10 free apps for money saving and budgeting

10 free apps for money saving and budgeting

There’s an app for everything now days so why not use them to give your savings a boost?

But with such a huge wide range of offerings available on both Android and Apple devices, filtering through the sea of options can be daunting, not to mention, time consuming.

RateCity.com.au has done the hard work for you, with our pick of the best top ten free apps for saving and budgeting that will help you reach your savings goals faster:

  1. Your bank’s app – Downloading the app provided by your bank can come with many handy features. Not only will you be able to check your bank balances and make transfers but you can also use their ATM tracker function to find ATMs that won’t charge you fees for withdrawals.  If you have your super with your bank, you’ll also see how it’s performing every time you log in, keeping something that often gets forgotten, front of mind.
  2. Debt Tracker – If a constant reminder to pay off debt sounds motivating rather than depressing to you then the Debt Tracker app could be what you need to get on top of the money you owe.  No matter how big or small you can enter the amount you owe and watch with satisfaction as you pay it off and the numbers go down.
  3. Wally – Never letting more money go out than you have coming in is a pretty straightforward rule but can be tricky to keep track of in reality. A simple budgeting app such as Wally allows you to track incoming money against outgoing expenses giving you a clear picture of where your money is going and how it can be used better. 
  4. Mobile data tracker – Many of us have been caught out exceeding our monthly data on our mobile phone plan and paying more to extend our limit. Tracking your mobile data usage using your provider’s app could be a solution to making sure you slow down before you exceed your monthly limit and get stuck paying more than you intended.
  5. Groupon – Everyone loves a good coupon deal and with Groupon you could be saving on everything from dinner tonight to a massage on the weekend. The app will notify you of local deals and is a great way to find a bargain for your next outing.
  6. Petrol Spy Australia – This fuel price tracking app lets you see the cheapest prices available in your local area so you never fill up with over-priced fuel again. Top that with the fact that there is a chance every second day to win a $25 fuel voucher and it’s pretty safe to say that this app has great potential to help you reach saving goals. 
  7. Splittable – Splittable allows people who share a home to easily split and pay each other back for all living expenses including anything from rent/electricity to buying rolls of toilet paper. Splittable’s goal is to help solve those financial arguments about household finances between anyone from students or young professionals to couples living together. Splittable is available as an iOS, Android and web app.
  8. GetPrice – This app is the Aussie version of a popular US phenomenon that allows you to scan the barcode of products to provide you with a price comparison of that product in surrounding stores. This give you the power to shop around and bargain for purchases in store, saving you hard earned money.
  9. Gumtree – Saving money can be as easy as finding a second hand bargain. Shop for gifts, necessities or even a new unicycle, it’s all on available on Gumtree and accessible through their app. You can also sell your unwanted goods for extra cash to people in your local area to avoid hefty postage costs.
  10. Free messaging apps – From Facebook Messenger to Skype to Viber there’s no shortage of free apps to help you contact the people who are most important to you. With these apps allowing calling as well all you have to do is link up to the nearest free WiFi and make as many long distance calls as your heart desires to save money on what could otherwise be a hefty phone bill. 

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Learn more about savings accounts

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

Can you set up a savings account online?

Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.

What are the requirements of an ING Bank locked savings account?

An ING bank locked savings account - also called a term deposit - offers you interest in exchange for holding your money for a period of time.

The terms offered include as little as 90 days or as long as two years. Generally, the longer you lock your money away, the higher the rate of interest. 

The minimum deposit amount for an ING locked savings account is $10,000. 

To be eligible to apply, you must: 

  • Be an Australian resident for tax purposes
  • Be aged 13 years or older
  • Hold the account for personal use (ING offers business term deposits as a separate product). 

 

Can you set up direct debits from a savings account?

It’s not usually possible to set up a direct debit from your savings account to cover ongoing expenses or bills, as savings accounts are structured around growing your wealth by earning interest on regular deposits, and discouraging withdrawals.

Some transaction accounts allow you to set up direct debits and also earn interest, though you may not enjoy as much flexibility as a dedicated transaction account, or get as high an interest rate as a dedicated savings account.

How do I open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a relatively simple process. If you’ve found an account with a suitable interest rate, you’ll just need to get in contact with your chosen lender via a branch, phone call or hop online to begin the process. 

You may be required to provide:

  • Personal details, including identification (driver’s license, passport etc.)
  • Tax file number
  • Employment details

How does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

Do banks run credit checks on savings accounts?

When you apply to open a new savings account, some providers may conduct a credit check, meaning that they will ask a credit bureau for your credit history. This isn’t always the case on savings accounts though and depends on the provider, as you aren’t borrowing money. 

As you are opening a savings account and not borrowing funds, this credit check is considered a soft inquiry and should not affect your credit score. If the bank has run the credit check, you can often still open a savings account even if you have a poor score, provided you meet other requirements. 

Should I open multiple savings accounts with UBank?

UBank offers customers an opportunity to make the most of their savings by opening multiple savings accounts. Having multiple savings accounts with UBank may be ideal for savers tracking different goals in separate accounts. 

It’s important to note that to earn bonus interest, you will still need to meet the conditions of the UBank savings account every month. If you don’t make these deposits, you will receive the standard interest rate, which is typically lower. 

Keep in mind that you won’t earn bonus interest on your UBank savings account in the month an account is opened and if you open multiple savings accounts with UBank, you'll start earning any bonus interest the following month. 

It's also not yet known how long the special interest rate will hang around for, so please check with your bank for more information. 

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

Do I have to claim interest on my savings account?

When you lodge your income tax returns, you must include in the documentation all your sources of income, including bank interest. Your bank will report any interest you earn on the funds in your savings account to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). When the ATO then compares this information with your tax returns,  you also need to have mentioned the interest earned. If there is any discrepancy, you’ll receive a letter from the ATO. 

Avoid this situation by ensuring you receive your bank statement with interest noted. Then declare the interest in your tax returns and pay the tax that’s applicable based on the income tax rate.

You only need to claim your share of the interest earned for joint accounts. If you manage an account for your child and receive or spend money via this account, you will also need to report any interest earned from said account.

Can I overdraft my savings account?

A lot of savings accounts won’t let you overdraw. Some will allow this feature but you’ll need to apply first. It’s best to read the fine print and check with your lender whether this is a feature they offer. It can be a helpful addition, but as your lender can charge you a fee as well as interest for going into negative numbers, it’s best to avoid overdrafting when possible.

How to open a savings account for my child?

Some banks and financial institutions allow parents to open a bank account for their child as soon as it is born, and start depositing funds to go towards the child’s future.

Children’s savings accounts generally don’t have fees, and are structured to help develop positive financial habits by limiting withdrawals, encouraging regular deposits, and earning interest on the savings, similarly to standard savings accounts.