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

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

If you’re saving with a specific goal in mind, prepare a budget so the interest you earn on your deposits will help you efficiently reach this goal. Online financial calculators may be helpful here.

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 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.

What is the interest rate on savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to look at interest rates on savings accounts is to use a savings accounts comparison tool. When you look at the savings rate check what the maximum and minimum rates are. Often banks will offer you a promotional rate for the first few months which is competitive, but then revert back to a base rate which can sometimes be less than inflation. Ongoing bonus rates are often a safer bet as they will keep rewarding you with the maximum rate, provided you meet their criteria

How can I get a $4000 loan approved?

While personal loans and medium amount loans don’t offer guaranteed approval, there are steps you can take to help increase the likelihood of your application being approved, including:

  • Fulfilling the eligibility criteria (providing ID, proof of residency, proof of income etc.)
  • Checking your credit history (you can order one free copy of your credit file per year, and make sure that there aren’t any errors that may be bringing down your credit score)
  • Comparing carefully before applying (making multiple loan applications can mean having your credit checked multiple times, which can look bad to some lenders and reduce your chances of being approved by them)

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Who has the highest interest rates for savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to know who currently has the highest interest rate is to use a savings account comparison tool.

Can you direct deposit to a savings account?

Yes. You can make one off payments or set up regular direct deposits into a savings account. This can be organised easily through online banking or by making deposits in a branch. Talk to your lender to find out the easiest way for you to set up direct deposits.

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.

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

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.