The Hidden Cost of “Passive Transactions”

Truebill Passive Transactions

When I think about my parents, managing their finances seemed easy. After all, every dollar they spent was either done directly by swiping a credit card, writing a check, or paying cash.

Today, most of the money that comes out of my account is done so automatically. Does that sound crazy? Think about it… my rent, electricity, cable, and cell phone bills are all on auto-pay, and simply go out monthly.

On top of that, I have a flurry of subscriptions that bill my credit card like clockwork, ranging from from Netflix to Amazon Prime to Dollar Shave Club.

This is what we call “Passive Spending” – or spending that happens whether or not you actually take any action.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion in Passive Spending, as the percentage of consumer spending done passively continues to grow.

While autopay can be super convenient, Passive Spending does come with a few risks:

1.) Sneaky price increases and fees can be introduced, and unfortunately go unnoticed for months.

2.) New bills can appear and coast under the rader, again sometimes for months before being discovered.

To protect you, Truebill has 2 key features we’re proud of.

Firstly, Truebill automatically recognizes and tracks recurring charges like subscription payments and bills, letting you know exactly what you’re paying for and alerting you to any changes.

Truebill lets you cancel unwanted subscriptions with just 1-click, directly from the app.

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Secondly, Truebill monitors for unwanted bank and credit card fees and can request refunds on your behalf.

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Together, these two features help users save an average of $512 per year.

Truebill is completely free and can put real money back in your pocket.

Try it today!

7 Gadgets That Will Reduce Your Utility Bills

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Utility bills are a mundane part of everyday life – we pay money monthly to keep the lights, the water running and our homes heated and cooled. It might feel like utility bills are inescapable, but the truth is a variety of new technologies are now becoming available that promise to help you save energy and reduce your utility bills in surprisingly futuristic ways.

Here are some of our favorite promising new gadgets and tech tools to help save some cash on your utility bills:

LED Bulbs: LED light bulbs are much more efficient than incandescent bulbs, using only about 25% of the energy and lasting up to 50 times longer. A bonus benefit: the light from LED bulbs tends to look more natural and pleasant than CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. LED bulbs cost about $4 or $5 each (or more) depending on the size of the bulb – so although they’re not as cheap as “regular” light bulbs, the long-term energy savings are worth it.

Smart Thermostats: Many people make the mistake of leaving their thermostats set at the same temperature all day and all night – but if you get a programmable thermostat, you can save up to 15% on your energy bill by adjusting the temperature to save money on heating and cooling during the times you’re away from home. The Nest Learning Thermostat costs $249, which may sound pricey, but it gradually programs itself to keep your home at the temperature you prefer, automatically turning itself down when nobody’s home, and showing an energy usage history. Nest thermostats connect to Wi-Fi and can be controlled via phone, tablet or laptop. Or if you want a cheaper programmable thermostat, check out this Honeywell programmable thermostat for only $22.77 – it has separate programs for weekdays and weekends.

Motion Sensing Light Switches: These smart light switches ($21.64 each on Amazon) can detect the activity of a room – when someone comes into the room, the light automatically turns on, and when the room is empty, the light turns itself off. Never worry again about the wasted energy costs of leaving the lights on in empty rooms of the house – in fact, each motion-sensing light switch can save you approximately $10 per year. In about 2 years, the light switch will have paid for itself.

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch: This “smart plug” switch turns your standard wall plugs into app-controlled outlets, communicating via Wi-Fi with your smartphone through a free iOS or Android app. Using your phone, you can then control the lamp or appliance that is plugged into the Belkin outlet, monitor the energy usage, and program the outlet to turn devices on or off at set times of day.

Belkin Conserve Switch: Many people don’t realize it, but our computers, monitors, and other electronic devices still use power just by being plugged in, even if they are “off.” There is a way to save energy on these devices – the Belkin Conserve Switch surge protector. It works just like a regular surge protector, except it has special outlets that allow you to stop power to certain devices (via wireless remote switch), while leaving other devices that need continuous power, such as wireless routers or cordless phones, plugged into its “Always On” outlets.  

TED Energy Detective: This device connects to your home or building’s electrical system to collect and analyze data about your energy usage, then the TED Energy Detective’s Footprints software helps you understand where your home is using the most energy. The info provided by the software which helps you know where to make changes and improvements in energy efficiency. The average TED Energy Detective user can reduce their energy bill by 5-30%.

Cyber-Rain XCI Smart Sprinkler System: Do you use sprinklers to water your lawn or garden? If so, you might be losing a significant amount of money with excessive watering. Using the Cyber-Rain XCI Smart Sprinkler System, you can adjust your watering based on weather and the needs of your climate zone, saving up to 40% on your water bills.

Utility bills might never fully go away, but many new technologies are opening up new possibilities to reduce your home energy costs and water usage. With a few smart devices, your home could become more energy efficient than you might expect – along with fun new ways to get better visibility into how your home uses energy and how you can reduce your costs while helping the environment. By adopting some of these simple devices today, we can all look forward to a future of cheaper energy bills and a cleaner environment!  

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Introducing Your New Financial Assistant: Get Bank Fees Refunded

truebill refunds

Saving you money is what we do best, and we’re excited to announce that we’ve added new features to save you even more!

Now Truebill does more than track, manage and cancel paid subscriptions. Now, we’ll monitor your linked financial accounts 24/7, to stay on the lookout for excessive charges such as sneaky fees and unannounced price increases.

When those extra charges sneak into your account, we’ll alert you immediately. From there you can opt for Truebill to request a refund on your behalf with just the tap of a button.

We’re also going to stay on top of how much you’re paying in bills, and let you know when opportunities arise to pay less. No time to negotiate lower bills? No worries, we’ll take care of that, too.

Truebill is the only app that actually puts money directly back into your pocket. Download the app and get money back today.

Happy saving!

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What Is the CFPB Consumer Complaint Database and How Can You Use It?

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In 2010, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in response to the financial crisis of 2008. Dodd-Frank is a wide-sweeping law that curbs many shady practices previously employed by big banks and Wall Street. One of its most important innovations is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the brainchild of now-senator Elizabeth Warren, charged with educating consumers about personal finance and protecting consumers from predatory businesses and markets.

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How to Organize Receipts: 10 Tips to Simplify for Tax Time

How to Organize Receipts

Whenever the new year comes around, a little alarm bell goes off in the back of our heads: taxes are coming! The best part of taxes is making deductions, so it’s time to break out those receipts. Receipts are always troublesome to manage (taxing, if you will), so here’s a quick review of the basics, and some low- and high-tech recommendations, to help you organize receipts like a pro.


Before we get started, keep in mind that you only need to keep receipts if you’re going to itemize deductions. The majority of households – 68.5% of returns in 2013 – opt for the standard deductions of $6,300 for individuals and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly. If your deductible expenses for the year fall below those sums, don’t bother with receipts. But every penny your deductible expenses climb above those marks is money you’re walking away from.

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The easiest way to manage your paid subscriptions