Everybody wants to save money. The thing is, it’s not always easy. Spending can get away from you, and before you know it, you’ve forgotten to sock away that specific amount you had in mind for the month. So what if you could automate your saving, or avoid as much spending in the first place? Luckily, in the age of tech, there are several tools that can help in the journey to reach your savings goals.
Couponing today is not the couponing of old, with its visions of spending hours clipping deals from the paper. Couponing now is a sleek, efficient way of grabbing discounts on almost everything you might buy online – from flights to sneakers and more – and it’s as simple as installing a browser extension. What exactly does this extension do? As you browse, any online shops or services that are included in the couponing program will automatically generate a notification at the top of your screen that you are browsing a business with discounts available. These offers usually come in the form of cash back or coupon codes that can be applied at checkout, though they can also include rebates or any other offers available through the company. Automatically generating the best deals, these handy tools do the work of searching available coupons for you. You might not be aware there was a rebate available or that there was a discount on items totaling over a certain value, but the extension won’t miss it. Handing you money back in your proverbial pocket on shopping you were going to do anyway, tools like Rakuten and Honey include hundreds of retailers and vendors.
Saving the Cents
What’s a few cents? It’s certainly something you won’t miss, but that can add up after a while. For those who use their credit or debit cards often, apps like Qapital and Acorns will round up your purchases to the nearest whole dollar. Transferring the extra cents into your checking or savings account, these apps make everyday saving an automatic process, as every purchase simultaneously generates savings. By the end of the month, you can expect to see an extra chunk of change in your checking or savings that wasn’t there before, without even having to think about it.
For those that want a little extra help, certain apps will even take charge of your accounts for you. Using algorithms to weigh your income and expenses, these electronic assistants will calculate how much in savings you can afford to sock away without impacting your budget. In addition to that, they will automatically deduct and store it away for you. Need extra help in cutting costs? Not only can these apps manage your savings plan, they can also discern miscellaneous expenses – such as subscriptions or memberships – that you don’t use, and cancel them for you. Need more? How about having an app that populates offers on your monthly bills, such as cheaper insurance or a better deal on internet? These apps can do that too. You have to give them a wide berth when it comes to inspecting your finances, but if you want an assistant in your pocket with extra perks like auto-managing your savings, helping you cut your expenses, or assisting in reducing your bills, apps like Digit, Clarity Money, and Trim are worth a look.
The Old-Fashioned Trick
There may not be too many people out there who still use cash often. But for those that do, there’s a simple trick that can help stash cash faster than you might think. It’s often called “saving by fives” and it was popularized by Marie Campagna Franklin. Her trick was to save every five dollar bill, though you can easily modify it to fit your budget – saving by ones, for example, or even quarters. The idea is you can spend the rest of your cash as you normally would, but every time a five (or your denomination of choice) rolls in, you hide it away. Building up a rainy day fund with this simple trick (no download or account required!) can be an easy mental tool to help you learn to save.
The bigger idea with any savings tool, ultimately, is to help you get into the mindset of exercising prudent financial habits. Taking steps to put your goals in mind and incorporate savings into every day, these extensions, apps, and tricks can be useful assets in transforming your financial outlook in addition to building your nest egg. If you find yourself struggling with saving, take advantage of the tools – especially in tech – that can help give you a hand in reaching your goals.