Setting a budget and saving money was never a top priority for me.
Here and there, I’d invest very minimal amounts of money into various retirement accounts because that’s what I’d hear from my mom every now and then but I was never really serious about it.
At the first sign of an “emergency” I’d withdraw the previously saved money and use it to pay off debt or spend it frivolously.
As I’ve grown older, I realized that automating my savings is the way to go.
I don’t have to think too much about it and what’s better than a “set it and forget it” savings system?
Here are a few things I’m either currently using, have used in the past or heard positive reviews about regarding how to automate savings and reach financial goals.
Quick Note To My Readers: Some of these links are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you purchase. However, none of the fees of these resources have been increased to compensate me.
Acorns Investment App
Have you always wanted to invest but didn’t know where to start?
Don’t have a large lump sum of cash lying around to get you started or just wanted to slowly dip your toes into the investment pool?
If this sounds like you, Acorns may be a great transition for you to begin investing for as little as $5. If you sign up through my exclusive link, you’ll receive $5 to get started with your investment.
With Acorns, each time you swipe your debit or credit card it rounds up to the next dollar amount and invests it into a diversified portfolio once you reach $5.
According to Acorns, your investments are FDIC insured up to $500,000 (including $250,000 for claims for cash).
Once you feel comfortable, you can also elect to invest lump sums of money and have access to unlimited withdrawals.
Schedule Your Savings: Transfer Money into Savings Account Automatically
For awhile, I’ve been automatically transferring $30 per month from my checking account to my savings account each pay period.
By doing this, I’ve been able to use this method to put savings on autopilot and have been able to save quite a bit to help build my emergency fund.
Although it doesn’t seem like much, it’s an amount I’m currently comfortable saving while I use my other income to pay down debt.
If you’re easily tempted to spend your savings, some banks and credit unions offer the option of “hiding” selected accounts so that you’re not tempted to transfer the money back out of the account on a whim.
If you decide to use the auto transfer method option to help save money, always make sure you have the amount of money you want to transfer in your primary account at the designated time so you won’t fall short.
Once you automate your savings it becomes a solid money-saving habit that you don’t even have to think about!
As you progress in your journey, you can increase savings to fast-track building your account.
Automate Saving Money with Qapital
Qapital is a 100% free savings app with no minimum, usage or monthly fee requirements.
The money in your account is FDIC insured and you’ll need to be at least 18 years old with an U.S. based credit union or bank to use the service.
With Qapital, you basically set goals (i.e. save $1,000) and then create rules (i.e. save $10 every time you go to the gym) to meet those goals.
You can also use rules already inside the app by Qapital to reach your goals.
For example, there’s a Round Up Rule that says if you’re purchasing coffee for $3.75 at Starbucks, Qapital will automatically round-up to the nearest dollar and save $0.25 for you if this rule is in effect.
Qapital makes saving money easy and as fun as you want it to be because you set the rules on when and how much you want to save based on what you choose.
By connecting your savings and weight loss goals for example, you can get rich and fine at the same time!
So whether you’re saving money for a rainy day, emergency fund or a vacation, you’re totally in control of setting various rules to help you meet your goals in a fun and effortless way.
Save Money with Digit
Digit is a downloadable app that allows you to automate saving money by constantly analyzing your spending and then formulating the ideal amount to save.
According to Digit, all funds held within Digit are FDIC insured up to a balance of $250,000
At $2.99 per month, it takes the guesswork out of your hands and consistently uses its algorithm to save based on your habits and also halt savings when necessary.
Unlike Qapital, Digit is truly a set it and forget it savings app. There are no rules you need to set whatsoever.
If you save for 3 consecutive months, Digit also boasts that you’ll receive a 1% savings bonus as well.
Although I no longer use this service, (I decided against the $2.99 fee when it was implemented) Digit was always extremely convenient.
With a simple text, it’s easy to transfer money from the app back into a checking account and there are never account minimums to maintain.
Digit also boasts that if it saves too much money, if you incur any overdraft fees, the company will take care of it for you! At the time of this blog post, Digit is only available in the United States (June 2018).
Invest Through Your Employer’s Retirement Plan
If your employer offers retirement plan options, make sure you’re investing in your future!
All you have to do is set up a certain percentage to contribute monthly and the money is automatically deducted from your earnings and placed into your retirement account.
Certain accounts invest your money pre-tax and others invest post-taxes.
Do your research before investing so you’re aware of how and when you’re taxed.
Whether it’s through a Roth 401k, Pension Plan, IRA account etc., do your research and choose options best suited for your current stage of life.
If you’re having trouble figuring out how much to invest, check to see if your company offers targeted investment options that are typically based on your anticipated retirement year.
By enrolling in a targeted plan, you’ll be invest in a group of investment options ranging from conservative to moderate to aggressive.
Some companies even offer a company match up to a certain percentage of your own contribution which is essentially free money. And who doesn’t love free money?
My hope for this blog post is that you do your own research and find or create a solid strategy for saving your earnings and becoming financially independent!
Have you found other ways not on this list to automate savings goals? Share in the comment section below with the rest of the community.
We’d love to hear your ideas!
Until next time,