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 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.

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.

Can you have multiple ING savings accounts?

Yes, you can open up to nine accounts with ING at any particular time. If you’re saving money for various goals, such as buying a car or taking a holiday, you can name each of your multiple ING savings accounts differently.

To get a Savings Maximiser account, you’ll need to deposit more than $1000 every month and make at least five additional purchases. If you also want to grow your savings, from 1st March 2021, you can earn up to 1.35 per cent per annum variable interest on one account with a balance of up to $100,000 when you also maintain an Orange Everyday account.

With ING, multiple savings accounts can help keep track of all your savings goals. All the accounts offer flexible withdrawals where you can withdraw as low or as high as you want without impacting your earning interest rate. However, you can only earn the bonus interest on one account. To apply for a Savings Maximiser account, you can visit ingdirect.com.au.

Should I open a Commonwealth locked savings account?

If you have trouble saving money, a Commbank locked savings account could be a potential solution. A locked savings account won’t let you make withdrawals and as such, it can help you grow your savings balance if you keep topping it up. 

The Commonwealth locked savings account advertises high-interest rates and minimal maintenance fees, along with a host of other incentives that will encourage you not to touch the money. 

The account offers a higher interest rate for each month that you make limited or no withdrawals, as well as regular deposits. 

To qualify for a Commonwealth locked savings account with the advertised features, you will need to fulfil specific criteria such as:

  • Depositing a fixed minimum amount into the account every month.
  • Making a fixed number of deposits each month.
  • Making a minimum or no withdrawals each month.
  • Maintaining a minimum account balance.

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 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.

What is an ANZ locked savings account?

An ANZ locked savings account locks your money and prevents you from spending. You may use a standard savings account as the account where your salary is deposited. You can then withdraw funds when needed, but aren’t able to make purchases with it. However, this account may not grow much as the continual withdrawing of funds will limit the interest you can earn.

With a locked savings account in ANZ, you know your savings will grow because you can’t access the money. You can also qualify for a bonus when you deposit at least $10 per month and don’t make any withdrawals. To help you with this further you can set up an automatic transfer from your regular ANZ savings or transaction account so you don’t forget to make a monthly deposit.

Your ANZ locked savings account offers you a base interest rate of 0.1 per cent per annum plus an additional bonus interest of 0.49 per cent per year. The interest is calculated daily and credited to your account on the last working day of the month.

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.

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.

What is a Westpac locked savings account?

The Westpac locked savings account (also known as "Westpac Life") can help customers reach savings goals faster through bonus interest. Customers receive 0.2 per cent standard base interest with a variable bonus rate of 0.35 per cent when the closing balance at the end of the month is higher than the opening balance.

There are some conditions to earn the bonus interest on Westpac's locked savings account, though. First, you’ll need to increase the balance each month either through a deposit or not making any withdrawals, and then link it to a Westpac Choice account and make at least five eligible payments using your debit card. Please consult your bank as to what an eligible payment is. 

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

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.

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.