Last Updated 4 weeks by Emily Standley-Allard
Who doesn’t struggle with personal money management, investing and saving more bucks every month? Seems with rising inflation rates, gas, and the overall cost of living is making it more and more difficult to save. Our money seems to go out the window faster than we can earn it. Despite all the access to financial information on the internet, personal money advice from friends or family, and even financial tips from professionals, it helps to have simple and effective money saving, crypto and investing apps on your phone to help us save, get more cash back on our money and invest money on automatic.
Saving money and investing is still a difficult task most people put off. I know for myself; I need a money saving and investing program that is on auto pilot – one I don’t even have to think about and that helps me save and invest money each month without even realizing I’m doing it.
The following money saving, crypto and investing apps are totally free to sign up for (some have minimum requirements) and terrific for saving or investing money on an automated and regular basis – see which ones fit best into your liking, and your busy lifestyle and your nest egg will be growing before you know it!
Check out this compound interest calculator to see how much your saved money can earn.
Are some apps better for investing than others?
Some apps provide special features or focus more on education, while others focus largely on executing trades. For example, Wealthbase is a great app for playing stock market games, but it won’t execute trades for you.
In contrast, Wealthfront and Betterment will both invest your money for you, so you don’t have to do much but deposit money in your account.
Wealthfront is now paying 4.55% on your money and 5.05% if a friend signs up with your link!
And those apps differ from brokerage apps such as Robinhood, Charles Schwab and Fidelity Investments, where you need to know what you want to buy. These brokers also allow you to buy different securities, such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and more. Robinhood and Invstr allow you to buy cryptocurrency commission-free, too.
So the investment apps can provide a variety of different features and benefits, and you’ll need to select which ones meet your needs.
Money Saving and Investing Apps You Need
Betterment – Best Overall money app
Betterment is among the largest independent robo-advisors, and that’s not surprising when you figure that Betterment took top honors in Bankrate’s review of the industry. The company offers two tiers of service – both at a competitive price – differentiated mostly by whether you have unlimited access to human advisors.
Both offer core and premium functions, including investing, cash management, rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting.
Invstr – Best app for education
Invstr is what you get when you mix learning, real-life investing and community into an app that’s designed to give beginning investors a way to get into stocks, especially if you like games. The app combines a fantasy stock game, where you can assist in managing a virtual portfolio, with access to investors’ thoughts on stocks and other investments.
Why we recommend it:
- The fantasy game gives you $1 million in virtual money, and you can use the app’s social network and news feed to source ideas. The month’s top performers win real cash, too.
- If you want to turn some of those fantasy picks into real-life stakes, you can buy fractional shares and whole shares commission-free in the app.
- The app will even give new users $30 worth of Bitcoin when they open and fund an account with $100. Invstr has also started offering commission-free trading in cryptocurrencies.
Who is it best for? You want to learn from an investing community, hear why they like certain stocks and play a fun fantasy game.
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Mint links all of your bills, your bank accounts, investments, credit cards etc. in one easy to understand financial space. You will see exactly where your money is going, which will allow you to cut back if you need to or put more money towards a specific debt.
The user-friendly app (from the makers of Turbo Tax) lets you check in on your finances 24 hours a day from the convenience of your smartphone. You can even keep track of your credit score. And no credit card required.
With Wealthfront you can earn 4.55% to your cash! And 5.05% if a friend signs up! This is a huge difference from the lowly 1.0% most banks offer.
If inflation has you nervous and the stock market is too volatile for you transfer your cash into a wealthfront account to save more on your hard-earned money.
REITS (rhymes with Beets)
Investing in REITs can diversify your portfolio, and portfolio diversity reduces your net worth’s dependence on a particular sector or asset class, especially in the short term. We should all strive to have diversified portfolios that match our risk tolerance and time horizon.
What makes REITs attractive is their dividend payouts: They’re required to pay at least 90% of their profits through dividends (and some pay 100%). And since REITs are largely shielded from corporate taxes, less tax = more profit = more money in investors’ pockets.
Here are two REITs I invest in myself.
Diversyfund App – $500 Minimum investment
Fundrise App – Invest in single family and commercial properties with just $10!
No longer do you have to be a millionaire to invest in real estate! Own a part of private single-family homes, condos, high rises, and commercial real estate in the most popular and growing areas of the US. Invest in a private real estate fund (REIT) with as little as $10!
Since inflation has gone up over 8% I’ve earned back more money with REITS than any stock that I currently own!
Wealthfront – Best app for portfolio management
Not only a high yield savings account, wealthfront is one of the largest independent robo-advisors, and for a small fee it can manage your money, whether that’s in a taxable account or an IRA. (UBS is purchasing Wealthfront in 2022 and will continue to operate it under the Wealthfront banner. )
Why we like it:
- Wealthfront uses hundreds of ETFs to construct your portfolio and takes into account how much risk you want to take as well as when you’ll need the money.
- As you deposit money, Wealthfront will add it to your portfolio and keep your account balanced and on target toward your goal.
- Wealthfront’s management fee runs 0.25 percent annually, which is the industry standard but also an eminently reasonable price for the features on offer, including tax-loss harvesting, which effectively covers the annual fee for many clients, says the company.
- Wealthfront also brings an attractive cash management account (even if you don’t sign up for the investment account), and you’ll receive early access to direct-deposited paychecks and a debit card – all without a monthly fee.
Who is it best for? All you’ll need to do is add money to the account and Wealthfront manages your portfolio to help you reach your goal. The cash management account is cool, too.
Minimum balance required: $500
Fees: Management fee of 0.25 percent of assets annually
Robinhood’s gotten a bit of a bad rap, but I use it on a daily basis.
Robin Hood, based which is a fictional character, is a heroic outlaw who steals from the rich to give to the poor. His goal of redistributing wealth to improve the lives of the “99 percent” is what Robinhood seeks to do as well. It aims to “provide everyone with access to the financial markets, not just the wealthy.”
What I love most about Robinhood? – No fees! No commissions!
It’s the best way to trade in stocks and cryptocurrency, simply, free and fast! Your securities are protected by FINRA, your personal information is fully encrypted and stored.
I love this app because they don’t charge you outrageous, expensive fees to invest your own money.
They also offer ‘Robinhood Gold’ which is an upgraded version to access to more money if needed and you can earn free stock for referring friends and family.
In 2013, Robinhood launched a commission-free investment app to disrupt the US investing sector.
I use Robinhood myself which provides me with access to stocks, funds, options, cryptos, and cash management services.
They also have a premium plan which offers professional research reports, margin trading, level II market data, and other benefits.
Robinhood has both web and mobile apps for Apple and Android users.
Even the big players in the investing industry are following Robinhood’s lead.
In 2019, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Ally Invest, eTrade, and others began offering zero-commission trades.
The move crushed brokerage stocks, which led to Schwab announcing an intention to acquire TD Ameritrade and Morgan Stanley the same with E-TRADE.
The new landscape is one of free trading and consolidation to compete with Robinhood and similar start-ups.
Here’s a review from Investopedia on Robinhood.
- Founded by Vladimir Tenev and Baiju Bhatt
- Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA
- Valuation status: Unicorn
- Operates in the US and UK
- Robinhood Snacks is a “3-minute newsletter with fresh takes on the financial news you need to start your day.”
Robinhood also has a fantastic referral program.
For each new friend that you invite and signs up to Robinhood, you can both earn free stocks.
Once your lead’s application gets approved, Robinhood will credit both of your accounts with a free stock.
You’re eligible to receive up to $500 in rewards each calendar year. That’s a pretty great deal for both of you!
Robinhood is a pioneer and paving new paths in the investment industry. It was the first to offer a zero-commission investment platform and continues to expand its product roster.
You can have every confidence in this company that you are referring your friends and family to a trusted resource.
Update! Jul 29, 2021 · Robinhood went public at a $32 billion valuation on Thursday, capitalizing on booming demand from retail investors seeking to trade stocks, cryptocurrencies, and other assets during the pandemic.
Good Budget App
Good Budget is a digital version of the paper envelope system. Goodbudget helps you to stick to your budget limits without the hassle of keeping actual cash in physical envelopes. It’s available on the Web, Android, and iPhone.
Save for big expenses, share household expenses, and budget on-the-go. Goodbudget makes it easy to live out a budget based on the envelope budgeting system.
Smarty Pig App
If you have trouble keeping track of multiple saving’s goals like Holidays and Birthdays and all those other things that come up, you want to save money for, Smarty Pig may be the answer for you.
SmartyPig’s goal planning system not only helps you map out short-term purchases like birthday gifts or new running shoes, but also long-term savings goals like a trip to Italy or a car down payment.
SmartyPig was designed to put you in control of your own goal planning and financial independence by helping you build a save-then-spend mentality and being rewarded for doing so.
SmartyPig is a unique savings program designed to help people save for specific goals. Savings goals may be funded with scheduled, recurring contributions from an existing checking or savings account, so you can set it and forget it.
And SmartyPig savings app also helps you stay on track with a goal planner, helpful reminders, competitive interest rates, referral bonuses and more!
This is pretty awesome because MyMoneyCircles offers an online community which allows you to take manageable steps towards strong financial health.
Kind of like a 4 week financial bootcamp with success guides that take 20-30 minutes a day. By the time you finish the camp you should know just about everything you need to know to manage your debt and your money like a pro. Almost like having a personal trainer for your money!
Offers a Free membership.
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Personal Capital App
“The Best FREE Finance Tracking App Available” – MacWorld
If you are having trouble keeping track of your investments, or understanding how they work together, this tool will help you figure it all out once and for all.
Free tools to help keep track of your 401k, mutual funds, IRA’s, stocks, etc. – Get award winning tools from registered financial advisors for significantly less than traditional advisors.
Ellevest is one of the top-ranked robo-advisors, but it’s also the top app for socially responsible investing. Ellevest’s mission is to help women investors make smart investing decisions (though, of course, anyone can become a client).
Why we like it:
- Ellevest creates investment portfolios and plans that take into account the differing circumstances of women, such as lower lifetime earnings.
- Ellevest allows clients to build portfolios that incorporate up to 53 percent of their portfolio in ESG or social impact funds – what it calls its Impact portfolio. These funds invest in companies that have more women leaders, that support affordable housing and community services, and that have higher standards for sustainability.
- The Impact portfolio costs only modestly more than Ellevest’s low-cost core portfolio, just $13-$19 per year on average for every $10,000 invested.
Who is it best for? You want a socially responsible portfolio that can offer attractive returns and also makes it easy for you to invest.
Minimum balance required: $0
Fees: $1, $5, or $9 a month (or discounted annually)
Micro investing without even noticing. Put your spare change to work for you. Works on the premise that anyone can grow wealth on a little bit a day.
Invest, save and diversify without lifting a finger. Sign up in under 5 minutes, stick with it and invest your spare change automatically.
Wealthbase – Best app for trading games and contests
Wealthbase is a newer entrant into the world of stock market games, and it may be the most user-friendly investing app out there for having fun and picking stocks. You can set up games with friends to last however long you want — a few weeks, days, even just until the end of the day.
Two things set Wealthbase apart in the stock simulator world: first, the app marries social media with stock picking. You’ll see a feed of stocks your friends are picking, with daily updates of who’s winning, and you can engage in a little friendly “trash talk.” Second, the app runs very smoothly — no delays to load, no hiccups. Even if you’re not a huge stock-picker, you’ll have fun here. And you can trade crypto in the simulation as well.
Reasons to get this app: You like picking stocks and playing games in a social environment with friends and colleagues.
Stockpile – Best app for gifting stocks
Stockpile is a neat app because it allows you to buy fractional shares of companies. So if you don’t have $300 to buy that one expensive tech stock, you can buy a half or a third of it, instead. Stockpile does not charge any trading fees.
The other neat thing about Stockpile is that it allows you to give a gift card that’s redeemable for stock, so it may be a way to get a younger relative into investing in a fun way. You don’t even need an account to send a gift. Stockpile allows kids to track their investments at any time, and you can set a list of approved stocks for them to trade. The app lets kids share a wish list of stocks with family and friends.
Reasons to get this app: You like investing but don’t have enough to buy high-priced stock and you like the idea of gifting stock to younger relatives.
Fidelity Investments – Best app for managing money all-in-one
If you wanted to live your whole financial life on Fidelity Investments, you could do it with little issue – and have the top integrated experience. At Fidelity, you can get an investment account, a checking account, an IRA, a business retirement account such as a SEP IRA, bill paying, a savings account, a robo-advisor account and even credit card accounts, to cover the big ones.
You can get all your finances in order with one company on one dashboard, and never feel like you’re missing a thing. You’ll get solid research on ETFs and mutual funds, tons of articles on budgeting, investing and personal finance and webinars, too. Plus, if you never need help, you’ll be connected with a courteous and helpful Fidelity rep in short order.
Reasons to get this app: You want all your financial accounts under one roof, and you enjoy being treated like a valuable customer.
Who is it best for? You want all your financial accounts under one roof, and you enjoy being treated like a valuable customer.
Minimum balance required: $0
Fees: $0 for stock/ETF trades, $0.65 per contract on options.
Charles Schwab – Best app for beginners
Charles Schwab does well for experts, but it’s also a great app for beginners, because of all the resources it provides. Schwab provides tons of research and education, helping newer investors get up to speed on topics such as investing and personal finance. It also offers fractional shares, meaning you can invest all your money into your stocks, rather than have idle investment money sitting around. And of course, you’ll get commission-free stock and ETF trades.
Schwab is also great for mutual fund investors, with more than 4,000 no-transaction fee funds, one of the largest selections in the industry. You’ll also get highly responsive customer service that gets your questions answered quickly. As if that weren’t enough, you’ll get one of the best sign-on promotions around, with a cash bonus that starts with just a $25,000 deposit.
Reasons to get this app: You like investing with a friendly company that starts off in the right direction and then helps you along the way.
Minimum balance required: $0
How much money should I plan to invest?
The good news for investors starting out today is that it requires very little money to get started. Fees are so low or even non-existent that you can start with virtually any amount of money. In fact, what you start with matters much less than your saving and investing discipline over time.
The key to achieving ongoing investing success is to add money regularly over time. So you’ll want to add cash to the account and keep investing in your positions regularly over time in order to build wealth.
How much you actually invest depends on your own financial situation and needs. And today’s low-fee brokerages and apps leave more money in your pocket to actually invest.
Is the money I use to trade on investment apps insured?
If you’re investing money in the market, then it’s not insured and you could lose some or all of your investment. Market-based assets include stocks, bonds, mutual funds, ETFs, options and cryptocurrency. These kinds of assets fluctuate over time, meaning you could make a lot of money or lose a lot, depending on how the market swings.
If you need a highly safe asset, you’ll need to turn to guaranteed accounts such as a traditional savings account, high-yield savings account or CD at an FDIC-insured bank. These accounts insure your money up to $250,000 per account type per bank.
What assets can you trade on investing apps?
If the app is an online broker such as Robinhood, Fidelity Investments or Charles Schwab, you’ll be able to trade securities such as stocks, bonds, ETFs and options.
Other apps that are more educational in nature, don’t typically offer the ability to trade (with real money) at all, such as Wealthbase.
If you put these finance tools and apps to work, you won’t have to make a conscious effort to save money automatically. Even the smallest amount helps. Educate and save more money and invest in your future today and you’ll be happy you did tomorrow.
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First of all I would like to say great blog!
I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
I was interested to find out how you center yourself and
clear your mind before writing. I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there.
I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually
wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any
suggestions or tips? Appreciate it!
Thank you! Great question. Some days are a lot easier/more difficult than others for sure. I find no distractions helps and listening to classical music. Throughout the week I’ll jot down several ideas, with lots of little notes and outlines and then put titles to them before wrapping a post around it. The trick is not to lose your focus and succumb to ‘shiny ball syndrome’:) Good luck!