It’s that time of year again! As we jump into the new year and everyone makes their finance-related resolutions, I like to share some of my own favorite tools and apps for saving and investing. I’ve added (and subtracted) several over the past year, but here are my current recommendations:
Investment Apps—Retirement (IRAs, 401k) and General Investing
Acorns is the first investment app I ever started using and I definitely recommend it for a first-time investor. You can invest as little as $5 at a time and it only costs $1 a month. I was initially investing in a more conservative, bond-heavy (i.e. less risky) portfolio with Acorns, but my net gain was still 9.94% over the past year. They provide really great informational resources through the app and by email too, if you so desire.
Get a $5 bonus when you start using Acorns through my referral code—AND they’ll plant one oak tree for each person who signs up with me in January, for all you environmentally-friendly investors out there. =)
Stash is another solid option, particularly if you 1.) don’t have much money to invest; 2.) are looking to experiment with and learn about investing (they also provide a lot of solid educational literature); or 3.) are really committed to certain social causes.
Examples of some of my investment bundles include businesses that: commit to making a positive impact on environmental, social, and governance issues, companies that support LGBT employees with equal rights and inclusive policies…aaand I buy shares of Warren Buffett’s company. Because, you know, it’s Warren Buffett.
Over the past nine months with Stash, I’ve had a total return of 10.38%. Start off with a free $5 in your account when you use my referral link.
If you’re familiar with Digit (which I used until they started charging), Stash has a similar (optional) feature called Smart Save, which analyzes your spending habits and pulls small amounts from your checking account when you have extra that you can either save or invest. If you choose to leave your money in Stash as a “rainy-day fund,” you receive .55% interest, which as noted above, is waaay more than you will get with most banks.
Wealthsimple is where I keep my Roth IRA. Over the past ten months or so, I’ve had a time-weighted return of 11.6% (money-weighted 13.2%), so that’s not too shabby. If you use my link, you will get your first $15,000 managed for free for the first year. Even if you don’t have that much to invest yet, Wealthsimple will manage your first
If you’ve been looking to roll over your 401k, Roth IRA, or Traditional IRA to another plan, Wealthsimple also pays the transfer fees (from your other financial institution) for you. I just started the process of rolling my old 401k over to a Traditional IRA myself. They always handle rollover fees for accounts with $5,000+, but sometimes they do promotions during which they cover fees for accounts with smaller balances, too.
Savings Accounts and Couponing
(Funny name—and the website features a cute pig wearing glasses—but great product)
I have used SmartyPig, the “online piggybank,” as my high-yield savings account for my emergency fund and specific savings goals for something like ten years now. Even if you only have a few bucks to put in savings, you start off earning 1.15% interest (as opposed to the trash .05% rate you get with your regular bank) and there are zero fees for using this account, period.
For the record, I do get a small referral reward if you deposit $25 or more within 30 days, but I would promote them faithfully even if I never see a dime from it. =) I look forward to seeing my interest statement every month and it has honestly been life-changing—happy saving!
I have used several little grocery and coupon apps and such, but Ibotta is hands-down my favorite—and the one that saves me the most money. If you want to start off with a free $10 in your account, sign up through my links or just use my referral code: sadfisu.
I don’t save nearly as much money with Checkout 51 as I do with Ibotta, and there’s no referral link for this one, but I’ve still saved more than $25 using this app (just search on Google or through your app store). And hey, every penny counts, right??
Have any other savings and/or investment apps you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments! I’m always up for a new way to make—or save—money.