Financial Education According to Danielle

Jun 27, 2018

I remember the good old days when my mother would take me grocery shopping, unbeknownst to me at the time that she was actually instilling budgeting skills. When we would get up to the cash register, sometimes the cashier would ask if she’d like to round up her purchase to the nearest dollar and donate to charity. She’d always say yes, and as the curious kid that I was, I’d always ask why she did. My mom explained, “I may not be giving a whole dollar, but cents add up! Say I donated $0.72, and the person behind us donated $0.84, and another person donated $0.56 and so on and so forth… that money is going towards making a difference.” Online apps have since taken this idea and ran with it, allowing consumers to choose where they’d like their spare change to go—besides the inside of a piggy bank.

Here are just 3 (out of many) apps that help you to invest your spare change:

  • Stash: This investing app gives you free rein when it comes to deciding how much you’d like to put towards your investments. Stash has an algorithm that figures out how much it should transfer from your bank to your Cash Balance—money that’s housed in your account until you’re ready to invest it. All you have to do is direct auto-stash to either save more or less throughout the month. The great thing about this feature is that it will stop automatically transferring money from your bank account to your Stash Account when you have less than $100 in your account.
  • Lyft: This rideshare app gives you the option of rounding up the cost of your ride to the nearest dollar and automatically donating the change to one of eight worthy charities. Whether or not you ride Lyft frequently, you’ll be glad to know that your extra cents is going towards a reputable charity.
  • ChangED: This education-focused app can be explained as the “Stash app of students loans.” It rounds up purchases made on your card to the nearest dollar and moves the extra cents into an FDIC insured account. Once you’ve saved $100, it automatically makes a payment to your student loan servicer on your behalf. Note: there is a $1/month fee.

The processes of saving coins in a change jar and redeeming it for cash has joined the ranks of tasks that have been automated. Thanks to apps like Stash, Lyft, and ChangED, the extra step of physically going to the bank has been eliminated, thus freeing up your time—maybe find a hustle with all of those extra hours?


In my opinion, these apps are really useful because they allow consumers to put their change towards a worthy cause or something they otherwise wouldn’t invest in normally. Over time, these apps could inspire people to start donating or investing on a regular basis. Not only that, these apps will help dispel the misconception that people need thousands of dollars to start investing!


  • Do you currently have any apps that round up your purchases to the nearest dollar and automatically save that money for you?
    • What app is it and do you find it beneficial? Explain your answer.
  • What are the pros and cons of these apps that automatically round up your purchases for you?


NGPF: If you’re looking for a fun and engaging budgeting game to play in your class, be sure to check out our Activity, The Bean Game!