Signing up for these 5 services can have you building savings, cutting expenses, and tracking your monthly subscriptions all without sacrificing your whole day.
It can often be overwhelming when you first strike out to take control of your personal finances. Getting your account information together, reviewing transactions and spending habits, and creating a budget can not only take a lot of time but require over coming that dread to look at our bills and bank statements in the first place. But not everything has to be hard or time consuming. In an effort to start small, here are 5 painless actions that can start saving you money immediately:
1. Automate your monthly savings:
Acorns ($1/month) – Acorns connects to your credit or debit cards and automatically rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar. This spare change is then invested in your choice of investment portfolios, created by an expert team of economists.
Digit ($2.99/month after 100 day free trial) – Digit connects to your checking account and analyzes your income and expenses to determine a safe amount to set aside each month in a Digit savings account. There are no minimum balance requirements and you have unlimited access to your money with just a text.
Set-up automatic monthly transfers with your bank or brokerage – many banks and brokerages allow for scheduled recurring transfers from your checking account to your savings account or investment account. In addition, you can set-up automatic purchases of ETFs and Mutual Fund shares based on the available balance in your cash account.
2. Schedule your credit card payments using auto-pay:
Even being late by one day on a credit card payment can cost hundreds of dollars in interest expense and late fees. Avoid these penalties by signing up for automatic payments at your card providers website. Most credit card company’s have the easy option of monthly bank transfers that can pay the minimum, full statement balance, or full outstanding balance.
3. Have the savings come to you for online purchases:
InvisibleHand – a browser add-on for Firefox, Chrome, and Safari, InvisbleHand notifies you as your shopping, and provides a link, if it finds the same item at a lower price on a different site. It works for products, flights, hotels, and rental cars at all major retail sites including Amazon. It also provides coupons and reviews of the product right in the same notification bar.
Honey – a browser add-on that automatically applies coupon codes when you check out at major retailers including Amazon. Honey also provides Honey Gold rewards for purchases at specific stores, which can be redeemed for gift cards to sites like Amazon and Walmart.
Cently (Coupons at Checkout) – a browser add-on from Chrome (a Firefox version is on its way) provides coupons during the checkout process at many major retail companies’ direct online stores (but not big box retailers like Amazon).
Paribus – links to your email to identify purchases and automatically files price adjustment claims based on a particular stores policies. You keep 100% of the savings.
4. Lower your largest monthly bills:
BillShark takes all the leg work out of negotiating your monthly bills by contacting your TV, internet, wireless, satellite radio, and home security providers for you. Upload your largest monthly bill and sit back as BillShark’s “Sharks” work to get you a lower rate. If BillShark can’t get you a lower rate, you pay nothing. Otherwise, they collect 40% of the savings. This may seem steep, but for anyone who has tried to negotiate with one of these providers themselves knows that any savings is better than the run around you would get if trying yourself.
5. Track or cancel your monthly subscriptions:
Truebill connects to your bank and credit card accounts and identifies your monthly subscriptions. Forget to close your account after that free trial? Cancel straight from the app available for both iOS and Android. In addition, Truebill can help you get refunds on bank fees, lower interest rates, and lower your monthly bills (using BillShark). Truebill connects to your accounts fast and works in the background, notifying you of any changes and upcoming charges.