Not all start-up tech companies are out to invent something new, some just want to improve what already exists. Well, we found four with the mission of making apps that help you save money by making your life easier and even a little cheaper.
Stop stressing out over budgeting! We found an easy-to-use financial spreadsheet you can set up in minutes!
It’s time to greet the 21st century with open arms, and join the “tech revolution.” New technology is providing a simple solution to buy what you need while holding on to more money for what you want. These four tech start-ups are changing the way people shop for prescription drugs, budget their income, and buy and furnish their homes – all from a laptop or smartphone.
How it works: Ever get price-smacked at the pharmacy? This is the Expedia or Kayak of the prescription world – with this website you’ll know how much it’s going to cost before you get to the counter and which retailer is selling it for less. If there’s a coupon out there for the drug you need, GoodRx will send it to you via text or email. Pay for a monthly membership to GoodRx Gold and see even deeper discounts.
Pros: The web tool boasts it’s saved Americans more than $3 billion on prescription drugs since its launch six years ago, and the base version is free. At $9.99 a month, the paid version covers a family of six and the family pet. GoodRx promises discounts up to 90 percent – and the first 30 days are free. Consumer Reports gave the service props for finding the lowest prices and allowing users to search by zip code or GPS location.
Cons: The big savings come from tracking down generic alternatives that sometimes cost only a few dollars or may even be free – but not all generics deliver the same punch as the brand name originals. Also, GoodRx Gold is used as a membership card, you take it to participating pharmacies to get your discount. More than two dozen pharmacies from Costco to CVS honor GoodRx Gold – but some notable others do not, including Publix, SamsClub, Walgreens, and Walmart. Check the list.
How it works: Looking to buy a home, but don’t have enough cash to cover a 20 percent down payment? Unison fronts you some of the money and doesn’t expect a payment until you sell. When that time comes, be it five years from now or 20, you pay Unison the amount it invested and, if you sell at a profit, it takes 35 percent of that.
Pros: This is particularly handy in pricey markets when buyers aren’t likely to have enough to cover 20 percent down. That 20 percent is vital because at that mark the buyer won’t have to pay mortgage insurance, a significant saving. Also, more money down means less money borrowed and smaller monthly payments as a result. While you’re living in your home, Unison collects nothing – this is an investment, not a loan. If for some reason, the home loses value when you do sell, the payment to Unison also shrinks.
Cons: You will have to pay Unison back not only the money fronted but 35 percent of any gain in value. Even if you never move and eventually pay off the mortgage, you will owe Unison its share of the downpayment in plus its share of appreciation. There is also a transaction fee at closing that amounts to 2.5 percent of the company’s investment.
How it works: This is a rent-to-own shop without an actual shop and more inventory. Go online to FlexShopper and apply for up to $2,500 – up to $113 per week in credit. Then shop for furniture, electronics, appliances and more that you can lease to own in a year.
Pros: Good credit isn’t necessary, though not everyone with bad credit is approved. You can get more than one item as long as it’s within your approved spending limit. The site offers a selection of more than 85,000 items. The payments are automatically taken from your bank account. You can choose to buy the product at any time – saving you some cash. Once you’ve ordered something, the company will let you move from a weekly payment to a bi-weekly or monthly with proof that’s how you get paid.
Cons: Leasing to own an item is always more than you would pay in cash. Of course, that’s why people often turn to rent-to-own outfits – because they can’t afford it all at once. Mess up a payment and that will further ding your credit history.
How it works: So many apps out there promise to help you manage your budget but rarely do any of them make it easy. Tiller allows you to drop all the things you need to manage your finances into something it turns out most people want to use: a spreadsheet. Google Sheets, to be exact. The tool does it in a way that info from your accounts is automatically updated.
Pros: You can use Tiller’s spreadsheet templates or ones you customize. Unlike do-it-yourself spreadsheets, you won’t have to tangle with the formulas behind the scenes. Tiller doesn’t just record your numbers it can give you tips, for example, it can show you how debt will snowball and how best to pay it off. Tiller gives you the option to connect with analysts who can examine your spending. Get the first 30 days free unless you’re a college student. They can get one year free.
Cons: Budgeting automatically with Tiller will cost $5 per month. You’ll need a Google account to use it. It’s more hands-on than other finance software such as Mint.com or Personal Capital, says Investorjunkie.com. It can link to more than 10,000 financial institutions – but if yours isn’t on the list, you will have to email Tiller’s support team to get it added.