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These days there is no shortage in apps for all areas of life, especially personal finance!
The apps I mention below I’ve been using for years or I’ve discovered them recently and I think they’re awesome!
Acorns is an app for investing in the stock market even if you don’t have a clue what you’re doing. The app will do it for you! You will create a portfolio based on your financial situation and goals and from there your “risk factor” will be determined. For example, because I am young and have a steady income I have a ‘Moderately Aggressive’ portfolio, meaning I am open to making more risky investments.
From there you will start investing and there are a number of ways you can do that
1) Round-ups: After you link your bank account and whichever other cards you want to, your purchases can be rounded up to the nearest dollar (or more, you decide) and invested. From round-ups alone I invest $40-$50 each month which I don’t even notice!
2) Recurring Investments: You can choose to set up recurring investments in whatever amount you want. I have $5 invested every Thursday!
3) One-time investments: Did you make some extra income this month? Perfect, invest any amount you would like to at any time!
4) Found money: When you shop with some brands, a percentage will be invested from your purchase. I have yet to invest with this tactic but I think it’s genius!
5) Referrals: Refer your friends/family and when they invest you get $5 and they get $5! Sometimes they even offer WAY more. For example, on time I saw that if you invite 7 friends within 2 weeks and they start investing, Acorns will invest $500!!
Acorns has a few other investing strategies such as an Acorns debit card and Acorns Later.
The best part? Unlike some investments/mutual funds you can withdraw your investments AND gains at anytime! Of course the best investment strategy is to be consistent and allow it to grow long-term, but if an emergency comes up you can withdraw some cash.
It does cost $1/month or it is free if you are under 24 and in college, which I think is well worth it! Just remember that investing in ETFs and stocks mean what goes up must come down. Sometimes you will lose money, sometimes you will gain money depending on the market which is why it is important to invest long-term.
I’ve been using IBotta for years and it’s amazing. You can save money AFTER going shopping and the app has a wide variety of stores and products. The app is free and very easy to set up. After you go shopping, browse through their coupons and if you purchased any items that you see you simply add that coupon. They even have an “any item” coupon for $0.25 which adds up over time…an extra 25 cents each weeks makes $13 for the year!
Once you’ve added everything, you’ll take a photo of your receipt, scan the bar codes of the items you purchased (if necessary), and that’s it! Once everything gets approved the money gets added to your account (takes less than 24 hours).
You have to reach $20 to withdraw cash into PayPal or Venmo and they also have a number of gift cards available to choose from. I’ve earned a total of $101 so far! If you use my link to sign up you get a $10 welcome bonus!
I’ve actually never seen anyone talk about ReceiptHog online so I’m not even sure where I heard about it. I’ve also had ReceiptHog for years and you simply take a photo of your receipts and earn coins for them. These coins can then be redeemed for cash.
There are also surveys available to earn more coins. When you upload receipts weekly you’ll advance to higher levels, each of which you’ll receive coin bonuses. Also, when you upload receipts each week you’ll receive spins for “Slots.” It’s like a little slot machine and 3 of the same icons means more coins or cash if you get lucky!
ReceiptHog definitely takes longer to earn money, but I’ve redeemed $30 in about one year. I’m the type of person who thinks that every penny helps!
Before Acorns, I used Qapital for effortlessly saving money. I still think it’s a great app which is why I wanted to share it. Plus, it’s a great savings tool without the stock market risk! Similar to Acorns, Qapital rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar (or more). You can also add cash at any time to save more.
You can create goals for your savings (vacation, new car, emergency savings, etc.) and set up different saving rules for each goal.
It looks like Qapital has decided to jump on the investing train as well. They have a waitlist for Qapital Invest and it looks like they have a debit card as well.
Qapital is free to use, you can withdraw your cash at any time, and when you refer friends you’ll both receive $5 when they deposit cash.
I loooovvee Credit Karma, I check it almost every day even though I know my credit only updates every 5 days or so. Credit Karma is a free credit monitoring app (and website) that displays ALL of your debt in one place. Once you fill in your information they are able to track all of your open/closed accounts through Equifax and Transunion. You can see a breakdown of each debt, your payment history, and all 6 credit factors. Your credit factors are your credit card utilization, your payment history, derogatory marks, age of credit history, total accounts, and hard inquiries.
There’s also a rating bar in each category that shows you where you stand (red zone, orange zone, yellow zone, and green zone) and how far/close you are to getting into the green zone.
My favorite feature is using the credit score simulator tool, where you can see how much your credit would increase/decrease if you paid off $3000 of debt for example, or closed an old credit card, or even if a credit application was denied.
Credit Karma does offer some good suggestions, such as paying off a certain amount of debt, but they also promote opening a new credit card/applying for a personal loan all the time which I don’t agree with.
It’s the perfect tool though to organize and keep track of all of your accounts without having to enter anything in manually!
As of September 2018, these are the apps that I use and trust on a consistent basis! It’s pretty cool that apps like this exist to make and save money, even if it’s just a few bucks.