Trials N Tresses

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Do Money Saving Apps Really Work?

money saving apps

FTC: This post is not sponsored but does contain affiliate links. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Guest post written by: Asia N. Boyd 

I am a 26 year old single woman, working full time making $48000 a year, paying rent in NYC and trying to save money. So when this year began I started looking at cutting costs. I started brown bagging it to work more often, and decided I could live without Brazilians. Now as most New Year’s Resolutions go, in the beginning there was so much conviction and I was so disciplined. By April, that discipline was out the window. I didn’t feel like cooking and kept thinking why should I subject myself to itching after shaving?! I work too hard to shave my own hair! My goal was to save $7300, which I am happy to report, I’m only $1000 shy, mostly due to my income tax return.

I did okay in those first 4 months. I was saving 10% of each check and following a savings plan which I will share. Fast forward to August, saving came to a complete stand still. I went to Chicago and Europe, and bought a bag that cost me over $1000. AND I now have about $2000 in credit card debt. (Good job Asia!) My best friend comes into our group chat and suggests that we try Acorns, which I’ll explain shortly. So as I’m referring people to Acorns, another friend says she uses Qapital. I’m like great! I’ll try them both. Then I vaguely remember reading about Digit so I think to myself why the hell not try all three. So here’s the breakdown of what really happened to my bank account and savings plan?

Do Money Saving Apps Work?

Acorns rounds all your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests them in penny stocks. The most I’ve ever gained was a quarter but the most I’ve ever lost is also a quarter. What I love about Acorns is that it waits until you’ve hit over $5 in spare change before it makes a withdrawal from your account so you’re not constantly getting withdrawals. I also referred 2 friends and got a $5 referral credit for each. On top of that! For referring them both within one month, Acorns gave me another $25. The only downfall is that, the money goes into stocks so you can lose some, but if the most I ever lose is a quarter, that I cant really be mad right?!

Qapital also rounds all your purchases, however it gives you the option of rounding to the nearest $1 or $2. (I chose the $1 option) what really attracted me to this app is that you can make a joint savings goal with a friend if they also have the app and save together. No fear! If you decide to do it with your boo and things don’t work out, both parties can only withdraw what they’ve put in. So I decided to do it with my boyfriend. (we saved in a shoe box last year for our upcoming trip to Jamaica this year.) You and all your referrals get $5 added so we started with $10 right away. What I don’t like about this app is that is withdraws your spare change every single day so I am constantly seeing transactions. But here’s what I learned to love about it this week. I had a scheduled withdrawal of $3.40 (I swipe my card a lot!) but my account was at less than $100 so Qapital emailed me and said they would pause that transaction and any other withdrawals until I had over $100 so I wouldn’t overdraft. Mega bonus points because overdraft fees are a hassle and I don’t want to have to worry that saving is now costing me.

Digit analyzes your account to see what your spending habits are like and withdrawals what it thinks you can afford to save. Between the synopsis Apple gives you and the reviews, what I took from it is that once a week, Digit will withdrawal anywhere from $2-$17. I was wrong and I’ve also deleted Digit. The purpose of all of these apps are to save a little, whether it be because you don’t have a lot to save or you don’t have discipline. Digit began withdrawing from my account everyday which would be ok because Qapital does also. My concern came when my account had $17 in it and Digit decided I could afford to save around $4. I read reviews that Digit had overdrawn peoples’ accounts so I decided to go in my settings and see what I could do or change. Digit doesn’t have settings, you can’t tell it how often to save, you can just pause it from taking anything for X amount of days. Digit also does not have a customer service number so when I realized it may overdraw me, I got antsy and thus disconnected my account and deleted the app.

Final Thoughts: Overall, Acorns is my favorite, nothing really bad to say. Qapital is great for combined savings without the commitment of an actual joint savings account at a bank. Digit I’m over, if you’re a person like me that’s sort of living direct deposit to direct deposit then you also don’t have time for these worries. I am looking forward to a new app I found, Robinhood. Robinhood lets you watch whatever stocks you want, it’s very simple for someone like me that knows nothing about stocks. I just looked up everything I love or spend too much time on. My list has 25 stocks so I figured I’ll buy 1 share of 1 stock from every paycheck and in a year, own a share from them all. No promises on this, with stocks like Amazon and Google costing $700+, I don’t foresee me buying those anytime soon but it’s a goal!

Have you used any of these app saving methods before? What was your experience like?

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