Once upon a time, in the not so distant past, we used to buy CD’s,books, and DVDs. We also bought diapers at Wal-Mart, and snacks from the convenience store. Today, Spotify, Audible, Kindle, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Netflix, Birch Box, Dollar Shave Club and “Subscribe and Save” have more or less replaced most of our purchase needs.
Add to that the myriad of bills you have set up on auto-pay (cell phone, gym memberships, insurance and more), and it’s pretty easy to see how you can spend a huge portion of your paycheck without ever touching your wallet.
Financial automation is a powerful tool, but it can work against you just as easily as it works for you. That’s why an app like Truebill is so important. The app raises your level of financial awareness, and makes it easy to cut unused subscriptions, and negotiate bills that are creeping upwards.
Here’s how Truebill can save you $100 or more every month (with some pictures from my experience). Check out our full Truebill review here so you can learn more.
Cancelling Unused Memberships
The first way that Truebill saved me money, was by helping me cancel my $47 per month gym membership. For a year and a half, I was an avid gym user, and considered the $47 some of the best money I spent every month. Then I got back into running, so I visited the gym less and less.
When Truebill showed me the $47 gym membership, I finally decided to cut the gym completely. It simply wasn’t worth it for the once per week visits. But cancelling a gym membership isn’t always easy. As comedian Ryan Hamilton said, “I’ve walked off street gangs easier than cancelling my gym membership.”
Truebill Premium (which costs $4.99 per month or $35.99 annually) can actually cancel gym memberships for you at many “no contract gyms” like Tru Fitness, ABC Fitness, Planet Fitness, OrangeTheory and more. Please note, TrueBill may not be able to get you out of contract plans, depending on your gym’s rules.
Truebill doesn’t just cancel gym memberships. They’ll also cancel subscription services (Harry’s Razor, Audible, Netflix and more) that you aren’t using. When you see just how many services you’re paying for, you’re bound to find at least one that needs cancelling.
One couple shared with Truebill that they saved more than $300 per month by cancelling unnecessary services. This extreme example shows just how easy it is to enroll in a new service and then forget to cancel it.
Cancelling just one or two forgotten services is likely to yield a savings of about $30 per month which is the number I’ll use rather than the $47 savings that I actually experienced.
Total Savings: $30 per month
Negotiating Bills For You
This is my personal favorite for what Truebill can do! I've used it and I'm going to keep using it for just this feature.
In addition to saving you money on cancelled memberships, Truebill can negotiate lower rates on cell phone, internet, cable, and home security services. This is definitely something you could do yourself, but spending time with customer service can be really annoying. If Truebill can save you $30 per month by getting you back onto a promotional rate, that’s worth farming out in my opinion. Just be sure to understand that TrueBill will charge you 40% of the annual savings once they secure the lower rate.
But, for many of the negotiated rates, you get the savings far beyond the first year, so I think that it totally makes it worth while.
Truebill lowers people’s cable bills by an average of 20%, so that’s an additional $20 savings off your $100 cable bill.
In my experience, I had Truebill negotiate two bills on my behalf - my Sprint cell phone plan and my Sirius XM radio subscription. In both cases, Truebill was successful in saving me money.
When you start with bill negotiation, Truebill will give you an estimate of what success looks like:
Once you upload all your statements and agree to the terms (where you pay Truebill 40% of the negotiated savings), Truebill gets to work. It does take a few days to hear back - I was surprised it took so long. About 3 days for each bill, but they got results.
For the Sirius XM bill, they lowered my annual bill from $117 to $85, a savings of $32 per year, or $2.60 per month. Nothing amazing, but the extra money is awesome.
Where they really came through on savings is my Sprint bill. They saved me $35 per month with this bill! That's $420 per year!
Once you "win" at negotiating your bill, you'll get a statement that reflects what Truebill did:
I saw similar results with my cable bill, which they were able to reduce by $30 per month as well!
Total Savings: $67.60 per month
Requesting Bank Fee Refunds
If you’re one of the 44% of American Households that is carrying around credit card debt, your interest rate is probably above 15% right now. Since median income earners with debt carry an average balance of $4,400, that’s nearly $700 in interest charges every year.
Could you cut that rate down to 6% by negotiating with your provider? Could you transfer the balance to a 0% APR credit card? Truebill can help you with that. If Truebill negotiates from a 15% rate to a 6% rate you’ll save an average of $33 per month in interest charges.
But that’s not the only way Truebill can help. If TrueBill notices a late fee or another bank fee on your account, it will request a refund. People who rarely pay late often get refunds as a courtesy from the bank. Even if TrueBill saves you just $35 for one late fee, that’s an average of $3 per month.
I didn't have any bank fees that needed refunding, but this has potential if I miss a payment in the future.
Every six months, the rates on my car insurance increase. If I remember I call my insurance company, ask for a lower rate, and suddenly my bill is back where it started.
When I’m not successful, I have to shop around for new car insurance. It’s a bit of a pain, but an hour or two of work usually yields savings of $100 or more.
The trick is noticing when my rates have increased. Even though I track my spending carefully, a $14 monthly rate increase is likely to escape my notice. However, it won’t escape Truebill’s notice. When Truebill sees an increased rate (compared with your previous monthly spending), it sends you an alert.
You can use the alert as a reminder to hop on the phone and negotiate. In the case of insurance, you can actually shop for insurance right through the app. Just the month before I signed up for Truebill, I got hit with an insurance rate hike was costing me about $30 per month across three different policies, and it had completely escaped my notice. Truebill flagged it for me, and I took quick action. A 15 minute phone call to Geico yield a $360 annual savings.
Total Savings: $30 per month
This is my second favorite feature that Truebill offers - outage alerts. Once you connect your cable or internet provider, Truebill will monitor if there are any outages in your area. If they detect an outage, they will automatically request a refund for you.
Given that in some areas (including my old house) I'd get hit with internet outages almost every month, this can be a huge money saver. On big outages, I've called and they've given me a credit (usually about $10-15 for each outage), but it takes time - you still have to call, wait on hold, and hope you get a cool rep.
With Truebill, they handle that for you, and will do it automatically. They are currently seeing an average savings of $96 per year! That's awesome.
I've signed up for this and hope to start seeing refunds applied as they occur.
Total Savings: $8 per month
Don't Leave Money On The Table
Although your spending habits might differ from mine, saving $100 or even several $100 is pretty easy with Truebill. This is especially true if you’re prone to signing up for “free intros” or you love subscription services. Whatever your situation, signing up for Truebill’s free service will yield some amazing savings.
Plus, for things like the bill negotiation, you only pay if they save you money - so you really have nothing to lose.
I'm already saving $127.60 per month thanks to Truebill. That was from about 30 minutes of "work" to connect my accounts and upload the statements necessary. How much will you save?
Download the app, connect your accounts, and get ready to boost your savings.
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.