Building a savings is not only nice to have, it’s a necessity in today’s uncertain economic climate. However, putting aside money for savings can be a challenge for many of us. Whether it’s due to living paycheck-to-paycheck, more expenses than there is a paycheck, or simply not having the discipline to set funds aside, many people have given up on the thought of a savings and are content on simply surviving on what they have. If you find yourself in this category, then this article is for you.
The advent of digital commerce has created a plethora of savings opportunities for the undisciplined saver. Here is a list of the top four savings programs that help to enable those that cannot seem to build savings with traditional methods and makes savings completely autonomous.
Digit works by analyzing your bank account and expenses. Once it has established a trend, it will make deposits to an FDIC-insured account based on what funds you have remaining after your expenses have been paid, typically between $5 and $35, every couple of days. The automatic savings deposits make Digit great for those that have difficulties in depositing savings themselves. The service is free for the first 100-days but a fee of $2.99 is charged monthly after the free period. Another great feature of Digit is how fast money is deposited back into your bank account once you make a withdraw. In the event of a financial emergency, you can expect your deposit the next business day.
The downside to Digit is that you will have to keep an eye on your checking account since the amount withdrawn can vary week-to-week. If your account is overdrawn because of a withdrawal made by Digit, they will refund the overdraft up to two times. The app lets you set a minimum account balance that will prevent Digit from making withdrawals once your account falls to a specific amount. Another drawback to this app is that you do not earn interest on what you save, the company that runs Digit keeps the interest your funds have earned.
Qapital works in the same fashion as Digit but allows for more control. You can establish various “rules” that control your automated savings. An example of one of the rules is that you can tell Qapital to roundup charges to the next dollar amount when you use your credit or debit card and deposit that excess into your FDIC-insured Qapital account. Qapital also lets you make lump sum deposits, great for when you have extra funds available. Other great features of Qapital include additional rules for increasing and controlling your savings and a social feature that lets your friends and family track your progress and to help encourage your savings growth.
While there are no fees associated with using Qapital, your savings will not collect interest. As with Digit, Qapital keeps the interest earned on your account as payment for providing you with their services. However, if you are the non-saver that is tech-savvy, this is the app for you.
If you want an autonomous way to save that will allow for more investment options, take a look at Acorns.com. Even though Acorns rounds your purchase to the nearest dollar like Qapital, it is different in that it is actually an investment app and not simply a savings platform. The money Acorn saves for you is placed into an investment platform and unlike Qapital and Digit, you keep the returns you make on the investments. The cost to use this app is only $1 per month as long as your account balance remains below $5,000. Once you have over $5,000 in your Acorn account, Acorn takes ¼ of a percent of your account balance. An additional bonus to using Acorns is that if you make a purchase from one of their partner companies, such as Blue Apron and Hulu, the company will give a percentage of your purchase back to your Acorns account.
The downside to Acorns is that your account balance may go down since this is an investment platform and dips in the market where your money has been allocated will cause a decline. Also, withdrawing money from your account isn’t exactly fast. When you request for electronic funds transfer your invested shares have to be sold to cover the withdraw. However, if you’re serious about saving and investing but lack the discipline to do so, you might want to give Acorns a once over.
The final app we are going to cover, Stash, is another investment platform for the non-saver that really wants to build savings. Stash will “stash” your money into investments that will help you to achieve your desired goals. One of the best things about this app is that you can start with only $5 and they will match your initial $5 deposit. They also make investing super easy to understand so you don’t have to worry about a large amount of invest lingo that can be very confusing to the new investor.
The fee for using Stash is pretty much the same as the fees you see with Acorns. Your first month is free but after that, you will have to pay $1 a month until your account balance reaches $5,000. At that point, your fee will be ¼ of a percent of your account balance. Besides the service fee, you will not have to pay any management fees or any other fees you would find on traditional investing sites.
There you have it, four apps that can help even the non-saver build savings for future needs. So long as you let it grow and don’t touch it, you should have no problems breaking the trend of not having a savings account, like nearly 50 percent of the adult American population. Good luck and feel free to leave any feedback.