3 Apps That Help You Invest Spare Change

Spare change savings is often facilitated by mobile apps, it involves automatically saving and deciding to invest spare change, typically by rounding up your everyday purchases to the nearest dollar.

The philosophy behind spare change savings is “little and often.” Every time you spend money, whether it’s on gas, groceries, or dining out, an app rounds up that purchase and saves the change for you.

How Does Spare Change Saving Work?

Spare change savings apps typically connect to your credit and/or debit card, take the virtual change from your linked checking account, and put the money into a savings account. The app monitors the user’s day-to-day transactions. When a purchase is made using a linked account, the app automatically rounds up the transaction amount to the nearest dollar.

Example:  if you buy a sandwich for $7.80, the app will automatically transfer 20 cents from your checking account into a savings account. 

Some spare change apps put your money into a traditional savings account or a checking and savings account. Others invest your money in small portfolios, based on your risk tolerance and financial situation. 

3 Apps That Help You Invest Spare Change

Several apps leverage the concept of investing spare change by rounding up your everyday purchases to the nearest dollar and investing the difference. Here are three popular apps that offer this service:

Acorns

Acorns links to your bank account and credit/debit cards. When you make a purchase, Acorns rounds up the transaction to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change in a diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Main Features:

  • Offers automated, hands-off investing.
  • Allows you to choose between different portfolio options based on risk tolerance.
  • Provides a “Found Money” feature, where partnered companies invest a percentage of your purchase into your Acorns account.
  • Monthly subscription fee based on account balance (may offer a free tier for students).

Stash

Stash provides a micro-investing platform that allows you to invest with as little as $5. Users can choose from a selection of curated ETFs based on their interests, values, and goals.

Main Features:

  • Allows fractional share investing, making it easier to diversify with small amounts of money.
  • Offers educational content and tips to help users learn about investing.
  • Provides a variety of ETFs that align with specific themes or industries.
  • Monthly subscription fee based on account size.

Robinhood (Round-Ups)

Robinhood is primarily known as a commission-free stock trading app, but it also offers a “Round-Ups” feature. When enabled, it rounds up your everyday purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the spare change in a portfolio of your choice.

Main Features:

  • Commission-free stock and ETF trading.
  • Round-Ups feature allows for automated investing of spare change.
  • Provides a cash management feature with a Robinhood debit card.
  • No monthly fees, but certain premium features may have fees.

The Benefits of Spare Change Savings

There are a number of potential benefits to spare change savings. Below are some of the reasons you may want to try using one of these apps.

They Can Make Saving Easy and Automatic

One of the biggest advantages of spare change savings is that it’s automatic. You don’t have to remember to bring your change to the bank or transfer money from checking to savings after you get paid in order to save money from your salary. If you’re struggling to save money, setting up a spare change savings app can help jumpstart the process and make it relatively pain-free.

Your Savings Can Earn Interest

Spare change saving app, unlike the piggy bank method, can put your savings into an account that can earn interest and help your money grow over time. Some spare change savings apps even  facilitate micro-investing by allowing users to invest small amounts of money, sometimes as little as a few cents. This opens up investing opportunities to a broader audience. This involves risk, but if these investments do well, your savings could grow considerably.

They Can Make Investing Less Intimidating

Micro-investing apps can make it easier to get started with investing, even if you currently don’t know anything about it. Generally, they’ll recommend a portfolio based on your goals and time horizon, turning your spare change into an investment on a small scale–a good way to experiment.

You Can Start Small

For individuals who find it challenging to set aside significant amounts for savings, spare change savings provides a way to start small. It turns everyday transactions into a savings strategy, encouraging a habit of regular saving.

Creates Financial Discipline

The automatic nature of spare change savings promotes financial discipline. Even small, regular contributions can add up over time, helping users build a savings habit without feeling a significant impact on their daily spending.

Summary

Spare change saving refers to a method of saving money by rounding up everyday purchases to the nearest dollar and saving the difference. This approach is often facilitated by mobile apps such as Acorn and Stash that automatically round up your transactions and transfer the spare change into a savings or investment account. The goal is to make saving small amounts of money easy and automatic, leveraging the “change” from your everyday spending.

Before using any of these apps, it’s important to carefully review their features, fees, and investment options. While investing spare change is a convenient way to start investing with small amounts, it’s crucial to consider your financial goals, risk tolerance, and the fees associated with each platform.

Additionally, always conduct your research and make informed decisions based on your individual financial situation.