The 7 Best Money-Saving Apps of 2018

Everyone likes to save money; these apps make it easy

A man using his smartphone app to save and make money.

 Chaiyawat Sripimonwan / EyeEm

While it's always a good idea to consult a financial advisor before making any major money decisions, there are now loads of apps that can help you save money on a day-to-day basis whether you're looking for a convenient way to build up your savings with leftover change or are curious about using your smartphone or tablet to make minor investments.

Here are nine of the best money saving apps on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets that can get you discounts when shopping, help you manage your finances, and get you started saving effectively.

Acorns investing app on Android.

Acorns

Acorns, also called Raiz in some regions, is a popular savings and investing app on iOS and Android devices. After connecting your bank account and cards, Acorns rounds up all of your transactions to the nearest dollar and puts the difference into your Acorns account.

This loose change is then invested into one of five Acorns-managed portfolios, which you get to select, and has the potential to increase in value over time. Given the nature of the stock market, it does admittedly have the potential to decrease in value too.

After the initial setup, all of the saving and investing happens in the background in a truly automated fashion which makes Acorns a good option for those who have trouble motivating themselves or remembering to set aside some money every month.

What We Like

  • Acorns' automated savings feature makes saving money very easy.
  • A great tool for getting new investors interested in buying shares.

What We Don't Like

  • Selection of investment options are limited.
  • $1 monthly fee can be expensive if you're only investing a few bucks a month.

Available on: iOS, Android, and web.

Mint money app on Android.

 Mint

Mint is an app that collects your banking and investment data all in one place to give you an easy-to-understand overview of your finances. Mint can track your bills, payments, and other transactions while setting savings goals for you to work towards.

In addition to presenting all of your financial information, the Mint apps can detect your credit score and display it for you in a graph along with actionable tips for improving it. All data is rendered in stylish charts with large text making it easy to tell where all of your money is, what it's doing, and where there's room for improvement.

What We Like

  • The iOS Mint app can display account balances and credit scores on the Apple Watch.
  • Beautifully designed UI that makes financial data easy to understand.

What We Don't Like

  • Mint requires iOS 10 or above which means that it won't work on older Apple devices.
  • Data can take a while to sync on Android devices.

Available on: iOS, Android, and web.

Groupon savings app on Android.

 Groupon

Groupon has almost become a household name due to its popularity and with good reason. This coupon app has a huge presence in the USA and abroad and offers an enormous number of coupons for almost everything from restaurant meals to cultural experiences.

Using the Groupon app is completely free and all you need to do is present the chosen Groupon coupon when purchasing the selected product or service to get the discount. The savings offered by Groupon aren't small either with examples of the type of coupons available including $140 off of a mattress topper, $15 off of Lindt chocolates, a three months free subscription for the Pandora Premium music streaming service, and $40 off of an Apple Watch band.

What We Like

  • Features money-saving coupons for numerous cities and countries.
  • Discount coupons for clothing, eating out, events, and more.

What We Don't Like

  • The iOS app is limited to Apple devices running iOS 10 and up.
  • Can be very difficult to contact support from within the Groupon app.

Available on: iOS, Android, and web.

Qapital savings app on Android.

 Qapital

Qapital is a neobank, a bank that's run purely digitally via smartphone and tablet apps and has no physical branches that you can visit. The Qapital apps allow you to fund your Qapital account with your existing bank account, manage balances and transfers, and even gain interest on your funds as you would with a regular bank.

What sets Qapital apart from its rivals, though, is its gamification of goal-oriented savings through the implementation of applets (small, mini apps). Each applet can be set up to transfer a set amount of money to a savings goal when a specific requirement is met. You can have some money put aside when you meet a fitness goal or when your favorite sports team wins. You can even set an applet up so your account transfers money towards your goal when a specific person tweets or when it begins to rain.

What We Like

  • The savings applets make reaching financial goals much more engaging.
  • Qapital sends you a free debit card which can be used to access your funds when offline.

What We Don't Like

  • Those who already have numerous bank accounts may not want to open yet another one.
  • Qapital isn't for those who like to visit their bank in person.

Available on: iOS and Android.

Digit savings app on iPhone.

 Digit

Digit is similar to Acorns and Qapital in that it can connect to an existing bank account and make small transactions towards a savings goal. While Acorns and Qapital require users to specify certain criteria before money is moved, Digit uses a special algorithm that analyzes your spending habits, the amount of money in your accounts, and transaction times and calculates a unique number to set aside.

Deposits towards your savings goal happen continually throughout the month at varying amounts but only happen when the system detects that you can afford it. Digit is a set and forget app for saving money and is ideal for those that often get stressed about bank account management.

What We Like

  • Users can create as many savings goals as they want.
  • All of the money transferring happens automatically without any input require by the user.

What We Don't Like

  • Digit charges a $2.99 monthly fee after the first month.
  • You won't earn any monthly interest rate with Qapital.

Available on: iOS and Android.

Shoeboxed app on iPad.
Shoeboxed

Shoeboxed, also called SquirrelSheet in Australia and New Zealand, is an app designed to save you money by helping you keep track of your expenses for claiming on your tax return, filing in an expense report, or giving to a client.

The Shoeboxed app works by using the camera on your iOS or Android device to take a photo of a paper receipt and then extracts all of the expense, payment method, date, and location information from it and saves it digitally. This data can then be sent in an email or exported as an Excel document or other file format. Information from all scanned receipts can also be searched for from within the app or on the Shoeboxed website which is very convenient for when trying to match expenses with an item or date.

What We Like

  • Data can sync to the Shoeboxed website for easy access on a computer.
  • App looks great on smartphones and has a very low learning curve.

What We Don't Like

  • Shoeboxed requires a $4.99 monthly fee for 25 document scans or $9.99 for 50.
  • The app simply stretches when viewed on a tablet and doesn't make use of the extra screen real estate.

Available on: iOS, Android, and web.

Swagbucks app on Android.

 Swagbucks

Swagbucks is a popular free service that can be used to earn gift certificates for major retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Nike. By using the smartphone apps or the website, you can earn points by completing surveys, watching videos, or shopping through their referral links.

These points, referred to as Swagbucks, can then in turn be redeemed for gift certificates and that's really all there is to it. Something that's particularly cool is that you can redeem Swagbucks for a PayPal gift certificate which is essentially extra money that you can spend on anything such as groceries or a holiday or deposited into your savings account for a rainy day.

What We Like

  • A good variety of activities for earning points.
  • A lot of major brands participate in Swagbuck campaigns and rewards.

What We Don't Like

  • Watching a video on older devices can often freeze the app or cause it to crash.
  • You'll need to use Swagbucks on a very regular basis to earn gift certificates of significant value.

Available on: iOS, Android, and web.