapital savings account. The app can also connect to your social media and personal fitness apps - 180 different apps in fact. You can even set a rule that if you hit your 10,000 step goal you automatically deposit a set amount. A double whammy designed to turn your life around. You make the rules!
Part of the Australian Government’s MoneySmart initiative, TrackMySPEND is a spending tracker app that records your weekly expenses while allowing you to call the shots. It’s a simple saving app that has everything you need to get ahead. Set spending limits, receive text reminders, categorise your spending and, perhaps most helpfully, differentiate between “needs” and “wants” when spending.
In addition to these five fantastic money saving apps, most major banks apps now have the option to categorise your spending, as well as other educational perks.