Money-saving apps have come a long way since a decade ago. On top of that, there’s been a huge influx of them popping up on the Apple App Store and Google Play. In this post, we aim to make your life easier by breaking down what we think are the top 5 money-saving apps and why. We take effectiveness, cost, design, user experience, and more into account.
We’re always looking to constantly update this list any time new contenders pop up, so be sure to check back frequently. Anyways, without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Our #1 Pick: YNAB
YNAB is our favorite app for saving money and has been for many years. It’s a controversial opinion to be sure, and we’ll explain why.
At its core, YNAB implements the zero-sum budgeting strategy. Because of its very nature, it requires a lot more work on the user’s end. Contrast that with the rest of our top 5 apps on our list, which allow you to put in less work to do more. That’s not to say that YNAB doesn’t simplify things, it absolutely does. It just makes an already more advanced way of budgeting a bit easier and accessible for the masses.We also love that YNAB has a set of rules that guide for everyone to follow to improve their financial situation.
As an app, YNAB also has shown itself to be the most receptive out of any company to user suggestions and feedback. The app has been around since 2004 and has had many years to polish every little detail about it. It’s hard to really find any glaring flaws in the app. It does what it’s supposed to do, and it does it really, really well.
Overall, this is our #1 pick because of how proactive this will make you in your financial life. The best way to save money is first to know your finances inside-out, and the savings will follow naturally, whether out of necessity or due to the intimate knowledge you gain from it. YNAB forces you to account for every single dollar you earn. You will know exactly how much you spend on everything in your life.
The downside is that YNAB is a pure budgeting software, we do recommend that you also use one of the next two apps to maximize your savings.
Check out our full YNAB Review!
Our #2 Pick: Hiatus
This app is a bill and money manager. The feature that gets everyone excited on this app is the bill negotiations feature. Hiatus has a long-standing record of successful bill negotiations, saving their users tons of money over the long haul.
Hiatus used to be our third pick on this list due to the exorbitant cost of the bill negotiations though. For any successful savings they were able to net you, they would take a 50% cut of that immediately. That means that if they saved you $20 a month on a certain bill, they would charge you $70 upfront ($20 x 12 months x 50%), even though you wouldn’t realize $70 worth of savings until at least 3-4 months into it.
However, they’ve made a major move that totally skipped the scales in their favor, which is that they did away with any commissions completely. That’s right, you pay $0 for any savings they net you. And they still do an awesome job with it. The only cost you’re paying for is the monthly subscription cost of $9.99 per month. In our book, that is totally reasonable as the savings potential is much larger than that if used correctly.
Check out our full Hiatus Review!
Our #3 Pick: Rocket Money
There’s a lot to like about Rocket Money in terms of features, and the best part is that you get to pay essentially a la carte for only the features you wish to access. They too, also have and are best known for their bill negotiations feature.
The main downside to Rocket Money, and the reason why we rank it #3 after Hiatus, is that the bill negotiations charge a hefty 30-60% commission for any savings the company successfully nets you. Sure, you get to choose the percentage you’d like to give them, but even the lowest at 30% is quite a price to pay.
Don’t get me wrong, it can still save you a substantial amount of money, as keeping 70% of any money saved is still better than keeping 100% of no money saved. It just doesn’t beat Hiatus’s free-of-charge bill negotiations if that’s the main feature you’re downloading a money-saving app for.
Check out our full Rocket Money Review!
Our #4 Pick: Monarch Money
The Monarch Money app is a relative newcomer onto the finance app space, having first launched in 2020. Interesting background information about this app is that its co-founder Val Agostino used to be a product manager for Mint by Intuit, which made our #5 pick on this list. The fact that Monarch Money as a newer product could beat out Mint on our list despite its age is impressive to say the least and says a lot about the quality of the app.
What we like about Monarch Money the most is its completeness in features. It has something for everyone, and somehow, it’s able to do it in the most graphically impressive way. Everything about the app screams modern and customizable. In fact, it’s so customizable that if you wanted to do zero-sum budgeting on this app, you could! I don’t know of any other apps I would use to do zero-sum budgeting other than YNAB, period.
There are a couple of caveats though, when I say this app is as complete as you could ask for in any app:
- First, our previous two picks shine because of their bill negotiations feature. Unfortunately, Monarch Money doesn’t have that built into their app at the moment.
- Secondly, Monarch Money can be free which is great for trying out to see if it’s your cup of tea, but in order to have complete access to all features, it costs $9.99 per month or $7.50 per month if you pay on an annual basis.
Check out our full Monarch Money Review!
Our #5 Pick: Mint
On to our final pick, and one that many are familiar with, Mint by Intuit. This app makes the list because of how easy and intuitive it is to use, and not to mention very accessible. Mint is absolutely free. They make money via ads and through partnerships that they recommend to you via the app.
To use Mint is quite straightforward: simply connect your bank account(s) and categorize transactions to your liking. It takes very little time once you get it set up and running and its got great visuals to see how your finances have fared during particular periods of time. Compared to YNAB, it isn’t doesn’t require nearly as much proactiveness in your finances, but it does get the job done if you just need a rough idea of how you’re doing. My one main gripe about this is that Mint probably has the largest potential out of all the apps, being owned by Intuit, but they haven’t put all that much effort and resources into it because it doesn’t make them much money compared to their other massively popular products. That’s a shame.
Check out our full Mint by Intuit Review!
Maximize Money-Saving Apps
Money saving apps are great tools in your journey to save money. However, to best use these apps to reach your financial goals, you would have to first properly budget and form good spending habits.