Best Financial Apps of 2021 to Save and Invest Money

financial apps

Let’s be honest – we use our phones for everything, from finding our way around town to taking photos to getting lost down a TikTok rabbit hole of DIY hacks. But did you know that downloading financial apps can be an effective way to manage and grow your money?

I’m going to tell you about four of the best financial apps that you can download today to boost your monthly savings and simplify investing.

A Quick Note About Financial Apps…

Before we dive in, there is one thing you should keep in mind about investing apps.

Financial apps are a convenient way to save and invest money. But you often pay for that convenience with high fees. Those fees reduce the return you’ll get from your investments. 

So, if you’re struggling to start investing or need help saving or budgeting, apps are a great way to get started. However, they aren’t the most effective long-term strategy.

financial apps disclaimer

Acorns: Easy Investing for the Family

You know that amazing feeling when you put on a pair of jeans you haven’t worn in a while and find a dollar bill in the pocket? Imagine what can happen if you invest that spare change. That one, lint-covered dollar has the potential to grow into thousands of dollars over time. 

That’s what Acorns does.

Acorns is using your spare change to multiply your wealth. This finance app fuses robo-advising with an automated savings tool to make it as painless for users as possible. 

(And if you were wondering, “robo-advising” is exactly what it sounds like: a digital platform that provides financial advice based on mathematical rules or algorithms.)

How Acorns works:

You link credit or debit cards to the financial app. Every time you make a purchase on a linked card, Acorns rounds up your purchases and asks if you’d like to put the change into a computer-managed investment portfolio. 

So, say you spent $5.80 at Target. Acorns rounds that up to $6 and gives you the option of putting the extra 20 cents into one of your investment accounts. You can also choose to manually upload lump sums of money.

Why we love Acorns

  • It’s an easy, automated approach to investing; the less you have to think about it, the more likely you are to do it.
  • You can get cashback with Acorns Earn. Acorns teamed up with 10,000 brands (including big names like Walmart, Nike, and Airbnb) to offer you cashback every time you spend money with one of the partners. You just use a card linked to your Acorns account to make a purchase, and the rewards will usually land in your account in 60 to 120 days. 
  • You can set up accounts for your kids. We know that the best time to start investing is as soon as you possibly can. The whole premise of Acorns (and investing) is starting to plant little seeds of money today that grow into giant oak trees of wealth in the future. With Acorns’ family tier, you can start building custodial accounts that allow you to invest and save for kids.
financial apps - acorns

Qapital: Automatic Savings to Meet Your Financial Goals

If you look at the most-used apps on your phone, your banking app probably isn’t one of them. It isn’t as fun as Candy Crush or as addictive as Instagram. Qapital is looking to change that by making banking user-friendly and fun.

Qapital is a banking app that offers a full menu of services: saving, investing, budget, goal-setting, and more. It’s designed to help you get better control over your spending, as well as to save and invest for the future. 

How Qapital works:

You decide how you want to divvy up your income. For example, maybe you want 20% to go into savings. As soon as your paycheck hits your bank account, Qapital takes care of that for you.

This financial app also makes investing simple. You can choose from a variety of pre-built investment portfolios and assign a certain amount of money to be invested every week. 

Why we love Qapital:

  • You can set personalized goals. With Qapital’s Payday Divvy feature, you can assign specific percentages of your monthly income to go to certain saving or investing accounts. If you’re using a budget like the 50/30/20 method – which we recommend – this makes allocating your money into specific buckets hassle-free. 
  • You can create joint goals. We’re strong believers in the power of community and accountability. Qapital allows you to set up spending-related rules for a group that can keep all of you focused and motivated. This makes it a great finance app for couples, family members, or close friends.
  • It enables automatic savings and investing. You’ll save and invest money and hardly notice it’s happening.
financial apps - qapital

Digit: Automatic Savings

Digit helps you automatically save small amounts of money over time without even having to think about it.

If you want to develop a new habit, you need to make it as easy as possible. For example, if you want to start running, keep your sneakers near the door. The same principle applies to developing a habit like saving money. You want to make it as easy as possible. That’s what Digit does.

How Digit works:

After you link a bank account, Digit analyzes your income and spending habits and calculates what you can save. Using the information on what is coming in and out of your bank account, it automatically transfers a small amount of spare money into an FDIC-insured account (an account where deposits are federally protected against bank failure or theft).

Why we love Digit:

  • It provides analysis that gives you the information you need to make smart and strategic decisions with your money. 
  • Automatic savings. (Have we mentioned that we like this already?) This financial app takes away the need to manually transfer money, automating the process of saving for the future.
  • Simplified goal-setting. With one savings account, you can simplify goal-setting and work toward one small short-term savings goal. This removes distractions and keeps it easy to stay on track.
financial apps digit

Empower: Alerts for Better Spending

Do you ever wish that an alarm would start ringing every time you’re about to make a poor financial decision? Maybe when you’re about to spend a little too much on a girl’s night out or treat yourself to a manicure that puts you over your budget? Well, Empower basically does that.

Empower is a banking experience that focuses on helping users make smarter financial decisions to reach both their near- and long-term money goals.

How Empower works:

After downloading the app and connecting your checking account, you can set a spending limit for different expenses (for example, $100 for groceries or $50 for beauty products). The finance app tracks your expenses and sends you alerts when you’re about to go over your spending limit, helping you stay on top of your spending 24/7. 

Why we love Empower:

  • Spend tracking and alerts. If you can’t hire a financial advisor to sit next to you and slam your laptop shut every time you start browsing on Amazon, this is the next best thing. This finance app provides monthly expense reports that make you aware of your spending habits. It also sends you alerts when you’re reaching your set spending limit, which can be a much-needed check before you hand over your credit card.
  • Empower offers cash advances up to $250 with no interest, no late fees, and no credit checks. Of course, you want to build up an emergency fund with enough money to handle unexpected events, but if you aren’t there yet and you’re struggling to pay for groceries, car repairs, or a medical emergency, this can be a pain-free lifeline to get quick money into your bank account.
financial apps empower

You don’t need fancy software or a complicated system to make better financial decisions and habits. Financial apps can give you real-time data in one place and help you make decisions to achieve your money goals. These four finance apps — Acorns, Qapital, Digit, and Empower — can help you boost your monthly savings, simplify investing, and take control of your finances today.

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