Social personal finance website Wesabe today launched a new feature designed to help members save money by cutting their recurring monthly expenses.
The Cutback Tool points out transactions with repeat billings, alerts members of potential savings from cutting these expenses, and provides cancellation reminders.
"While passing on a dinner out here and skipping a coffee there can add up, one of the fastest and most sustainable ways to really impact your finances is to examine recurring expenses. We designed the Cutback Tool to show you the annual savings for eliminating or cutting back on monthly memberships and subscriptions," said Marc Hedlund, CEO of Wesabe. "Seeing how much you can save in a year may inspire you to cut back on things like a rarely used gym membership, or scale back from a premium cable package to a more basic one."
The Cutback Tool looks for trends in monthly spending, and flags recurring items on members' account transaction pages. Members are asked if they would like to cut back on the item and are shown the resulting annual savings. When members choose to cut an expense, Wesabe shows how long they have to cancel the service prior to the next billing, and posts account page reminders until the member has taken the necessary action to cut the service. The Cutback Summary page keeps track of suggested cutbacks, current cutbacks (those that the member wants to discontinue), and recurring monthly expenses that the member has chosen to keep.
"Subscription models are great for businesses, but not always for consumers. When you look at the annual cost of a service, you realize how quickly the monthly charges add up," said Hedlund.
The Cutback Tool can also identify ongoing fees or charges that members may not even be aware they are paying. Several beta testers reported charges of $14.95 for freecreditreport.com, a credit monitoring service they thought was actually free, and a Wesabe employee discovered that her bank had been billing her $5 a month for the past six months because her savings account dropped below a previously unknown minimum balance.