Sarah’s Top 5 Favorite Apps That Cost $0

Everyone who knows me knows that books are my favorite thing of all the things, because…books. However, in the spirit of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and all the shopping happening this week, I’m going to tell you some of my favorite things that won’t cost you a gosh darn penny and really have nothing to do with writing or reading, because why not?

Here’s a list of my top 5 favorite apps or programs that I use literally every day and kind of make my life. Everything on here, I’ve tried so you can be assured I mean it. However, keep in mind that for some of these I’m also using affiliate links which means I get a little credit, or some times a couple dollars.

TL, DR: We’re talking Digit Savings, theSkimm Daily News, Shine Daily Texts, Breaking News App, and Starbucks Rewards (because, duh).

Anywho, check it out and tell me in the comments which apps you use and love on a daily basis!


When I Can’t Save $ For Sh*t

A friend introduced me to Digit last Spring and it’s seriously been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself (aka, I’ve saved $2,000 without even trying). This is a real bank account (yes, real bank account with FDIC insured and the whole nine yards) that saves for you without you having to do a thing. It basically automatically pulls a few dollars here and there from your checking account and puts them in a Digit Savings Account.

How It Works: Set up the Digit app (also done via text) with your checking account and start saving! That simple! You’ll get weekly alerts (or more/less frequent if you want) and you can set how aggressively it saves for you. You can also transfer $ back to your checking account in 1 business day, and you get $5 if someone signs up with your link (Hint!). It won’t overdraft you either, but if on the off chance it does, it will reimburse you everything including the bank overdraft fee (you can also set it so it doesn’t save if your account is below a certain $ amount just in case this makes you nervous!). Now you’ll have a nice cushion of money for emergencies, or a fun goal like a vacation fund or car fund or whatever else you’re saving for! We’re saving up for a car (or maybe that mythical honeymoon we never had *sigh*).

Learn more about Digit at


When I Don’t Know What’s Up In The World

Thankfully, a team of snarky, smart, sweet millennials is at the ready to give me the latest news in a less-than-2-minute read in my daily Skimm that goes out to millions of readers, including big-time celebrities like Oprah. Yes, this is Oprah approved! Also, this is bipartisan, so whoever you voted for, you can feel safe reading this!

How It Works: Every Monday through Friday, you get an email about the latest current events happening all around the world. You’ll sound a lot smarter at dinner parties and family gatherings because of it, plus Amazon Echo’s Alexa can read it out loud to you (set that up here) so you’ll feel knowledgable as hell during your morning pee! Side Note: They do have an app that’s $2.99/month and totally awesome and more in depth than the free email, but hey, free is free!

Subscribe to theSkimm today at

When I Need A Happy Start To My Day

The Shine text has been my lifeline through this election season, and hell, every season. Every Monday through Friday at around 8:30am, I receive an uplifting text message about life, motivations, and positivity.

Here’s an example of the last text I got:
“It is not happy people who are grateful, but grateful people who are happy.” Love. Connectedness. Stretchy pants. Take it all in today, Sarah. #ShineOn 🙂 

Now who wouldn’t want to start their day off with a sprinkle of encouragement?

Sign up to receive your free Shine text at


When I Can’t Wait 30 Seconds For The News

The Breaking News app is perfect for news junkies like me because I can get all the latest breaking news in one sentence or less immediately.

How It Works: Download the app to your phone and make sure notifications are set. Now pick up to 10 categories to be alerted on (like the election, US news, local news in your town, etc). If you want more than that, I think you have to pay for it. Now each time something happens, you’ll get a notification on your phone about it! You can get the gist from the notification itself or click on it to read more in depth.

Download Breaking News at


It’s You. It’s Always Been You, Coffee.

I don’t get anything but a pat on the back from myself for telling you this, but if you’re a Starbucks lover, or even occasional buyer like myself, you need this app. I get free drinks all the time just by paying attention to their daily doubles or freebies or other cool promotional days. I also can order drinks from my phone and pay for it with my phone. In fact, if I don’t want to wait in line, I just order it from my phone ahead of time and swoop in at the last minute to pick it up while everyone in line stares at me with murder eyes. It’s fun to be hated by strangers.

How It Works: Download the app and link it to a Starbucks giftcard that you can reload again and again (or once you hit gold level, they send you a personalized gold card!). Order through the app and you’ll collect 2 stars per $1 spent. After 125 stars, you get a free drink of any size or type (you know my free drinks are the fanciest, biggest they have with 8 extra shots and would normally cost $20). It’s really easy to get to 125 stars without spending the $60-something you’d think you need to spend because Starbucks does tons of promotions for 50 free stars, 150 free stars, free daily double star points, free stars for ordering XYQ, etc. You just have to pay attention to the deals! 🙂 If you buy cheap drinks (think tea, coffee, iced coffee) instead of fancy drinks, then you really end up spending a lot less and getting the free drink sooner.

Break It Down For Me: For example, they recently had a deal where 9 purchases (over $1) within a week got you an extra 150 stars on top of the stars that each of the purchases normally gets you. By ordering 9 simple drinks like a grande brewed coffee between me and my husband, we spent $22.50 in a week and earned 150 stars, plus the 45 stars that our purchases got us (aka 195 total). In case that seems like a lot of coffee to you, I’m there every day all day writing so it’s kind of like rent to me (I seriously am talking like 50+hrs a week). That’s almost 2 free drinks right there (250 would be 2 free), and since I get a trenta-sized speciality holiday coffee drink with extra shots for my free drink (a $16.86 value according to my receipt), I pretty much paid $5.64 for 10 drinks, including a fancy as hell drink, and I’m only a few stars away from another free drink in a few days. Side note: I’m horrible at math. 

Side Note for Writers: If you get regular coffee or iced coffee, and I think even tea, you can get a $0.50 refill if you’re still in the store when you finish it! You can hang out all day and drink 6 grande coffees for under $5 and only a minor heart attack. Talk about a cheap office! (Note: the 50 cent refills don’t earn you star rewards). 

Join Starbucks Rewards at


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