If you’re reevaluating your budget, you’re not alone. The pandemic has taken a toll on the economy, and as jobless claims continue to pour in by the millions, many Americans are taking a hard look at their finances. A recent FinanceBuzz survey revealed that people are more concerned about paying their bills than catching coronavirus.
Most people will need to take some steps to protect themselves financially during this difficult time, and that will include finding ways to spend less and save more. Luckily, there are several easy ways to lower your bills, and one that doesn’t require any effort on your part: using money-saving apps. If you don’t want to call your subscription services, cable company, or phone carrier in an effort to save money, there are apps that can do that for you.
Why not take advantage of the available technology to make cutting your budget a little easier?
What is Truebill?
Truebill is a financial management platform intended to help users track and reduce their recurring monthly bills. It’s an early-stage venture based in the San Francisco Bay Area that was founded at the beginning of 2016.
Since then, the company has helped users save more than $14 million by finding and canceling unwanted subscriptions, reducing monthly bills, and securing refunds on their behalf. But the app is about more than just those immediate savings; it also helps you recognize and change your own spending habits so you can have better control over your money.
Customers have great things to say about Truebill. More than 200 customers left excellent reviews on Trustpilot, with many citing great customer service and the capacity to save money using the app. One recent reviewer called the app “the fairy godmother of all things budget.”
How to use Truebill
Truebill has a whole suite of features that help you better manage your money. Note that many of the features are only available for premium members Here are some of the things the app can do:
Lower your bills with Truebill
With Truebill, you can add a bill by simply snapping a photo of it. Truebill has a team of experts ready to find any additional discounts available to you. After that, they’ll negotiate your bill to try to get a better rate or one-time credit. They work with many different companies, including Verizon, AT&T, Cox Communications, and Time Warner Cable. Truebill will also try to get a refund for you if you have an outage.
If Truebill manages to save you money, they take 40% of your savings. If you don’t save money, you won’t pay for the service. They’ll also let you know by email how much you saved in the negotiation so it’s always transparent.
Offer a pay advance
You can request a $100 advance to be paid out of your next deposited paycheck in your linked account. It’s free to do this at any time, and if your request is approved, you’ll be given the option to tip. If you find yourself considering a high-cost payday loan, consider this instead.
Use Truebill to cancel subscriptions
Truebill monitors and cancels subscriptions you no longer use. The company states that 84% of people have forgotten about a monthly subscription, and Truebill promises to identify and cancel these for you. This service is available for premium members only.
Get you fee refunds
Truebill’s concierge members will automatically request refunds for premium members when they are charged bank fees. For example, if you get hit with an overdraft or late fee, Truebill will send a letter to your bank on your behalf requesting a refund. Not all requests are granted, but you may be able to get that money back in your account without lifting a finger.
Help you budget
Truebill gives you a high-level overview of your cash, credit, investments, and upcoming bills. This will help you prioritize your bills if you’re short on cash. Truebill also categorizes your expenses so you can identify what your typical budget needs are and locate areas where you could save. It’s also easy to view your spending by month so you can easily track your progress.
Help you save
Truebill has a Smart Savings feature that will help you to calculate how much extra cash to set aside each month towards a savings goal while ensuring you’ll have enough to cover your bills and expenses.
You’ll be able to set specific requirements around your savings goals so you don’t end up overdrawing your account or needing to borrow later.
Who is Truebill best for?
The free version of Truebill is great for anyone who needs a little help negotiating their bills. If you feel confident calling your phone and cable carrier yourself, you could save more money this way, as Truebill wouldn’t be taking a cut. But if you want the convenience of a financial concierge, give Truebill a try.
The premium version is best for someone who will use all the features and wants the convenience of having them all in the same place. That’s because you can get many of the features, such as subscription cancellation and automatic savings, free with other services. But it will likely save you time to have everything available in one app. And the monthly fee is low when you consider all Truebill has to offer.
How much can you save with Truebill?
Truebill saves users an average of $720 annually, according to data published in the International Business Times. That’s a significant savings in exchange for zero effort, and easily offsets the annual cost of using the premium service. What’s more, about one-fourth of Truebill users realize they are paying for subscriptions they don’t use or want.
Common questions about Truebill
How much does Truebill cost?
It’s free to let Truebill negotiate your bills for you, and you’ll only pay if they save you money. Pay advance features are also free, but you can provide an optional tip. Truebill’s other features are available only for premium accounts. You can choose what you pay for a premium account, between $3 and $12 per month or $36 to $48 annually, and you can cancel anytime in the app.
Is Truebill safe to use?
Yes. Truebill uses top-of-the-line 256-bit encryption to protect your data. Your data is only used for the services that Truebill provides; it is never sold. Truebill also securely connects to financial institutions using Plaid, the same financial services company that allows you to securely send money through Venmo, and hosts their services securely using Amazon Web Services.
How do you cancel Truebill?
To cancel your premium account, follow these steps:
- Tap the “Settings” icon in the upper left-hand corner
- Select “Premium”
- Scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Modify”
- Follow the prompts to cancel your premium account
To delete your account altogether, follow these steps:
- Tap the “Settings” icon in the upper left-hand corner
- Select “My Profile”
- Select “Delete my account”
Is Truebill FDIC-insured?
Yes. Truebill’s Smart Savings feature puts your money into a noninterest-bearing, FDIC-insured account. That means your funds are protected up to $250,000.
How to get started with Truebill
To get started, you’ll need to download the app. Next, create an account with your name, email address, and password. You can also sign up with Facebook.
After that, you’ll just need to connect your bank account and credit cards with Plaid to get an overall picture of your finances. Have your account and routing numbers ready. Once that’s done, you’re ready to start saving!
Other money apps to consider
If Truebill doesn’t seem like the right tool for you, don’t fret; there are plenty of other ways to make extra cash, including several money-saving apps that require little effort on your part. Trim is a similar app that cancels unwanted subscriptions, negotiates bills, and automates your savings. Some of the features that are part of the premium package for Truebill are free on Trim, and vice-versa. If you’re not sure which app is best for you, you can always check out the free versions of both and decide from there.
If you feel comfortable managing your budget yourself but would like to earn some cash back for your everyday spending, check out Ibotta. You can save money on your grocery store purchases and online shopping with discounts and cash back. It’s super easy to use: snap a photo of your receipt, link your loyalty card, or click to shop online through the app.
Whether you decide to sign up for Truebill or use another resource, we hope that better money management helps you weather the financial uncertainty of these times. The pandemic will pass, the economy will recover, and your financial situation will start to improve. On the bright side, it’s likely we’ll all come out of this with a better toolbox for managing future financial emergencies.