Note from Cathy: The following is a guest post about the different phone apps available to help you save money. I don’t know if you have a smart phone or not (I have an iphone and don’t know how I could live without it) but if you do check these out.
Top Smart Phone Apps to Save Money
Looking to save more money this year? Whether you’re saving for a down payment on a house, a new car, your child’s college education, or just for a rainy day, you can use your smartphone to help you track your savings. In November 2011, the personal savings rate in the US was about 3.5%, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. If you want to beat that rate this year so that you can really be prepared for the future, these four apps will help you:
Mint is one of the most popular financial management apps out there. To use it, you have to have an account at Mint.com. Your Mint account will automatically link up to your bank and credit card accounts, so that you can get automatic updates on all your transactions.
The Mint app is helpful, as well, because it will allow you to set and track goals. Set up a goal to save $5,000 by the end of the year, and it will tell you how much money you need to save each month to get there. If you’re a visual sort of person, the Mint app can be helpful, too, because you can watch yourself reach your goals or hit the limit on your budgets with nifty colored bar graphs.
If you want to track your savings goals as well as other personal goals, the 42Goals app might be for you. It has a simple layout, but it’s very in-depth. It gives you many different ways to visually track various goals, including your savings goals. You can log daily expenses or monthly savings, and track your goals as you go. Want to save a certain amount of money each week? It can track that. Do you need to use your gas credit cards regularly but pay them off each month? You can track that, too!
42Goals can be a better app for you than Mint if you want to track multiple types of goals – not just financial ones. It’s also helpful for tracking financial goals if you aren’t comfortable with an outside program like Mint accessing your personal financial data through your bank or credit card company.
College Savings Apps
Depending on the program you use for your child’s college savings account, you may be able to get an app for this account. College savings accounts apps are helpful for tracking how much is in savings as well as how the accounts are doing investment-wise, since most accounts set up specifically for college savings are invested by the company that runs them.
A college savings app can also be helpful if other people are making contributions to your child’s college savings account. With an app, you can easily see when Grandma makes a deposit for your baby’s birthday or when Aunt Lucille gives her some college money for Christmas! With an app like this, you can track how much you’re putting into savings for your child each month or year so that you can see how well you’re meeting goals in this area.
This app is a social mobile app that lets you set savings goals for yourself and see your friend’s savings goals, too. You can access your accounts from the SmartyPig app, and you can even do transfers to your savings goals straight from the app.
The SmartyPig app is great if you have a few savings goals for different things, because you can track several goals at once. The main interface will show you what percentage you’ve reached on each of those goals, and you can share in Facebook or Twitter how close you are to reaching various goals. Since you can easily add additional funds to any of your SmartyPig goals, you can decide to skip out on the latte at Starbucks and put $5 towards a goal, instead.
You can also link your SmartyPig account with your SmartyPig Cash Rewards Card, and the app will let you see exactly where you can get cash back by location. Whether you’re getting gas rewards or rewards for buying groceries, this can mean more savings for you.
Ashyia Hill from CreditDonkey.com says using apps like these can help you reach your savings goals faster, if only because they’ll keep your savings goals right in front of you! Instead of having to wonder where you’re at on saving for something specific, apps like these can help you keep careful track of your saving, which will make you want to save even more!