New apps aim to make saving money as painless as spending. If you’re having trouble setting aside 10 percent, 5 percent or even 2 percent of your paycheck, these new tools may make it easier to build a nest egg. You set the rules and name the goal.
Qapital is a free iPhone app that lets you set the goals and the rules to automate saving. The rules can be as much fun as rewarding yourself for certain tasks, such as running, or as simple as rounding up to the next dollar on a purchase.
Digit is another free app that works by studying daily spending habits and looking for ways to save that you won’t even notice. Based on those patterns, Digit moves money every couple of days from your checking account to your secure Digit account.
Dyme sends you text messages reminding you that it’s time to put money aside. Once you text back how much, the app switches money from your checking account to a dedicated, non-interest bearing account for savings. This app allows you to establish a savings goal when you link up your checking account.
Many of these new tools find ways to making saving fun as well as automatic and easy. For instance, with Dyme, you get to choose the persona of the reminder with Dyme: terrible parent, sad high school teacher or aerobics instructor. These apps appeal especially to millennials who treat their checking accounts as spending accounts. Could that be you?
KapitallM gives users get a chance to win cash prizes. Each time you add to savings, you get a “ticket” for a chance at a raffle. Saving more earns you more “tickets” and you get more chances to win. Even if you lose the raffle, you still win because you’re saving money. The financial industry calls this plan a prize-linked savings account.
Acorns takes the savings plan to the next level by investing your money. You choose how to invest from a limited number of diversified investment portfolios in exchange-traded funds. Be warned that, as with any investment, you might lose money. This app invests “spare change” from every-day purchases. You can also set up recurring investments on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. Acorns does charge a small fee for its services.
If you’re thinking that this all sounds like way too much fun, you should know that these apps require your checking account information to link up and take out money. You’ll be sharing your account number and password with a financial institution that is insured by the F.D.I.C.
Sneaking out a tiny amount of money that you’re not going to miss can turn savings from the plodding chore of yesterday into a fun tool that can earn you financial security.