Often attributed to American Founding Father and leading 18th century intellectual Benjamin Franklin, the saying “A penny saved is a penny earned” still holds sway today, even centuries later. And while Franklin might not have coined the phrase (that honor goes to British poet George Herbert nearly a century before Franklin published a variation of it), this does not make its lesson any less valid. No matter who first uttered it, the saying’s wisdom has stood the test of time and is certainly still worth heeding.
In fact, in a time when modern technology can help consumers save both pennies and dollars with minimal effort, the thrust of the saying’s wisdom might be even more valuable. By using the right money-saving apps, those pennies and dollars saved by reducing costs and increasing savings can add up faster than ever in the digital age.
For those looking for 21st century help to pinch pennies and, over time, see a significant windfall as a result, these five apps can offer valuable assistance in both saving money and building up a substantial cash reserve:
- Digit: For those looking to build up their savings with money they were not aware they could spare; Digit provides an effortless way to get positive financial results without ever having to think about it. After a consumer downloads the app, creates a Digit savings account, and provides details regarding his or her financial goals, the app analyzes the user’s income, spending patterns and other financial habits. Then it automatically moves affordable amounts toward savings, debt repayments and investments. Helping users save an average of $2,500 a year, Digit also provides helpful features such as overdraft protection, a personalized money tracker and unlimited cash-outs without any fees.
Digit is free to use for 30 days, then carries a $5 monthly membership charge. It is available for download for iOS and Android.
- Qapital: This award-winning app takes a behavioral science-based approach to helping users meet their financial goals without having to drastically change the way they live. Designed to accommodate both individual users and couples, Qapital offers a set of checking, savings and investing tools that has helped more than 2 million users begin to “find money happiness,” all via a personalized set of monetary goals and automated money movement. It also helps users create positive and lasting financial well-being by building on the good money habits they already engage in rather than trying to impose new ones.
Qapital offers a 30-day free trial, then costs $3 to $12 a month for plans that help users save an average of $1,500 to $5,000 per year. The app is available for download via the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
- RetailMeNot: Offering one of the internet’s largest and most trusted collections of money-saving coupons, promo codes and discount opportunities, RetailMeNot.com can help consumers score serious savings on everyday expenses like groceries, clothing, restaurants and a long list of other products and services. Users can also gain access to an expansive number of cash-back offers to generate even more savings. With the app in hand, consumers can get easy, instant access to more than 210,000 deals and a wide range of exclusive offers from more than 15,000 brands. And to help users seize even more chances to save, the app offers personalized push notifications when new discounts land for the products and services they are actively seeking.
The free RetailMeNot app is available for download for both for iOS and Android.
- GasBuddy: For regular drivers, filling up the tank can be a big expense and this app can help consumers quickly and easily find the best prices at the pump. Boasting 90 million users, GasBuddy uses crowdsourcing to allow users to report the prices they see for gas of all grades. It then provides the pricing to those who search for it in the app via a pair of display options, including a list of local stations and a map that users can scroll around to locate the best deals in the area (or down the road during a longer journey). Other handy GasBuddy features include an associated fuel card that lets users save up to 25 cents per gallon, an in-app Drives program that helps users improve their driving habits to save gas and money, and a rewards program that helps users earn cash back for use at hundreds of well-known retailers nationwide.
The free GasBuddy app is available for download via the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
- Acorns: This app runs with the “penny saved, penny earned” philosophy mentioned earlier to help its users build savings for their retirement and other future needs by setting aside their spare change. To help consumers gradually build up their own nest egg, Acorns delivers features such as:
– Round-Ups, which rounds all purchases on an associated debit card up to the next dollar and puts the change into a savings account;
– Smart Deposit, which automatically moves a specified portion of every direct deposit the user receives in Acorns Checking into an account created specifically for general investment purposes for investments geared toward building retirement funds or for investing to accommodate kids’ future needs;
– Educational resources such as Acorns’ Money Basics content that helps users grow their knowledge on a range of topics related to investing, retirement, saving, credit and taxes, just to name a few.
The Acorns program offers two plan options, with the personal subscriptions priced at $3 a month and the family plan priced at $5 a month. The app is available for download for iOS and Android.
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