New year, new recurring subscriptions you’ve probably forgotten about. Here’s how keep track of them.
TRY TO COUNT how many subscriptions you have. Not just streaming services—everything you pay for on a regular basis. We’re willing to bet you might miss one or two on the first try. The sheer number of different directions our money goes means it’s easy to forget you signed up for a free trial until months after it’s started billing you, for example.
That’s where these apps come in. They help you identify the recurring payments leaving your bank account, so you can make sure you actually want to keep subscribing to all of them.
There’s more to these apps than canceling subscriptions, though. They can help you renegotiate better deals on your smartphone contract, set up savings accounts for you, manage a more effective way of paying off debt, reduce the amount you need to pay on a parking ticket, and lots more—usually with minimal effort from you. In short, if you’re interested in managing your money better, and you’re willing to let a third party look at your finances to help, they can do some of the work for you.
That means you have to bear in mind that these apps, by their very nature, need access to your financial records. By connecting them to your banking accounts you are trusting them to treat your data securely and respectfully, and while we have no reason to suspect any of these apps are untrustworthy, you should definitely read through their privacy policies too.DoNotPay
DoNotPay markets itself as “the world’s first robot lawyer”—it’s ready and willing to help you contest parking tickets, cut through government bureaucracy, cancel digital subscriptions you’ve forgotten about, take on issues with customer service reps, and plenty more besides.
Get the app set up on iOS, and it’ll need connections to your banking and email accounts to start working its magic. In some cases, the app uses a straightforward chatbot to get information from you, before working away on your behalf behind the scenes, whether that’s to get the right documents filed or put the right appeals in. You can also set up temporary phone numbers, email addresses, and even credit cards to test the app without sharing your real details.
The service is even able to surface hidden money you might not realize you had—refunded bank fees, for instance. The user interface is also intuitive, so it’s difficult to get lost. Whether you have a specific issue that needs solving or you just want to see what DoNotPay can find, it’s worth trying out.
DoNotPay for iOSTruebill
Truebill is a comprehensive money-tracking (and money-saving) service that looks at several different aspects of your finances, including the amount of money you’re spending on digital subscriptions every month—which is very possibly adding up to more than you think.
It needs access to your bank accounts, and can then go about the business of assisting you in lowering your bills. It takes what can be a confusing list of transactions from your statements and simplifies everything for you inside the apps for Android and iOS, giving you a breakdown of where your money is going, how your income and expenditure is changing over time, and which of your bills you might be able to save money on.
When it comes to recurring payments—from your music streaming service to your cell phone contract—you can see at a glance how much you’re paying and when the payments are debited. If you decide there’s something on the list that you can live without, then Truebill will help you with that too.
It’s easy to see how Trim got its name: It “trims” down your regular expenditures by identifying areas where you’re spending unnecessarily or spending more than you need to—from car insurance that’s too high to regular outgoing subscriptions that you might have forgotten about (which it can cancel on your behalf).
In this case, the app works on the web (on desktop or mobile), connecting to your bank account to give you simplified summaries of where all your money is and what you’re spending it on. You get breakdowns of spending categories (travel, shopping, health), as well as lists of individual recurring payments (so you can see just how many video streaming services you’re signed up for).
The idea is that the more aware you are of how your finances look, the better you’ll be able to spot areas that you might be able to save cash, and Trim lends a hand all the way along when you want to cancel or renegotiate something—so it can negotiate better deals (for a commission fee) and cancel your gym membership for you, for example.
Trim for the web (free/$99 per year)Clarity Money
Clarity Money is a comprehensive financial tracking app that adds a dash of artificial intelligence to spot areas in your life where you could be saving money: that could be by investing in a high yield savings account, for example, or canceling recurring payments for services you don’t use.
If you see something you’re no longer making use of—from a gym membership to a movie streaming service—then you can start the process of not renewing with a tap inside the app for Android or iOS. Not only does Clarity Money make it very easy to find areas in which you can save money, it also simplifies the process of putting those cost-cutting plans into action through your phone.
There are plenty of useful features to explore in the app, and it can assist with a variety of worthwhile financial tasks — from enabling you to set and stick to a budget for monthly expenditure, to monitoring changes to your credit score.
Bobby is a more straightforward way of keeping tabs on the subscriptions and outgoing expenditures that you have—it doesn’t offer all of the extra money management features of the apps we’ve already talked about, and it asks you to do more of the work manually.
It’s still a useful and reliable tool if you’re looking to get your finances in better order though. There are apps for Android and iOS, and you can use these to set up individual billing dates and amounts and then manage them better—you’re able to add regular outgoings like the rent alongside your digital subscriptions (Spotify, Netflix, and so on), and the interface is clean and clear throughout.
As well as giving you at-a-glance info about what is owed and when, you can also configure Bobby to send you regular reminders on your phone when a payment is going out, ensuring that you’re never caught unawares by any nasty surprises.
Sign up for TrackMySubs, and you can dive right into adding subscriptions to your account: all you need to supply is the billing date, how much you’re paying each month, and the name of the subscription you’ve signed up for.
TrackMySubs gives you an overview of your outgoings and lets you organize your expenditure into categories too—entertainment, insurance, utilities, or whatever. It’s easy to see what’s going out and when, and if you want to you can have the app email you alerts whenever a payment is about to go out, which is handy.
We also like the feature for keeping track of free trials you’ve signed up for, so you don’t suddenly get charged when you meant to cancel the service. It’s not the most comprehensive tool for this job, but it is straightforward and easy to use—and free for tracking 10 subscriptions or less.
TrackMySubs for the web (free up to 10 subs/paid from $5 a month)
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