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Saving Money Is Hard for You? These 6 Apps Can Make It 10 Times Easier

Saving Money Is Hard for You? These 6 Apps Can Make It 10 Times Easier

Budgeting is hard. It’s time-consuming and requires you to face the fact that you spend money. And often times, the money you’re spending could have been saved. Do you really need that six dollar latte? Do you have to have that scarf that you will wear one time and then forget about? No, I don’t think so.

But often times, we get caught up in a moment and use money that would have been better spent in a savings account or going toward credit card debt. After all, statistics show each household with a credit card carries more than $15,000 in credit card debt.[1] So why are we racking up more bills? When smartphones starting making a big appearance in our world, the phrase you heard so often was, “there’s an app for that.” And, well, there is!

Self-control just doesn’t work when you spend money? Technology can give you a helping hand!

While it will require a small learning curve sometimes, and while it does mean you have to pay attention to your spending and track your habits, using money saving and budgeting apps can do wonders for your bank accounts. If you can get into the habit of turning to some of these apps before handing over your credit or debit card to the cashier at your favorite clothing store of coffee shop, you may find yourself with a healthy savings account, and potentially even some “leftover” money!

The following apps will be rated on the same scale and look at uniqueness and personalization, price, usability and appearance. If you’ve used any apps on or off this list with success, be sure to share!

Acorns

    This app is incredibly user-friendly, and the concept is simple: Automatically invent spare change from every purchase. So let’s say you go to Starbucks and buy a coffee for $3.24. You would be $0.76 away from an even $4.00 purchase. So Acorns applies that difference to your account. Boom, you just invested $0.76. You can even set up recurring investments, such as $5.00 a day. This simple savings can add up to about $2,000 a year. And if you have a 401k or another type of savings already, imaging the benefits you’ll reap by investing just $35 a week on top of that![2]

    Uniqueness and Personalization 10/10

    I love this app for everything it represents! It couldn’t be more personalized, since it is going directly off of your purchases.

    Price 10/10

    Acorns is free!! I try to stay away from money saving apps that cost me money, as I feel like it defeats the purpose!

    Usability 10/10

    I know I’m giving this app a perfect score, but I believe it deserves it. Acorns really makes saving money simple and at no point does it feel intimidating or confusing.

    Appearance 10/10

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    Acorns is bright, clean and easy to read and understand. I like to look at it and therefore, I’m prone to use it more.

    Mint

      I personally love this app. For me, it serves a great purpose because I can see all of my accounts, bills and budgets in one place. If you, like me, have more than one credit card and multiple recurring subscriptions, it’s really helpful! You can also link your savings accounts, 401k, IRA, and even see your net worth. It’s secure and free and gives you a (fairly accurate) free credit score regularly. Oh, and if you are one of the rare people who use cash only, you can still use Mint, you just have to manually enter in your transactions.[3]

      Uniqueness 8/10

      I’m not giving Mint a perfect score, because I think there are plenty of ways to budget, be it an Excel spreadsheet, paper and pen or an app, but I did rate it high because it’s one of the most convenient out there.

      Price 10/10

      Mint is free, and I love that. It truly gives you no excuse to not save money!

      Usability 7/10

      I’m giving this a 7 because even though I use this app regularly, I do find that sometimes it gets a little hung up. One of the nicest features is being able to see your money flow in real-time, but occasionally I have to refresh a handful of times before it’s actually current. It’s not a big deal, but it is a little annoying.

      Appearance 7/10

      Mint’s website is great. It probably would’ve gotten a 10, but the app is set up just a little differently, and it’s enough to knock the score down.

      Prosper Daily

        This app is also known as BillGuard, and it’s not only helpful for saving and spending, but also for making sure you are the only one with access to your hard-earned money. Like the other apps, you can track all your accounts in one place and see what you’re spending, but Prosper Daily also allows you to quickly identify fraudulent charges. You can also check your credit score as often as you like, but please note that free credit scores are not always accurate. They do tend to be in the ballpark though, so they are helpful for getting an idea of where you are and measuring success.

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        Uniqueness 9/10

        While this app isn’t especially unique overall, I scored it high because I love the fact that it flags suspicious activity. This can be more helpful than hoping your credit or debit card company catches something. Awareness is key!

        Price 10/10

        This is yet another free app, so it gets a perfect score from me.

        Usability 9/10

        Easy to understand and simple enough to use.

        Appearance 9/10

        Nice, clean graphics and helpful charts.

        Ibotta

          I’m obsessed with this app. Seriously.

          For a while, my friends probably thought I was being paid to advertise for this company, because I could not stop talking about it! Ibotta is a rebate app for groceries.[4] Some of the cash back amounts are small (think $0.25), and some are upwards of $5.00. To date, I’ve made over $100 on the groceries I needed to buy anyway! If you use code edbmoql when you log in, you’ll get $10 right away! Not a terrible bribe, huh?

          Uniqueness 10/10

          While there are a handful of grocery rebate apps (and yes, I have about all of them) Ibotta remains the most unique to me because it offers so much. Not only can you earn cash by getting groceries, but you can also get rebates at certain restaurants and retailers.

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          Price 10/10

          This one deserves beyond a perfect score. I mean, you’re paid to download it!!!

          Usability 10/10

          Some rebate apps/sites send a check via snail mail. While I’m always happy to receive money, I hate to wait for it! Ibotta let’s you send the money straight to Venom or Paypal once you reach $20.

          Appearance 10/10

          Easy to see, understand and use. Perfect score from me.

          Walmart Savings Catcher

            This app is great if you buy all of your groceries and household items at Walmart, because the savings will add up quickly. This isn’t a coupon app, but almost a rebate app! It works like this: scan the barcode of your Walmart receipt in the app and watch your earnings begin. It’s that easy. If the app finds any of the items you purchased at a better price, they pay you the difference on a Walmart gift card. Plus, the savings catcher is built into the regular Walmart app, meaning you can also reorder prescriptions, order online and check out sales.

            Uniqueness 10/10

            I think it’s very unique that Walmart did this, as it really shows how much they wanted to keep their customers. They already price-match, but this app goes a step further by making sure you, as the customer, really did pay as little as possible for the items you needed.

            Price 10/10

            Free app = perfect score.

            Usability 7/10

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            I’m only giving this a 7 because you have to remember to scan your receipt every time. I know it’s like this with any rebate/savings app, but for some reason this app is the hardest for me to remember to use.

            Appearance 8/10

            This app is nice enough to look at, and it serves its purpose.

            Cartwheel

              Last, but certainly not least, is the app for Walmart’s competitor, Target. The Cartwheel app also allow you to browse and shop through the Target site, but I love it for it’s coupons! While I have been known to clip and print coupons in the past, if I’m going to Target, all I need is my smartphone. Cartwheel allows you to “clip” coupons (ranging from dollar amounts to percentages) by selecting them. They are all added to your personalized barcode which is scanned by the cashier at checkout. There is something so satisfying about watching your total drop after the beep of that scanner gun!

              Uniqueness 9/10

              I don’t know that coupons in an app are especially unique, but I rated Cartwheel high because I love how it’s done. While you don’t get cash back, you do get so see how much you’ve saved.

              Price 10/10

              Cartwheel costs $0.00.

              Usability 10/10

              This app is so easy to navigate and use. The only issue I’ve ever had was if I lost signal in the store. I especially love the option to scan the item’s barcode in the store to instantly check if it’s on sale!

              Appearance 10/10

              Clean and simple to understand, view and read.

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              Last Updated on June 26, 2019

              How to Create Your Road Map to Success (A Step-By-Step Guide)

              How to Create Your Road Map to Success (A Step-By-Step Guide)

              Everyone has their own definition of what success means to them. Well, at least we all should by the very fact that no two individuals are created 100% alike.

              Our road map to success should be different to the person standing next to us. But we can get caught in the dangerous trap that someone else’s ideas of success should also be ours. Be careful.

              Regardless of whether or not we’re talking about your working career, business or personal life, it is truly hard to resist the contagious excitement surrounding those fantastic dreams and goals you allow yourself to explore.

              The ‘come-down’ after attending a euphoric state-inducing personal development seminar can often result in you feeling the slump of post-seminar blues. Worse still, your everyday circumstances don’t accommodate the changes you swore to make that weekend. Nothing changes.

              Get ready to kiss goodbye the post-seminar blues and skip to each destination on your roadmap to your successes. By repeating over and over these simple steps, the quality of your life will improve.

              You will want to use these steps as standard strategies to carry you toward further success in whatever shape or form you choose.

              1. Define What Success Means to You

              Is it just having enough money or more money than you might ever need that allows you to feel and judge yourself a success? Is it about having a beautiful house worth more than $2,000,000 on the upper east side of Manhattan?

              Is it about having a loving partner who supports you in your endeavors? Do you equally support each other?

              Is it through the tertiary education roadmap that you only feel valid you can make a meaningful and successful contribution to help the world economy turn? Is that your definition of success or is it someone else’s? Maybe your mom’s or your dad’s?

              When her daughter Christina found her on the floor of her office, in a pool of blood having hit her head and breaking her cheekbone as she fell, CEO of Thrive Global and celebrated author of Thrive, Ariana Huffington had a wake-up call in more ways than one.[1]

              The exhaustion and overwhelming stress which had led to her fainting drove Huffington to radically introduce new work ethics, values and rules at the editorial.

              Ten years on from her accident, Huffington still leads the conversational charge amongst global leaders to change the badge of honor that successful people need to work 24/7, and give everything of themselves and more, even it means compromising their health.

              As opposed to letting power and money be the two measurements of success, she explains wisdom, well-being, wonder and giving will give you greater success by nurturing your psychological well-being.

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              We can’t argue with Huffington that without that, we are proverbially dead in the water.

              Warren Buffet stated the way he defines success nowadays has nothing to do with money:

              “I measure success by how many people love me”.

              You can’t but fall in love with the wisdom and nobility these words seem to reflect, but keeping it as your only definition of success is probably dangerous. Lacking today’s wisdom at 20 years of age, would Buffet have had the same definition of success?

              Think about where you are on your journey. You are likely to have different goals and different measures of success as you navigate your roadmap. Huffington and Buffet explain non-tangible ideas of success are crucial for our overall success.

              Let’s also not forget though that through tenacity, persistence and many other success habits, these business leaders also rate extremely high on the power and money metrics. However, that’s not all there is to it.

              If you are not sure how you would answer if someone asked you what your definition of success is, here are some clues to get you thinking and feeling.

              As your head hits the pillow and before you close your eyes, what’s most important is that you can internalize that you have chosen your definition of success and you can full responsibility and accountability for deciding upon it.

              2. Review Your Progress and Satisfaction in Life

              Review the main areas of your life. Not just those where you feel you need to make changes. Review all of them:

              • Your career vocation or business life;
              • Your relationships – your intimate or life partner, family and friends;
              • Money health and financial management strategies;
              • Commitment to your faith or religion and spiritual personal development;
              • Your physical and mental health;

              What leisure or recreational activities you pursue for fun to energize your spirit and enrich your soul.

              Do you have ideas of what success looks like for you in each of these areas?

              Neglecting to look at even one area is like trying to restore function to a beautifully crafted Swiss watch, whilst failing to attend to a rusty-looking cog in the tiny internal workings that needs attention. Turn one cog, the others all turn. Ignore a damaged one, the system malfunctions.

              For each area, give yourself a rating out of ten – one signifies the least satisfaction and ten signifies the most – and ask yourself the following questions to help you start identifying what’s important to you:

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              • How satisfied or content with this area of my life am I presently?
              • Where would I like to live this current level of contentment to?
              • What would that new level of satisfaction look like, feel like?
              • How important is this area compared with the other areas of my life?

              Regardless of what areas you recognize need to be your core focus, consider making personal development and improvements to your physical and mental health, and well-being a constant feature of your action plan.

              You will need to continually recognize obstacles you’ll face from your outside world, as well as those internal psychological battles that will arise from within.

              Without your mental and physical health intact, it’s unlikely the rest of the ‘cogs’ are going to turn properly.

              3. Get to Know Your Values and Priorities

              Don’t make the mistake of thinking goal setting can be done in one sitting. You want to make sure the pursuits you put down on paper aren’t fly-by-night moments of excitement that ebb and flow with the rise and fall of tidal trends.

              Become better at identifying your priorities by exploring how you feel about each of your life areas. Think about the ratings of satisfaction you might have denoted for each. And now write down what you want to be, do and have.

              Put aside your initial literary ramblings and revisit them in a couple of weeks or one month. Without looking at your initial thoughts, do the process again and see what consistencies show up. What keeps coming up as feeling important? Around what ideas is there the same yearning or emotional pull?

              If you’re unsure about what you feel you wish to head towards, be in allowance of this. Don’t be jumping to quickly fill the void. The desperation is likely to have you catching the tail of the last exciting concept in fear of missing out, or trying to fill the void of excitement you yearn for.

              Increase your practice of pausing and asking yourself:

              Why does this resonate with me? Could this be a distraction which complicates the route I have mapped out? Am I becoming that person who proverbially chases two rabbits and catches none?

              In his book The Heart of Love, Dr. John Demartini explains how becoming strongly aware of your values and priorities helps you understand why you are and where you are in your life at any given moment.

              If you don’t know what you feel you stand for, look at where you direct your time, energy and attention. Look at your behavior and work backward.

              You might think making money and creating financial wealth is high on your radar. However, if you spend more than you earn and allocate money to depreciating objects as opposed to appreciating assets, your behavior is inconsistent with those typical of someone who is financially astute.

              Look back to your areas of life and ask yourself if the goals you have set are in alignment with your values. Look at your daily behaviors and ask yourself if the way you operate satisfies steps which take you further toward those goals.

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              If not, all is not lost. You’ve simply got some harsh truths and reality checks to face before you can go any further on your roadmap to success.

              4. Make Room Deliberately to Work with a Coach

              You have to come to terms with the fact that you’re likely to be swimming against the tide.

              Once you make clear unwavering decisions about what goals you’re aiming for, prepare to be un-liked, unpopular, criticized and potentially ostracized. There’s a high possibility you’ll lose the friendship and support of some however you will gain new friends and the support of others.

              Regardless of what area/s of life your goals pertain to, make room to work with a coach. Choose wisely who that person will be to encourage and walk beside you.

              Whether it be a certified coach, a family friend/mentor or qualified therapist, find someone who knows how to work with the specific issues and challenges that lay ahead without any agenda other than your success.

              Having that impartial guide can be an invaluable constant. This helps keeps you on the straight and narrow even if other areas of your life aren’t going swimmingly.

              5. Get Highly Familiar with Your Habits and Behaviors

              Despite the scientific evidence in support of it, we’re not recommending you need to start getting up at 5:00 am and exercising for an hour before you even think about starting your day.

              You should start asking yourself these questions far more frequently:

              • How well do you know your habits and routine ways of operating?
              • Do you know what choices and patterned behaviors help or hinder you?

              You know what you want to work on. Greater clarity on your values has enabled you to discern which priorities are high on your list and which ones are low. It’s now time to reinforce and reward the habits that carry you forward on your roadmap to success, and adjust those habits which delay or divert you staying on course.

              Remember though that part of the joy of the human experience is to be fallible, so don’t suddenly shelve all those character-building ‘vices’. Your flaws are a necessary part of your unique success jigsaw puzzle; they are the inspiring reasons you’re going on this journey in the first place.

              Demartini and New York Times journalist and author Charles Duhigg both explain in their books how recognizing your unhelpful behavioral patterns needs to take place first. You identify the emotional and psychological rewards which rule over whether you sustain, break or make a habit.

              When you know the rewards that light you up like a Christmas tree, you link them to new or modified habits that support values you want to make a higher priority.

              Say you love eating out. You love artisan cuisine and get giddy at watching the episode of Heston Blumenthal create chocolate water in his food chemistry laboratory. As much as you say you want to increase your investment in appreciating assets, your spending habits speak otherwise.

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              So, you might start looking for discount opportunities on your higher-end dining. The dishes may not rival Heston’s masterpieces, but your taste buds still enjoy a culinary roller coaster AND you also now to get feel-good allocating the discounted amount to a saving’s program.

              Your tummy is singing as is your bank account. The whole experience goes well beyond short-term gratification and satisfies several values and goals.

              Tweaking habits and forming new ones isn’t hard; it’s just a matter of finding a happy marriage. Take time to find it. There will always be ways.

              6. Celebrate the Wins and Monitor Your Progress Along the Way

              You must become good at deliberately rewarding yourself when you make changes that take you further along your roadmap to success.

              Professor of cognitive neuroscience Dr. Tali Sharot explains how the brain responds and adapts far better to rewards than punishment when it comes to learning behavior and creating new habits.[2]

              When we apply punishment, we reinforce the traumatic memory as being more important than the actual lesson we might have been meant to learn in the first place.

              When we gamify rewards on our success journey, we inject fun and humor. We also reduce the stress that often comes with learning new things, habits and adjusting to new ways of being, doing and having.

              Final Thoughts

              If you hit a progress plateau at any point, you might need to allow yourself to plateau and switch your attention to another priority.

              The switch may allow you to think more freely and clearly about how to move past your roadblock. Or it might simply be a good time to stop and smell the roses.

              Your muscles grow stronger in their resting phase after a workout. Animals hunt profusely to build up their energy stores before going into hibernation.

              Remember that continually forging ahead is not a natural rhythm. Repeat the cycle of rest, recovery and rallying forward then…start again.

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              Featured photo credit: Tabea Damm via unsplash.com

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