Five Apps for That: Get started with saving, investing

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Tracking business and personal finances is tough enough, but starting and sticking with a plan to set money aside can be even harder.

Apps can provide ways to establish an automatic regimen for moving your money, usually in small increments, into accounts that grow significantly over time. Some apps allow you to break into the stock and bond market without the complications of dealing with a broker and paying high fees.

Qapital 2017 08 17 16 11Qapital

The app’s main purpose is to encourage savings. It allows you to set goals, or rules, so that if you spend less than your targeted amount over a set amount of time – for example, $100 a week on groceries – the excess will transfer to savings automatically.

Qapital requires creating a bank account, which is FDIC-insured up to $250,000, as with most banks. The account has no monthly or annual fees and no minimum deposits. The app allows you to set up free automatic transfers to and from different accounts.

The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Stash Invest 2017 08 17 16 11Stash Invest

Stash Invest is meant to help people get into investing by simplifying the process. You can buy, sell and monitor investments, starting with one as small as $5, and you can withdraw money at any time.

For users with less than $5,000 invested, there is a $1 monthly fee after the first three months. Those with at least $5,000 in the app pay .25 percent of their account balance each year – for example, $12.50 for an account with $5,000.

The app can automatically deposit investment earnings into a bank account or other areas.

The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Digit 2017 08 17 16 11Digit

This app analyzes your income and spending patterns and checks your account daily. When it notes opportunities for savings, it automatically transfers small amounts of money from your checking account to a Digit savings account, but only if you can afford it.

As a safeguard, there is a qualified no-overdraft-fee guarantee. All money held in the app resides in FDIC-insured banks, insured up to $250,000.

The app is free, but after a 100-day trial, its use costs $2.99 per month. Transfers back to your checking account are free.

The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Acorns 2017 08 17 16 11Acorns

After linking your bank account and credit cards, this app invests “spare change” from purchases, which is the amount required to round any given purchase price up to the nearest dollar. A $12.25 purchase will put 75 cents into stocks and bonds that you designate.

Users also can set up specific one-time or recurring investments. Earnings are protected up to $500,000.

The app is free, but using it costs $1 per month for accounts with less than $5,000. Accounts with more than $5,000 are charged .25 percent per year. Withdrawals are free.

The app is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Tip Yourself 2017 08 17 16 11Tip Yourself

Tip Yourself lets users reward themselves for hitting goals, financial or otherwise, by transferring small dollar amounts to a “Tip Jar.”

The idea is to create goals – such as working out, making a healthy eating choice or saving for a vacation – that need some incentive for you to pursue them. Tips can range from $1 to $250.

The amounts and timing for transferring money from your checking account to the app are up to you. Withdrawals back into your bank account are free and unlimited.

This app is available only from the Apple App Store.