I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty lazy when it comes to finding ways to save money. Sure, I love a good deal as much as the next person, but between parenting a toddler, working from home and trying not to keep my eyes glued to the news, my brain doesn’t have time to think of much else.
The good news is that you can still find ways to save money without spending a ton of time doing so. Yup, I’m talking about apps. What’s so awesome about them is that it’s not just about pinching pennies, it’s about consistently saving you money each month. Here are five that are well worth your time.
|App||Cost||Average Savings||Free Trial?||Availability|
|Trim||Free + charge per service||Up to 30%||None||Communicate service via text messaging or Facebook Messenger|
|Empower||$6/month||$444/year||30 days||iOS and Android|
|Truebill||$4.99/month for Premium||About 20% of telecom bills and up to 30% on utilities||None||iOS and Android|
|Billshark||Free + charge per service||Up to 25% on monthly bills||None||iOS and Android|
|Charlie||Free||$70/week||None||Communicate via text messaging or Facebook Messenger, iOS app|
Think of Trim as your savings partner in crime, helping you find as many ways to slash your spending as possible. After signing up and connecting your bank accounts, this free service will analyze your transactions so that it can find ways to understand where your money is going.
|Cost:||Free (though you’ll be charged for some services)|
|Average savings:||Can lower your bills up to 30%|
|Availability:||Communicate service via text messaging or Facebook Messenger|
Trim looks at recurring charges — aka your subscriptions — and reminds you of them. That way, if you don’t want a subscription or haven’t used any of them (perhaps that philosophy book club membership is sitting by the wayside?) you can cancel it.
Plus, the days of manual couponing are no more. Trim will do this automatically and apply it to your purchases. And if you’re an Amazon freak like I am, Trim will get you a refund for any difference in price for items you bought if possible.
Don’t forget the bill negotiation service. Trim will help you to lower bills by negotiating with service providers and also by finding cheaper services and packages. If successful, Trim will take a cut. Otherwise, you won’t be charged.
Empower helps you save money through a dedicated app much like Trim. You get real-time alerts that show you ways to save money from simple actions like avoiding bank fees (Empower suggests things like fee-free banks) and if recurring subscriptions change in price.
|Cost:||$6 per month|
|Average savings:||$444 per year|
|Free trial:||30-day trial|
|Availability:||iOS and Android|
Plus, the app helps you negotiate bills and tells you when there are better deals out there. Moreover, Empower doesn’t keep a cut of the savings like other apps. There’s also a feature where it analyzes your subscriptions and will help you cancel them.
Empower also offers access to human financial coaches. Sure, you can use automation to help you with saving money, but asking a professional can help you even more. As in, is there a way to pay less in interest when paying off debt (doing so can save you thousands of dollars)? Or how about the best way to squeeze the most out of rewards credit cards?
To get started, simply download the app and link all your relevant financial accounts and Empower will do the rest.
Truebill offers two of the same features as most other apps: bill negotiation and monitoring subscriptions. Once you provide your most recent bill or connect Truebill to your online account, the app will look for lower rates — typically by finding promo plans or cutting back on excess fees. If successful, Truebill will take a 40% cut of your savings.
|Cost:||$4.99 per month for Truebill Premium (you’ll also be charged for specific services)|
|Average savings:||Around 20% of telecom bills and up to 30% on utilities|
|Free trial:||No – but Truebill offers a free version of its app|
|Availability:||iOS and Android|
While Truebill does monitor recurring subscriptions for you, it won’t help you cancel it unless you sign up for the premium service. Opting into the premium service will also help you automatically request refunds for any late or overdraft fees.
Two unique features for Truebill are the ways in which it helps you lower your utilities even further. The app monitors for any outages from your cable and internet providers in your area and requests a credit to your account if there is one. If electricity in your area is deregulated, Truebill will help you shop around and find the lowest price so you can save even more on your electricity bill.
What we like about Billshark is that it doesn’t charge you until it successfully negotiates down your bills or cancels your subscription. Though it really has these two features, those who are looking for a no-frills app may find this to be a great fit.
|Cost:||Free (though you’ll also be charged for specific services)|
|Average savings:||Up to 25% on monthly bills|
|Availability:||iOS and Android|
To start, you can use their savings calculator to get an estimate on how much you can save just by negotiating your bill. If you like what you see, you can authorize Billshark to negotiate on your behalf to get you the lowest possible rate — the app claims to have a 90% success rate. If successful, Billshark will take a 40% cut of your annual savings. It’ll also send you a reminder of when those savings will end so you can renegotiate for deals.
You can also cancel recurring subscriptions — Billshark charges a flat $9 for the privilege. If you think that’s steep, consider if it’s worth it to spend time looking for how to cancel a contract with weird clauses.
Charlie is completely free — no upsells here. It’s a financial assistant that’s a cute little penguin and you can communicate with it via text messaging, Facebook Messenger or the iOS app. Its main purpose is to help you save money, which you can start doing by linking your accounts and letting it monitor your transactions.
|Average savings:||$80 a week|
|Availability:||Works via text messaging or Facebook Messenger, iOS app|
Once it analyzes your spending habits, it’ll send you alerts to any challenges, like when you spend too much in a certain category. That way, you can keep an eye out on where your money is going and prevent you from going over your budget. Charlie also compares what you’re paying with potential savings out there and connects you to services that can help you negotiate your bills.