At one point or another, you’ve probably heard the wise sage advice to save your money. I agree with that advice 100% and wish the concept of saving was something I had adopted way earlier in my life.
A savings account can help you with unexpected expenses, keep you from sliding into debt, and in some cases make you more money with fancy things like interest.
However saving is one of those things that’s much easier said than actually done, especially if you’re living on a single income. Finding the money to save can be difficult alone but then keeping that money that you’ve saved in the savings account is a bit tricker.
There’s always those little expenses that tend to dwindle down your savings, a slow $4.27 at a time.
Good news, however! There are some incredibly handy tools and resources out there now that help people just like you (and me) who absolutely suck at saving, build a savings accounts. It feels amazing to have a little bit of cushion money for those unexpected “what the heck?” bills. Especially if you have kids.
Pst! This app contains affiliate links which means I get a commission from certain links. No worries though, I only suggest stuff I’ve actually used and enjoy.
First app up, Digit
How does it work?
This app is absolutely perfect for those who have a tendency to dip into their savings (opps). When you connect your bank account it checks how much you have available and using a fancy algorithm is calculates how much is safe to tuck away based off of your previous spending habits. It does all of this automatically and discreetly stashes it away.
Is it safe to use?
This handy app is FDIC insured so you can rest assured that your money is safe. I’ve personally been using it for a year now and haven’t had any security issues or problems getting to my funds if needed.
If you ever decide to close down your Digit account, they just send your money right back to your regular account.
How will it keep me from dipping into my savings?
Often money not seen is money not spent. Because it’s tucked away separate from your regular account, you’re less likely to spend it. Also, while there are no loopholes and tricks to request the money to be deposited back into your checking, it takes about 2 days to transfer back, halting those impulse spends.
How much are they taking out of my account?
They base it off of your spending habits and the amount of money you have available. The amount they tuck away is rarely over a few dollars. The point of the app is to tuck away money you won’t miss.
If one day you don’t have any money to give based on of those criteria, the app won’t take any. Some days the app might be able to tuck away $0.13, other’s it might calculate that you can part with $1.50. (P.S: those small amounts add up quick!)
Will it overdraft my account?
In the name of honesty, I had the app overdraw my account $3 in the earlier months that I was using it. This was in part because when the app checked my account I did have the funds but I ended up spending that money a few minutes later while the transfer was already in process.
That being said, they were extremely quick to refund both my money and the overdraft fee and I haven’t had any other issues with an overdraft since then. They do have an overdraft guarantee and I’ve had several friends use it who haven’t had an issue.
In short, this app is fantastic and has made the difference in helping me build up a nice savings account. It also gives you bonuses for every 3 months of consecutive savings, you can create separate saving goals and you can communicate with the app via text.
Second App: Chime
Well, Chime is actually a bank, but it’s online and operates with the ease of an app. Its simple online app is so incredibly easy to use it’s almost unbelievable.
How does it work?
Like any other bank. You can direct deposit and add cash (although it can be a pain with cash since you have to add cash at a partnered Walmart or Dollar Store and not the ATM), you can withdraw your money via an ATM and they refund any fees the next day, and they have live customer support (and not computer generated responses).
Is it safe?
Yup! It’s just as safe as any other bank and operates like other brick and mortar banks, including getting your tax refund. Just about any reason you could think of for needing to walk into a physical bank you can do via online support or phone call.
The only downfall is Chime doesn’t do the check deposits with a picture and getting a physical check deposited might require some extra steps. It hasn’t been a problem for me personally. I just cashed it at Walmart and then deposited the cash into my Chime account in one transaction.
How will it help me save?
The reason I love Chime so much is that they have a couple of features to help encourage savings. You can automatically transfer 10% of your direct deposit into the Savings account (or any other percentage you choose), they have an automatic round-up option (so if you spend $24.50 at the store, it’ll round it up to $25 and put that extra .50 into your savings), and they also limit your withdraws from your savings account each month.
By far the best part about Chime is that if you have direct deposit set up you can get paid up to two days earlier. I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical of this claim when I first heard it but it’s true! My money is usually available to me 2 days prior to payday and I love that!
Because I use the Digit app I chose to turn the round-up option off but the automatic 10% savings deposit and the savings withdraw have been awesome. Not only that, but it gives you daily reports on your account activity (so if you’re spending like a mad woman your app will let you know).
Your account balance will also include those purchases that are still pending. This often got me in trouble with other banks if I’d forget that there was still a pending purchase and just like that I’d overspend. Your checking account balance on Chime shows you exactly how much you have, even if there are purchases pending (which will be indicated in orange so you’re aware).
I’ve recommended several of my friends to Chime and I’ll continue to because I love it that much. It’s so easy to use and has helped me with my savings. You get a bonus $50 as well for setting up direct deposit when you sign up! If you want to sign up for a Chime account you can here.
So how do I actually fund my savings?
I hear ya, it’s all sounds dandy, except where is the money coming from?
Like I mentioned above, both apps will help you save money that you otherwise would have wasted away anyway which is a tremendous help, but I’ll give you a few more tips on how you can boost your savings, especially if you’re living on a single income and tight on cash.
Declutter your home and stick that money into your savings.
Most people really only sell their stuff when they’re strapped for cash or moving but since I’ve been dabbling in minimalism I’ve found that I’m going through my stuff more often. You’d be amazed at how much you don’t actually need.
Take those things that are collecting dust, those outfits that are never seen outside of your closet, or all those kid toys you’re kids have no interest in and sell them. Then instead of treating yourself with an expensive meal out, treat yourself with some extra cash in your savings account.
Find an easy side gig.
It doesn’t even have to be long term. Perhaps babysit once or twice or drive for Uber, Lyft or Dasher for a while until you get enough savings that you’re comfortable. Who knows, you might end up liking your side gig anyway.
Use those share links!
Both Digit and Chime give you a little money for sharing their app. If you love them (which I’m sure you will), suggest them to your friends and once they sign up you get a monetary reward. It doesn’t hurt to look through all your apps and see if any other ones offer a sharing bonus.
But be sure to only share the ones you’ve used and truly enjoy. It’s not nice to cash in on suggesting people to a sucky app. I’m comfortable telling my friends and family, and my blog about Digit and Chime because I’ve used both long-term and found them useful.
Set up a budget.
People are often surprised at how much money is being thrown away on frivolous things because they don’t have a budget. Buckle down and take a hard look at where your money is going and what you can redirect to your savings. You might find that there’s money going out on things you don’t need that could be padding your savings account instead.
Halt that impulse buy with this question; will the money be better served in savings?
I learned this little trick from a friend. If tempted to buy some silly (but admittingly cute) pizza shaped stress ball, would that money that’s about to be wasted on an impulse spend be better served in my savings account instead? Or could I make my coffee at home and put that $5 into my Digit account? Usually, the answer is yes.
Try out these apps and tips and let me know what you think. Feel free to share any creative ways you’ve found to boost your savings account too!