10 Budget Tools, Accounts and Apps That You Actually Need

There is a ton of hype out there around rebate apps, savings accounts and budget tools. So which ones do you actually need? I have talked about a lot of different financial products, tools, and methods over the years. Today I have narrowed it down to 10. Here are 10 budget tools, accounts and apps that you actually need. These are designed to help you save money, pay off debt and budget smarter.

*This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission at no cost to you and all recommendations are my own.

Savings Accounts

Building smart, secure savings is very important. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of accounts and apps out there that aren’t worth your time and money. Here are my favorite recommended ways to save.

Get paid to save

Most savings accounts that are offered through your bank are paying you way too little in interest. Maybe around .03%. When starting a savings account, make sure you are finding one that is willing to pay you for saving.

The following accounts all have great interest rates and offer compounding interest.

The Savings Builder Savings Account

The Savings Builder savings account still blows my mind. For only $100 you can open a savings builder account and if you deposit only $100 per month, you can rack up an interest rate of 2.45%!

Learn more about the Savings Builder

High Yield Savings Account

Opening a High Yield Savings Account is a great idea for when you are just starting to build your savings. It allows for more frequent monthly transactions and still gives you an interest rate of 1.55%!

Learn more about High Yield Savings Accounts

Money Market Savings Account

A Money Market Savings Account is great and gives you an interest rate of 1.85%. The main difference here is that you are not allowed as many monthly transactions as a High Yield Savings Account.

While Money Market Accounts are great for earning more in interest, I suggest that if you are able to save at least $100 per month, the Savings Builder Savings Account is the better route. If you are unable to commit to that amount, but still want to earn interest on your savings, then Money Market is a great way to do it.

Learn about Money Market Savings Accounts

Acorns

Not everyone is a huge fan of the Acorns app, and I totally understand that. Acorns was originally marketed as an investment app that allowed people who were not used to investing to “get their feet wet.”

I see it as a great tool to help you save literally every penny, make some money and make budgeting a lot easier.

Acorns works by rounding up your every day purchases. If you spend $3.50 on a cup of coffee, Acorns will round up to $4 and invest .50 cents for you.

This is extremely helpful when it comes to tracking your expenses because you are able to use whole, rounded numbers. As a bonus, you’ve also saved a little pocket change. Get $5 to start with Acorns.

Does saving spare change actually make a difference?

YES! For the last few months, just by having my round-ups on with Acorns I have saved $270 in spare change alone in the last 6 months.

By age 72, it’s projected that I will have earned over $66,000 — just from saving spare change!

See my plan to turn $50 into $150,000 with Acorns.

Budgeting and Debt Payoff

Of course, any financial blogger is going to encourage you to start a smart budget and get yourself out of debt. Here are my 4 best recommendations that will help you do these things.

Debt Snowball

The Debt Snowball is Dave Ramsey’s super simple debt payoff method that has worked for millions of people over the years. This is the plan we used to pay off over $6,000 in 6 months and what we stuck to in order to become completely debt free (except the mortgage.)

Budget Bundle

Getting started with a budget can be confusing. Personally, I prefer starting with a good old fashioned pencil and paper.

That’s why I created my Fun Sized Budget Bundle. It is the basic budgeting system I use to plan our budget, pay off debt, organize sinking funds and meal plan on a budget.

If you are a hands-on person like me, if you need to be able to erase mistakes and visually see all of your finances in front of you, then you don’t want to miss this handy little bundle.

Learn more about the Fun Sized Budget Bundle

Envelope System

When you are starting to budget, creating a cash envelope system is such a smart idea. For example, if you have a $150 grocery budget for the week, you would take this money out of the bank and put it into an envelope marked, “Groceries.”

If you need to do $50 in car maintenance, this would also go in an envelope marked, “Car.”

The envelope system is a very simple, hands-on way of managing your money and can help you ditch credit cards by paying in cash.

If you are a recovering shopaholic, like me, then working with cash envelopes is one of the smartest ways to help you manage your over-spending tendencies. Being more hands-on with your money really makes you aware of how much you’re spending and how much you have left.

EveryDollar Budget

The EveryDollar Budget app, designed by the Dave Ramsey team, is a great way to help track your spending along with a partner.

The EveryDollar app works just like a regular budget in the sense that you enter your paychecks, subtract your bills, and plan your spending. The only difference is that instead of doing everything on paper, you’ll have it all at your fingertips in the app.

This works really well when you are budgeting with a partner or spouse because you are both able to track your spending through the app. That means if both of you make trips to the gas station in one week, you can each visually see how much money you have left in your gas budget.

Check out the EveryDollar app.

Rebate and Savings Apps

There are so many rebate apps or savings apps out there that it’s hard to know which ones actually benefit you and which ones don’t. I’ve broken this down into my 4 favorite apps and I will explain why I think these are a little better than the rest.

Trim

Trim is an awesome app that can instantly find you savings in your monthly budget. Once you sign up, Trim will look at your recurring spending and monthly bills to see if there is some area where you could be paying less.

I was informed that I could be saving money on my internet payment each month within 20 minutes of signing up for Trim. This made me super excited because I had always felt I was paying too much!

The best part is, Trim will handle all of these payment negotiations and changes for you!

Learn more about Trim.

Ebates

I feel like Ebates is the original rebate app for good reason. They offer such good rebate prices on a huge variety of places. My personal favorite way to use Ebates is when planning a vacation or date nights.

When using places like Groupon or Restaurant.com Ebates will also give you a percentage back on your expenses as long as you purchase through your Ebates account.

When we planned our 10-year vow renewal last summer we made sure to use Ebates when booking our hotel. By doing this we were able to get some extra spending money back in our pocket.

Get $10 to start with Ebates.

Dosh

Dosh is probably my favorite rebate app because it requires absolutely nothing from you in order to save money.

Other rebate apps have you scrolling through adds and discounts in order to select savings that you want. This can be more tempting than helpful. When seeing all of these rebates people might be more likely to purchase items they wouldn’t normally just because they are excited about the discount.

You will instantly be refunded money on any qualifying purchases you make with Dosh. No need to scroll ads or take pictures of receipts.

This way you are getting rewarded without really knowing it or feeling tempted to purchase something you wouldn’t have normally purchased.

Get $5 for signing up with Dosh.

Honey

Honey is similar to Dosh in the sense that it gives you beneficial savings on any purchases you were already planning to make online.

If you are getting ready to check out at an online store, Honey will ask if you want to check the internet for any coupons or savings first.

I still encourage everyone to be careful when online shopping because it can lead to thoughtless spending. Honey is a tool to make sure you are getting as much savings as possible on your planned purchases.

Get Honey.

There we have it…

There you have it folks. My top recommendations. Of all the things I will talk about or mention, these areas are my absolute most recommended ways to save money, budget smart or get out of debt.

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About The Author

Renee

Renee is the blogger behind The Fun Sized Life. After downsizing with her family, she also took the time to get serious about he finances. Now she is sharing the wealth with all of her readers.