Between a global pandemic, a recession and a life-altering election, it’s a good idea to save some extra money any way you can these days. One part of your life that you may not realize is sucking your savings dry? Your phone.
Mobile apps bring entertainment and convenience to our lives, but they can also make it too easy to spend money. So if you’re looking for a quick way to save some bucks, consider deleting the following apps and replacing them with better alternatives.
Delete Instacart and replace with Walmart’s app
Sure, Instacart offers a wide variety of stores to shop from, but that convenience comes at a high cost. There’s the delivery fee, service fee (with a separate service fee for alcohol purchases), bottle deposit and bag fees, another fee if you order anything heavy, taxes and tip. Even if you sign up for Instacart’s Express membership, there are still service fees for each delivery on top of the $99 annual cost.
If you’re set on avoiding grocery shopping, try Walmart’s delivery service instead. Orders of at least $35 are charged a flat rate of between $7.94 and $9.95 per delivery, depending on the time slot. You can also sign up for the Walmart+ membership, which gets you unlimited free delivery on orders over $35 for $12.95 per month or $98 per year. And that’s not just on groceries, but any Walmart order (which could come in handy for the holidays).
Delete Instagram and replace with the Mindfulness app
I know, I know. How dare we suggest deleting Insta when envy-scrolling is one of the few pleasures you have right now? But consider this: Instagram may not make you happy at all. In fact, it could be making you particularly miserable. Not to mention, the app’s increased focus on monetization means you’re even more tempted to make impulse purchases, whether it’s through an ad or an influencer.
So maybe it’s time to take a break from the ’gram for the sake of your mental health and wallet. Instead, download a free meditation app such The Mindfulness App, which can guide you through relaxing meditations and help you feel more present IRL.
Delete Amazon and replace with Rakuten
Amazon’s 1-Click Ordering option makes it way too easy to buy crap you don’t need on a whim. And let’s be honest, Jeff Bezos does not need any more of your money. We’re not saying you need to give up shopping on Amazon altogether, but at least take it off your phone to cut down on impulsive purchases.
While you’re at it, download a cashback app like Rakuten. Now when you spend money (after taking the time to make a well-informed decision), you can earn money back on purchases you were going to make anyway.
Delete Acorns and replace with Ally
Acorns has become a popular app for beginning investors. It connects to your debit and credit cards, rounding up purchases to the next dollar and investing the difference into a computer-managed investment portfolio. It also offers a membership tier that includes a checking and retirement savings account for a higher fee.
In all, you can expect to pay $1 to $5 a month to use Acorns, depending on the level of service you choose. That might not seem like much, but it’s actually pretty steep for newbie investors with small portfolios.
The good news is you can grow your savings and investments for free using an app such as Ally, which charges zero commissions on most trades made through its self-directed trading account (and you may see better returns by making your own educated investments rather than letting Acorns do the decision-making for you). On the banking side, Ally offers a number of fee-free accounts, including a high-yield savings account that helps you grow your nest egg without any added cost.
Delete all your food delivery apps and just call the restaurant
Social distancing during the pandemic has made food delivery apps such as Uber Eats, DoorDash, Seamless and Postmates a godsend. The only problem is that they’re expensive as hell. Not only are there a myriad of fees, but restaurants often raise their prices on these apps to make up for the cost of doing business on them. And you have to tip your delivery person on top of that.
To save money, consider skipping the apps altogether and using your phone as, well, a phone. You can minimize your contact with other people, save tons of money and support local businesses during this tough time by deleting your food delivery apps and calling restaurants directly for pickup. It’s a lot less convenient than having soup dumplings delivered to your doorstep, but it’s also less damaging to your budget. Plus, you can rest assured that any fees and tips you pay go directly to the restaurant. Just don’t forget to wear your face mask.