A savings account is a big step toward financial stability. Not only does it provide a safe and accessible place for an emergency fund, but it can also earn you a nice little interest kickback. Opening a savings account is easy. Banks love it when you do, so we’re always eager to smooth out that process. Saving enough money to keep it stocked is up to you, and it’s not always so easy. So, without further ado, here are six helpful apps that make saving easier than ever.

Building your savings account in 2020

At Helix by Lead Bank, we never stop talking about the importance of a tight personal budget. Every dollar you have coming in should be assigned a task: Pay rent, cover groceries, save up for that new phone. And one of those tasks should be to build up your savings account. Financial planning expert Dave Ramsey suggests that you should keep an emergency fund equivalent to three months of your normal salary in savings, should you be unexpectedly out of work for a while. 

Obviously, a fund like that takes time to save up. Time and discipline. And that’s where these helpful budgeting apps come in. Each has unique features that offer you a new perspective on your budget. You don’t need to use all of them, but you can try them out and see which works best for you. 

1. Long Game

Let’s start off with something fun. When you save money through Long Game, you’ll earn virtual, in-app coins. You can then spend these on mobile games that offer actual monetary rewards. Long Game partners with several banks and you can deposit your rewards directly into your savings account. There’s even a little interest boost through the app. Android/Apple.

2. Acorns

Investing. You know you should do it, but it’s a little terrifying. You don’t have the cash to pay a financial advisor, the time to get a doctorate in finance, or the thousands of dollars you need to start a stock portfolio or retirement fund. But if you have a smartphone and $1 per month, you can start investing with Acorns. 

Basically, Acorns takes the “spare change” of your purchases and rolls it into an investment portfolio. So if you buy a delicious bacon cheeseburger for $8.75, the extra 25 cents goes straight to your portfolio. You can choose to invest in a stock portfolio or a retirement fund, with the micro-investments slowly adding up over time.

Acorns even partnered with many major brands like Nike, Airbnb, Sephora, and Dollar Shave Club to offer you rewards for spending with them. These are like cashback rewards, but instead of getting the cashback, they’ll automatically roll into your investments. Android/Apple.

3. Tip Yourself

This simple, elegant app is all about building a habit of saving money bit by bit every day. With Tip Yourself, you set small savings goals and work toward them, throwing a couple of dollars into each goal whenever you get the chance. It’s all about those tiny, incremental amounts that add up to something much bigger. Android/Apple.

4. Mint

One of the most popular budgeting apps of the last several years, Mint offers a comprehensive look at your spending life. Mint will automatically categorize your purchases for you, with plenty of information to help you track your spending. Where did you exceed your spending limits for the month? Where were you under budget?

Mint, which is owned by Intuit of TurboTax fame, has been around for years, and what started as a simple budgeting app has grown into a fully comprehensive manager for your financial life. Investments, credit score checking, bill tracking. You name it, Mint has it. Android/Apple.

5. EveryDollar

Founded by Dave Ramsey’s organization, EveryDollar is focused on that crucial principle of the zero-based budget. Basically, assign every dollar you get, because if you don’t, the money will slip away. You’ll end up spending it thoughtlessly on something you don’t need. 

Like Mint, EveryDollar tracks and categorizes your spending. But it’s designed so that you input your planned spending ahead of time. $300 for the month’s groceries, $500 for rent, and so on. Each purchase you make will be queued up for your manual categorization within the app. Grab the purchase bubble and slide it to the category on your budget. Not only does this provide a sense of box-checking satisfaction, but it also helps you fine-tune your budget, showing you where you need to create other categories (You make how many Starbucks runs per month?), and where you’re spending more than you’d like.

If you arrive under budget in one line item, you can easily reassign those extra dollars into another item, perhaps one that needs a little more cash for the month, or, according to our ultimate goal here, to a savings item. Android/Apple.

6. Qapital

Like we said above, a savings account is simple. It’s like a big, secure vault where you can save your money and access it quickly. But sometimes your savings goals aren’t that simple. You might not want all that money in one vault. For example, you want to save for a new car over the next year, but within three years, you want to have a down payment on a house. Maybe you’re trying to save for a vacation over the next three months. 

Qapital works by partitioning your savings into sub-accounts by your savings goals. You can create monthly goal amounts for each sub-account, set up automatic recurring contributions, or set up contributions to occur with a particular trigger; ie. clothing purchase, splurge, coffee, gas, etc. It’s also easy and free to transfer money between your sub-accounts. Android/Apple.

At Helix by Lead Bank, we’re all about helping you find financial freedom and security. We believe that an emergency fund in an easily accessible savings account is a key part of any financial freedom strategy. But life doesn’t always go according to your strategies. If you find yourself looking for a small personal loan with clear terms and a reasonable interest rate to get you through some unexpected expenses in the short term, don’t hesitate to contact us. Every day we help thousands of people just like you with short term installment loans to get back on budget and back on track.