New Feature: Cutback Tool Helps You Save On Recurring Monthly Expenses (Or How I Caught WaMu Skimming My Savings)

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Looking for a quick, sustainable way to make a positive impact on your bottom line? A great place to begin is by examining your recurring monthly expenses – those automatically billed, month-in, month-out charges. We’ve launched a new feature called the Wesabe Cutback Tool designed to help you see and save on these memberships, subscriptions and fees.

The Cutback Tool looks for trends in your monthly spending, and flags recurring items on your account transaction page. Next, you’re asked if you’d like to cut back on these items, and are shown the resulting annual savings. If you choose to cut an expense, we’ll show you how long you have to cancel the service before you get charged again, and provide cancellation reminders.

You can track your progress on the Wesabe Cutback page, found on the left side of your Accounts page. The Cutback Summary page keeps track of suggested cutbacks, current cutbacks (those you said you want to axe), as well as any recurring monthly expenses you chose to keep.

In addition to helping find services you can cut out (dang, I haven’t been to the gym in three months) or cut back (do I really need 768 cable channels?), the Cutback Tool is also great at identifying ongoing fees or charges you may not even be aware you’re paying. Several beta testers reported charges of $14.95 for freecreditreport.com, a credit monitoring service they understandably thought was actually free (let’s see…wouldn’t $15amonthcreditreport.com be a more honest name?).

I took a look at my recurring expenses a few months ago (pre-Cutback Tool) and decided to cut Netflix (to avoid the wrath of the red envelope loyalists, let me clarify… I think this is a great service if you are watching movies, which I wasn’t doing). When it came time for me to try out Cutback, I figured it would flag my monthly Doctors Without Borders donation, which it did and I want to keep, as well as this darn $3.95-a-month Earthlink account that I need to cancel. But wait… my Cutback summary said I had a recurring $5 charge to Washington Mutual. Huh? Before firing off a “found a bug” email to Cutback engineer Brad, I checked out the expense.
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Sure enough, WaMu has been dinging my savings account for the last six months. I had transferred money out of the account during the summer and haven’t touched the account since, so I wasn’t checking my statement. Ends up my account balance of $295 was below the “account minimum” of $300 (which I didn’t know about), so every month, I’ve been paying a fee. I know I should be more of a fine-print reader, but since I’m not, I’m sure glad the Cutback Tool caught this for me.

14 Responses to “New Feature: Cutback Tool Helps You Save On Recurring Monthly Expenses (Or How I Caught WaMu Skimming My Savings)”

  1. meshwerk Says:

    Amazing feature. Love that Wesabe is making every effort to save us money! Really appreciate this feature and looking forward to using it to analyze my monthly or scheduled static expenses.

    Cheers

  2. lingham Says:

    Great work on the new feature. It recommended three cutbacks to me, unfortunately two were student loans! But the third, my Sirius satellite radio subscription was bang on. I had cancelled it two weeks ago because it was draining $16 a month out of my account, and while I love Sirius, I don’t use it much during the winter, so I can shut it off and save for at least six months. Anyways, if I hadn’t already done this, this would have been a great prompt to make me think about it. I like how it gives you a yearly savings amount too.

    Once again, great tool! I think you’ll help alot of people examine those monthly little extras that really add up.

  3. Wesabe wants to help users cut back » VentureBeat Says:

    […] The news is full of stories about consumers cutting back on spending — but if you’re anything like me, you’re attacking your budget in the most disorganized and piecemeal way possible. Wesabe, a website that lets you manage and seek advice about your finances, just announced a new Cutback Tool to help. […]

  4. David Wynn Says:

    I think it’s a great new feature, but I suppose the algorithm is necessarily messy. For example, my only suggestion was to cut my metro card every month. Unless I lose my job, I’d rather not cut that expense if I can avoid it. 😛

  5. DWarrior Says:

    I’m pretty sure all Cutback does is search for charges from the same vendor that have been occurring regularly (probably does weekly, biweekly, and monthly), then assumes you’ll keep paying them and gives you its annual cost.

    So yes, it’d label your metro card as that, and I suspect haircuts and doctor visits may get caught as well if you’re very regular with them. That’s why they give you the option to decline.

    It’s a very neat feature though.

  6. DavidP Says:

    Great feature! I found that when I started using Wesabe the act of tagging my transactions made me think about recurring stuff and cut it out. I’m happy to say that the only recurring expense it found for me was my energy bill.

  7. pev Says:

    This is interesting. This will really help me to budget myself and help my savings account. So how do I or where do I go to get this wasabe technology you’re talking about?

  8. Debbie Says:

    @pev,

    Just head over to http://www.wesabe.com/. It’s free to be a Wesabe member and signing up only takes a few minutes. Let us know if you have any questions!

  9. The Mr. Feeny Guide to Surviving a Recession Says:

    […] Even Mr. Feeny knew when enough was enough. During difficult times, the last thing you need are bad influences on your health and finances. Cut. Cut. Cut. Cut out draining relationships and don’t feel bad about it. You’ll have more of yourself to give to others. Cut out unnecessary expenditures. This cutback tool from Wesabe makes it easy and almost automatic. Don’t let silly purchases add up and cause even more stress in a difficult time. “Sit down. Stay where you are. For the first time, I choose to walk out on you.” – Mr. George Feeny […]

  10. nicoleozde Says:

    Just joined and already saved money. I didn’t realize, since I don’t receive paper bank statements and never, ever check mine, that I have been paying $10 per month for Netzero dialup, and simultaneously paying for MSN services- twice per month- through two seperate accounts through direct withdrawal. I feel like an idiot. Just called to cancel the Netzero and have been in touch with MSN to figure out why double and which to charge @ $30 per month to cancel.

  11. Will the Online Personal Finance Specialists Survive? | Velt Says:

    […] Bottom line: If the online PFM purveyors harness technology to take better care of banking customers than the banks themselves, especially with practical, money-saving ways such as Wesabe’s Cutback Tool (below), the newcomers have a bright future indeed. […]

  12. Wesabe partners with WattzOn to help quantify and reduce your personal energy consumption « Wesabe: Your Money. Your Community. Says:

    […] financial data more than just a set of retrospective numbers shown in a few pretty graphs.  Our Cutback tool, for example, identifies trends in your spending and shows you ways to save.  This partnership […]

  13. Introducing Wesabe Springboard, our new platform for credit unions and banks « Wesabe: Your Money. Your Community. Says:

    […] Wesabe learns from every single person who joins –- be it how they tag or rate a merchant, what Cutbacks they choose or don’t choose, or how often they return to that new restaurant down the street –- […]

  14. Introducing Wesabe Springboard, our new platform for credit unions and banks « Wesabe: Your Money. Your Community. Says:

    […] Wesabe learns from every single person who joins –- be it how they tag or rate a merchant, what Cutbacks they choose or don’t choose, or how often they return to that new restaurant down the street –- […]

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