You probably already save money each month thanks to the Internet. Being able to shop online means you don’t have to pay brick-and-mortar retail prices or burn gas money to get across town. But, you might not realize that many free apps can help you stop spending on things you pay for monthly.
After all, we’re almost 20 years into the 21st century and technology continues to remove cost barriers. If you think free online bill pay is the best thing since sliced bread for saving money, many nifty apps that offer the same services for free that you currently pay for.
While many apps offer a paid premium platform with additional amenities, you can use these apps entirely free for your regular weekly routine.
Monitoring Your Finances
Several apps keep an eye on your finances for free, so you no longer have to pay for services like credit monitoring or overdraft protection.
Credit Sesame: Free Credit Score
You can now access your credit score for free with Credit Sesame. In the past, you could only access your credit report (not your three-digit credit score) for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. To see your credit score without applying for a loan, you needed to pay a fee.
In addition to getting your free credit score, Credit Sesame also offers these free amenities:
- Score Monitoring and Alerts
- $50,000 in Identity Theft Protection
CIT Bank: No More Bank Fees
With rock-bottom interest rates, your monthly bank fees might be more than your interest earnings. CIT Bank offers free savings account or money market with an industry-leading interest rate. You only need $100 to open an account.
The best online savings accounts won’t charge you monthly maintenance fees or have high minimum account balance requirements.
Tip: For a free checking account, check out Capital One 360 for free ATM access at 39,000 ATMs.
Trim: Avoid Overdraft Fees
Trim is a “jack of all trades app.” You might use it to send low account balance alerts when your balance dips below a certain dollar amount. Or, you can also use Trim to remind you about bill payments, canceling unwanted subscriptions, and lowering your cable tv, internet, or cell phone bill.
Debx: Credit Card Interest
Rewards credit cards are one of the best ways to get paid to build your credit score. Of course, any benefit is negated if you carry a balance from month to month and you pay interest.
Debx is a free app that solves the credit card conundrum. Each day, Debx automatically withdraws the cash from your checking account for your daily credit card purchases. You enjoy the instant payment benefits of a debit card and can still enjoy earning credit card rewards.
Personal Capital: Tracking Your Spending
Maybe you use Quicken or another paid app to track your monthly spending. While these programs are good at what you do, you can get the same level of service for free with Personal Capital.
You can link your various bank and credit card accounts to receive spending reports and track your net worth. Personal Capital also lets you set savings goals and monitor your investment performance too.
Investing used to be a privilege only for the wealthy. Now, you can buy and sell stocks and ETFs for free with several platforms. Since you might pay between $4.95 and $7 per trade, you can save a small fortune and not cringe each time you only invest $100 at a time.
Although there are several free investing apps to choose from, these are some of the best ones.
Robinhood: Buy Stocks, ETFs, and Options
DIY investors and beginner investors like Robinhood. You can trade a wide array of stocks and ETFs for free. Advanced traders can even trade options for free! While Robinhood began as an app-only investing platform, you can now access your portfolio from a computer.
The Robinhood mobile app is very user-friendly, but there are still times when it’s easier to analyze your investments on a computer screen instead of a smartphone screen.
Wealthfront: Automated Investing
If you want automated investing, Wealthfront invests your first $15,000 completely free. They automatically rebalance your portfolio into the right mixture of stock and bond ETFs to match your age and investing goals. After you fund your account, all you need to do is decide how much you want to contribute each month and Wealthfront decides where to invest it for you according to the target allocations.
Tip: Another great automated investing app is Betterment.
The math might not add up with this category as shopping requires you to spend money. These apps can help you get extra cash back that you currently don’t. Or, you no longer have to buy the Sunday newspaper just to clip coupons and look at the sale ads.
Ibotta: Grocery Shopping
You don’t have to clip coupons anymore with the Ibotta app. But if you have any paper coupons, you can get additional savings. Ibotta is the most popular grocery shopping app as the average offer saves you between 50 cents and $2! If you redeem several offers a month, you can even earn a cash bonus that can be redeemed for PayPal cash or gift cards.
Ebates: Online Shopping
Ebates is another stellar cashback shopping app. You can get up to 40% back at over 2,000 online stores. Instead of going directly to the retailer’s website (unless you have the Ebates extension involved) activate a shopping session through the Ebates website or mobile app first. It only takes a few extra seconds, but your wallet will be happy you did.
Tip: When shopping on your computer, always make sure you use the Ebates browser extension to always make sure you never miss a cashback opportunity.
Honey: Digital Coupons and Promo Codes
If you like searching for online discount codes to enter on the checkout screen, you will enjoy Honey. Instead of spending time (which is just as valuable as money) poking around the internet for discount codes that may or may not work, Honey automatically applies all known discount codes to your order. Whether you’re buying a pizza or a Louis Vuitton handbag, Honey helps you instantly save money.
Tip: Honey can also help you save money at Amazon by comparing product listings to show the lowest price quickly.
Watching TV and Movies
Spending less on cable tv might be the most significant hurdle for reducing your entertainment spending. Now, you can watch cable tv and movies for a fraction of the cost you currently pay.
If you haven’t done so already, install a Roku device to watch free tv programs when you’re home and don’t want to use your phone.
TubiTv: Stream TVs and Movies for Free
TubiTv offers more than 7,439 movies and tv shows completely free. Although you won’t find all of the newest hits, you will find a large collection of recent favorites, classics, and several new releases from the major production studios.
Amazon Prime: Free Digital Media
Maybe you use your Amazon Prime membership for shopping discounts and free 2-day shipping. Your Prime membership also gets you free streaming access for the following media options:
- TV Shows
If you can find the content for free on Amazon that you currently pay to watch or listen too, your Prime membership can easily pay for itself.
Spending too much time on something can be just as impactful as overspending. After all, if it takes too long to make money from a side hustle, you might be better off choosing a different alternative. These apps can help you save time and quickly make money in your free time.
Swagbucks: Get Paid to Do Anything Online
Everybody’s favorite “get paid to” app is Swagbucks. With the multiple earning opportunities and easy redemption options, you can quickly get paid for your hustle.
You can get paid for the following activities:
- Online Surveys
- Playing Games
- Watching Videos
- Searching the Internet
- Clipping Coupons
Swagbucks can also fit into several other categories on this list because of the variety. Most surveys only take 15 minutes to complete so you can use Swagbucks during your lunch break or in between errands.
For shopping, you can get cashback at online stores (just like Ebates) and you can also get paid for every grocery coupon you print and redeem. These are probably the same coupons you get in the newspaper each week.
When it comes to payment, you can begin redeeming your points for gift cards with a $3 value for your favorite restaurants and stores. If you prefer the cash, you can request PayPal cash payment once your balance reaches $25.
Uber: Pay Your Car Insurance
Pay for your car insurance, gas, and car maintenance by driving for Uber. What’s great about Uber is that you can name your own hours and drive in your free time. Whether that’s the morning rush hour, Friday nights, or mid-day during the week, you can be a rideshare driver and make money owning a car.
Airbnb: Pay Your Monthly Mortgage
Become an Airbnb host and rent a spare bedroom to pay your monthly mortgage or utility bills. You can see how much other hosts make per month in your local area. If you own a second house or investment property, you can also turn that into an Airbnb property too.
Being an Airbnb host can be less stressful than being a full-time landlord because you only have short-term tenants. If you can rent your spare bedroom or basement, you don’t even have to drive to the rental property which is uber-convenient too.
Gift Card Granny: Sell Your Unused Gift Cards
With Gift Card Granny, earn cash for those gift cards you’re never going to use. You will earn rewards points that can be redeemed for free gift cards when for the following activities:
- Selling gift cards
- Buying gift cards
- Opening Gift Card Granny email messages
Selling unused gift cards is like finding loose change in your car or underneath the sofa.
Saving money on monthly purchases is more than not buying things you don’t really need. Even on the “must have” apps and services, there’s a chance you can find a free app that offers a similar service. These apps can help you save money on your most common budget categories.
Are you ready to start saving money? Which app are you going to download first?
I Save $50 Per Month Using This TV App
I cut my cable nearly five years ago because I was tired of paying for shows I didn’t watch. While I missed TV, I’ve found better solutions like DirecTV NOW. It’s a monthly on-demand streaming service with packages as low as $35. It’s saved me nearly $50 per month because I can watch when I want. The best part is I can cancel at any time!