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Apps to Make Saving Easier

Saving for a home, retirement, a vacation or anything else can be difficult.

The median retirement savings of all working-age families in the United States is $5,000, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Given that many financial advisers recommend having about $1 million in retirement, that leaves many families far short of their retirement plans.

Don’t let such big goals keep you from striving for them. Many mobile apps help people reach multiple savings goals, often in painless ways that only require the change you’d normally get at the cash register.

For a retirement plan, home down payment or other large financial goal, you’re probably best off by maximizing automatic paycheck deductions or contributing regularly to a savings account. For smaller savings goals, here are some apps to check out:

Qapital: Set multiple savings goals and have money moved into savings based on rules you set. The service is free.

You won’t have to sacrifice the things you love buying. Buying an espresso every morning at your local coffee shop? Tell the app to save $5 every time you buy coffee. Or it can round up that coffee purchase by a lower amount, such as moving a $3.50 coffee to $4 and putting that extra 50 cents in your account.

Digit: This service has a different way of helping users save money. It connects to your checking account and analyzes your income and spending and finds money it can set aside for you. It never transfers more than you can afford, so you don’t have to worry about overdrafting your account.

Digit used to be free, but now charges $3 per month for its service. A 100-day free trial is available.

Acorns: This micro-investing app turns every purchase you make into an investment.

It connects your accounts and cards that you use to make everyday purchases and rounds your purchases to the nearest dollar. That spare change is automatically invested. You can also set up recurring or one-time investments.

Acorns costs $1 per month to use. For accounts of $5,000 or more, the fee is 0.25 percent per year.

SmartyPig: This online saving account lets you save for specific goals by making automatic transfers from your linked bank account. Want to save for a new TV? SmartyPig can help you set up an account for that.

The service is free. Up to six withdrawals per account can be made each month.

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