7 Free Apps We’ve Put to the Test to Save, Invest and Manage Our Money Every Day
A lot of apps exist to help you manage your finances.
We know — we learn about new ones every day.
And we know you don’t really have time to sift through the App Store and compare them all to find just the right one.
So we decided to save you a little time and tell you which money management apps we’ve actually tried out. They might not all be perfect for you, but at least you know these have been put to the test.
Money Management Apps Penny Hoarders Love
Here are some money management apps we’ve tried — and love:
1. Get a Free Assistant to Negotiate Your Bills
On the phone with your cell phone or internet provider, trying to haggle a lower monthly bill?
Go ahead and hang up. (We know you’re probably listening to crappy music while sitting on hold, anyway.)
Download TrueBill, an app that’ll negotiate your bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions and refund your bank fees.
After downloading the app, create an account and link your bank account and/or credit cards. Turn on the bill negotiation and outage protection features. Boom. TrueBill is already searching for potential refunds — it might get you a refund even when you didn’t know an outage occurred.
On average, Truebill customers get $12 in credits off their cable bills each month.
The app will also remind you of all those sneaky subscriptions you’ve signed up for through the years, so you can cancel what you don’t use and reclaim your monthly budget.
Signing up and using the service is free, though there are some paid premium services that are totally optional — but could totally be worth it.
2. Let This App Spot You a Few Bucks When You Need It
It’s happened to all of us at some point — the dreaded overdraft. It’s not only embarrassing if your card gets declined at the grocery store over a few bucks, but the fees that come with it only put you further into a hole. Double yikes.
But a banking app called Chime wants to protect you from both of those problems with its SpotMe® feature1. It’s a fee-free overdraft protection that lets you overdraft up to $2001 (for eligible members) without penalty.
Yep. Just sign up for a free Chime checking account and set up a qualifying $200 monthly direct deposit to take advantage of this face-saving tool. You’ll also get access to other sweet features, like getting paid up to two days2 earlier with direct deposit, help automatically growing your savings and access to more than 60,000 fee-free3 ATMs.
Signing up takes just a few minutes. You’ll need your Social Security number handy — but don’t worry, your information is protected by bank-level security, FDIC insurance and two-factor authentication.
3. Invest Your Spare Change
It’s no brilliant secret that investing can be a smart way to make money.
Sometimes, though, it feels restricted to a few wealthy elite.
But these apps are different.
If you’re like most of us and wish your money would just take care of itself, consider starting an investment account through Acorns.
You can start small and stack up change over time with its “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $10.23 at the grocery store, 77 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account. Then, the app does the whole investing thing for you.
Acorns is $1 a month for balances under $1 million, and you’ll get a $5 bonus when you sign up.
The Stash app curates investments from professional fund managers and investors and lets you choose where to put your money — but it leaves the complicated investment terms out of it.
You just choose from a set of simple portfolios reflecting your beliefs, interests and goals.
Bonus: Right now, The Penny Hoarder is teaming up with Stash to give you an extra $5 after your first investment.
4. Play the Slots — and Bank $5 for Your Savings Account
Are you more of the “sit at home and play video games” type of person but you’re making yourself read this because you’re determined to get this adulting thing down?
The folks who created Long Game have you covered with a game that’s fun and helps you achieve your financial goals.
As you save and accomplish missions you’ll earn coins to play mini games for cash prizes! We’re talking the classics, like slot machines, scratch-offs and spin-to-win wheels.
Penny Hoarder Carson Kohler uses Long Game to save money. Every two weeks, it sneaks $5 out of her bank account and rewards her with coins.
In two months, she’s saved $35.70, just by playing games on her phone. Plus, her winnings amount to a gain of about 2% — way higher than interest on any other savings account she has.
Once you link your bank account, you’ll earn 300 coins, so you can start playing while you wait for payday.
5. Get a Cute Financial Assistant to Help You Save Money
A personal finance assistant would be nice… and a cute one would be even better, huh? *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*
Meet Charlie. He’s a money-saving penguin. Unfortunately, he’s not here to bring delight to your household with belly flops and fin hugs. Rather, he lives in your SMS text messages or Facebook Messenger (your choice, though Charlie is more fun and reliable on Messenger).
He’s not only cute. He’s also going to help you save money. Charlie offers help with a little bit of everything, including:
- Finding you free money by making sure you’re getting the best deals around (ahem, overpaying $24 a month on that cell phone bill?).
- Helping you avoid unnecessary extra charges by reminding you when you have a bill due.
- Tracking your spending, so you can see that, hey, maybe you need to hold back from eating out so much (but Charlie won’t judge either way!).
- Reminding you when it’s time to save and how much you can afford to put away.
Getting acquainted with Charlie is easy. When you click “get started” on its homepage, you can opt into chatting via text or Facebook Messenger, and follow his prompts. You’ll connect your bank account or credit card (or both) so he can get to work.
Oh, and he’s free! Thanks, little dude.
6. Protect Your Credit Score
Your credit score is important. The better your score, the better deal you’ll get on a mortgage, car loan or credit card. We’re talking big money here.
Even if you’re not buying a house anytime soon, a lousy credit score means you’ll get hit with a high security deposit whenever you rent a car or move into a new apartment.
But did you know your credit score could be inaccurate? One out of five credit reports have an error, according to a study by the Federal Trade Commission.
To keep a closer eye on your credit, get your credit score and a “credit report card” for free from Credit Sesame. It breaks down exactly what’s on your credit report in layman’s terms, how it affects your score and how to address it.
Because it simplifies everything, you should be able to spot any errors. For instance, if you find an “unpaid” credit card that you know you paid, or a bill in collections you know never existed, you can dispute the incorrect information and raise your credit score.
7. Lower Your Interest Rates
If you have credit card debt, you know. The anxiety, the interest rates, the fear you’re never going to escape…
And the truth is, your credit card company doesn’t really care. It’s just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne wants to help.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.99% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
AmOne keeps your information confidential and secure, which is probably why after 20 years in business, it still has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.
Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.
1 Chime SpotMe is an optional service that requires a single deposit of $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to the Chime Checking Account each month. All qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their account up to $20 on debit card purchases and cash withdrawals initially, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on member’s Chime Account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. Your limit will be displayed to you within the Chime mobile app. You will receive notice of any changes to your limit. Your limit may change at any time, at Chime’s discretion. Although there are no overdraft fees, there may be out-of-network or third party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe won’t cover non-debit card transactions, including ACH transfers, Pay Anyone transfers, or Chime Checkbook transactions. See Terms and Conditions.
2Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
3 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.