How it works: Link your bank account to a separate “tip jar” account for rewarding yourself when you reach a goal. Upgrade to a paid version and you can set up regular automatic tips.
What I liked about it: You don't need a debit or credit card payment for it to work and the app isn't blindly automated. Instead, I could tip myself whenever and however much I wanted.
Stay away if … You're not a goal-oriented person or if patting yourself on the back feels like a contortion.
Cost: Free for the basic version
How it works: Money automatically jumps from your everyday bank account into a new “goals” account, based on the rules you pick. Each time you buy a latte, for example, another $4 goes to your emergency savings or an investment account.
What I liked about it: I got rewarded for my guilty pleasures.
Stay away if … You're not into setting rules. Some folks might enjoy customizing the app's Freelancer, Spend Less and Apple Health rules, but not you.
Cost: Starts at $3 per month
How it works: Based on patterns in your spending, bills and income, an algorithm determines how much you can safely transfer from your primary bank account into a Digit savings account, then does it for you.
What I liked about it: You don't have to buy stuff or set rules for it to work. Plus, there's free money; after three straight months of using the service, you get a bonus in your Digit account.
Stay away if … You'd be unnerved by a computer making unexpected transfers out of your account — even though Digit says it will reimburse you if such a transfer causes an overdraft (limit: two occasions).
Cost: $3 per month
How it works: The app rounds up each of your debit and credit card purchases to the next whole-dollar amount, then siphons off that spare change into an investment portfolio. Upgrade and you can add extras such as a checking account with unlimited access to free or fee-reimbursed ATMs.
What I liked about it: Two weeks of spending money here and there would result in almost $5 socked away for the long haul — money I would never have gotten around to investing otherwise.
Stay away if … You don't use plastic a lot or don't make many purchases.
Cost: Starts at $1 per month
JOIN FOR JUST $16 A YEAR