When it comes to saving money, I am always on the look out for anything that will help me. Whether it is reducing my bills, saving at the supermarket or always making sure I get the best deal, there are always improvements to be made. One area that many of us in the UK struggle with is unused subscriptions. In fact, they account for £448 million spent in the UK every year.
Eager to find more ways to save money so that we have more money to spend on the things we want to spend money on, I have started using a free tool called Bean.
What is Bean?
Bean is a personal finance tool (not just an app) that acts like your personal finance assistant. You simply connect your bank account(s) to Bean and it cuts through the clutter to show you your bills and subscriptions. It also helps you to cancel unwanted subscriptions and to see where there are savings you can make.
Here is a screenshot of my dashboard (with account numbers removed) which shows the trends in my subscriptions. For very boring reasons I pay for my Dad's Sky TV, and this reminded me to ring them up, as I do every year, to see if I can haggle and get a discount.
Not just that, you click on any bill or subscription to get a bit more information on it. I delved into my Dad's Sky TV subscription to see how much I've been spending on it. A massive £760.22 over a year! Whilst we've made the switch to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, my Dad isn't tech savvy at all and would much rather have his beloved Sky TV. It is one money saving battle that I've compromised on!
From here I can simply click through to see if I can save anything on that subscription, where I can run price comparisons and look for a better deal.
Bean takes the guesswork out of finances and the average Bean user saves over £672 per year. That's nothing to be sniffed at!
Is Bean safe to use?
Connecting your bank accounts to a third party website sounds a bit scary, however it is important to explain that Bean doesn't actually store your bank details, instead, they have read-only access to your information. In some cases they might need extra information to cancel your Direct Debits, like your account number, but they can't move your money around or do anything dodgy.
Bean have a secure website and information sent to their website is private. They also encrypt the data using advanced security measures and they're even registered with the Information Commissioner's Office. They take security very seriously, and I feel safe using them.
How is Bean free to use?
Like all businesses, Bean need to make money, and they make money the same way I do – through affiliates. That means if Bean can find you a way to save money and you go ahead and sign up, Bean will get a kick-back for that at no extra cost to you. Considering that you can save around £200 for switching your utility bills, I wouldn't mind if Bean get a fee from this! This helps them to keep their product free and serve you best.
How much money can you really save?
You might be one of the 84% of consumers who have reported subscriptions that they weren't aware they had signed up for. Think about it – have you made time to trawl through your bank statements to find your subscriptions, and then go to the effort of figuring out how to cancel them? I hate making phone calls about this sort of thing – it starts with having to find the number, being on hold and then having someone on the other end try to convince you to stay. It should be a short task but it ends up taking much longer…and you might end up staying subscribed after chatting to someone anyway.
Bean removes all of this and you can simply cancel through Bean. No upselling, no retention team – just a pure cancellation. Over 2 million consumers have reported issues with cancelling a recurring payment, making Bean a fantastic tool.
How much I have saved with Bean
So far I have called Sky to negotiate a better rate for my Dad's Sky TV package, and they offered 20% off for 8 months, saving £100.80 over 12 months. I also looked at switching our energy provider away from NPower, I could save £70 a year. That's easily £170.80 saved in just a few minutes!
I have been really impressed with how easy Bean is to use, plus the savings that I've made!
Click here to sign up to Bean for free. I'd love to know how much money you manage to save.
This post has been supported by Bean but all thoughts are my own.