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Apps to help you save on your groceries, tax, investing

acorns app investing

Whether it’s a bank account or shopping list, every little bit counts when you’re trying to save.

Pocketbook

Cost: Free to download. There are certain features that you need to unlock by either inviting a friend or “donating” a few dollars.
App store rating and reviews: 4½ stars. “Excellent.” “Made me save thousands.” “It’s good but needs some tweaks.”

With over 350,000 downloads to date, this Aussie-grown app is perfect if you’re looking for a basic tracking and budgeting tool.

It’s one of the few apps that gives you the option to synchronise with Australian banks so there’s no need to make manual entries.

You’ll see where all your money is going as it automatically organises your spending into categories. There are also weekly summary alerts to inform you of upcoming bills.

MoneyBrilliant

Cost: Basic plan is free to download. Plus plan (includes bill watching, access to activity feed, tax deductions and data import and export) costs $9.90 a month.
App store rating and reviews: 4½ stars. “Lifesaver.” “Helps track my money but slow.”

This one is a little more comprehensive than Pocketbook, as it not only collects your expenses from your bank transactions and credit cards (it’s synced to over 200 financial institutions) but can also look at your super, mortgages and even loyalty cards so that you have a complete picture of your finances.

It can help you to save money by finding better deals, claiming your tax deductions and alerting you if you have a low account balance when a bill is about to come in.

It’s worth noting that AMP bought MoneyBrilliant in early 2016.

ATO

Cost: Free to download.
App store rating and reviews: 3 stars. “Useful but back up your data.” “Fantastic.” “Should be a lot better.”No more rummaging through boxes hunting for receipts at tax time.

This app puts tax and super help in the palm of your hand, making it easier to conduct your affairs on the go.

Among other features it can record and manage your work expenses and upload your myDeductions records to your tax return or email a copy to your tax agent.

Trolley Saver

Cost: Free to download.
App store rating and reviews: 2 stars. “Keeps crashing.” “Great idea needs some tweaking.” “Saved $40 last shop.”An Aussie app that’s designed to save money at supermarkets.

The app currently links to Coles, Woolworths, Aldi and many independent stores. Based on your shopping list and current specials, it tells you where to shop to save money.

Splitwise

Price: Free to download.
App store rating and reviews: 4½ stars. “Superb argument stopper.” “Saves friendships!”

Splitting bills or IOUs can be awkward, especially when your friends or family members forget to pay you back.

This little app takes on all the hard work so you don’t have to feel bad about asking for your money.

It keeps a running total of who owes what and allows you to track spending trends. You can set up expenses so they are divided equally or by percentages.

Anybody who has borrowed money can log in and see their expenses. You can even set up friendly email reminders in case somebody forgets to pay you.

Raiz Invest (formerly Acorns Grow Australia)

Cost: Free to download.
App store rating and reviews: 5 stars. “Can’t recommend highly enough.” “There’s a risk of investing in the market.”This an automated coin jar that turns your loose change into an investment portfolio.

It’s ideal for people who don’t have a lot of cash to spare but want to get into the investment game. The Raiz default setting will round up the balance of your debit or credit card transactions to the nearest dollar.

For example, if you spend $4.60 then 40¢ goes into your Raiz investment account.

Every time $5 accumulates it’s invested in a mix of ASX-listed exchange traded funds, based on a diversified portfolio that you’ve selected from one of six options which best reflects your risk appetite.

Try to get your “small change” over $2000 or fees can erode your savings. $1.25 per month is charged for balances under $5000.

ING

Cost: Free to download.
App store rating and reviews: 4 stars. “Great banking app!” “Good app with annoying ads.”

Save every time you spend! Technically this isn’t an app but rather a savings tool. However, you can flick it on through the ING banking app.

Essentially it allows you to save your small change every time you spend.

If you bought something for $2.50, then 50¢ will go into your Savings Maximiser account if you have chosen to round up to the nearest $1, or $2.50 if you had opted to round up to $5.

There are no fees to use the round-up tool.

The Savings Maximiser is also fee free. The Maximiser interest rate is not the highest on offer but it’s still quite competitive and consistent. ING launched its tool late last year. P&N Bank was the first with an automatic feature (Pay&Save).

Written by Effie Zahos

Effie Zahos

Effie Zahos is a finance editor, commentator and financial literacy campaigner with Bauer Media. She is the author of A Real Girl’s Guide to Money: From Converse to Louboutins, and a regular money commentator on TV and radio across Australia. In 1999, a background in banking Effie helped kickstart Money, which she edited until 2019. Effie holds a Bachelor's degree in economics.

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