Whether you love it or hate it, subscriptions are a thing in today’s world. Rather than paying a single flat fee, we have been roped into a world that requires ongoing payments for some of our favorite services. And with some — such as Netflix — raising prices, being able to better manage your subscriptions could help save you money and be more intentional with your spending.
Using an app to manage your subscriptions from your iPhone or Android device can help you get a better understanding of your existing subscriptions. Some may even help you cancel a subscription or negotiate better pricing.
Here are our choices for the best apps to help manage your subscriptions:
Help canceling and negotiating subscriptions
Detects recurring subscriptions in your accounts
Links to accounts to track your budgets
Truebill is an app familiar to many Penny Hoarders, as we’ve recommended it quite a few times to help readers manage their finances. This app takes top billing here because of its subscription discovery and management features, as well as helping you find better deals and cancel services using the cancellation concierge.
You can link your bank account to the app, which gives Truebill access to your spending habits. While not everyone is comfortable with this feature, it does allow for strong insight into your financial situation. For a bit of reassurance, Truebill does use the safe and secure Plaid platforms to connect.
With a linked bank account, Truebill can automatically detect recurring subscriptions and keep you aware of them. If you discover a subscription that you forgot about, you can cancel manually or use TrueBill’s Cancellation Concierge. This way, you won’t need to tap “cancel subscription” half a dozen times.
Another fun aspect, Truebill can help renegotiate your bill, which is extremely helpful with internet, cable and cell phone providers. Truebill does snag 30% to 60% of those savings for a year though. (You don’t pay anything if the bill isn’t lowered.) Truebill also offers the ability to set up budget alerts, keep an eye on your credit score and track your net worth.
A streaming service that offers live TV and sports may make canceling your cable a more viable option.
Truebill is free to use but, ironically, requires a subscription to access more services. The Lite account allows you to budget up to two categories, watch your credit score, view recurring subscriptions and receive balance alerts for your bank account.
Some features such as the cancellation concierge, unlimited budgeting categories and tracking your net worth require the Premium account, which runs anywhere from $3 to $12 each month. The choice is yours based on how much you want to support the Truebill team. (Really, you set your own price. It’s kind of like tipping but on a subscription.)
Tracks your existing subscription costs
Shows your average subscription spending
Can sync data across devices
Bobby is one of those apps that is simple but knocks it out of the ballpark. Available only on iOS (sorry, Android fans), Bobby allows you to add your existing subscriptions and keep tabs on them to provide a better picture of your spending. You can even sync your data to iCloud to keep Bobby synced across multiple devices such as your iPhone and iPad.
When you add a subscription to Bobby, the app automatically suggests common services — such as Netflix or Apple One — so you don’t have to manually fill in each field. If a subscription isn’t available or you just want to personalize Bobby, you can select custom colors and icons to keep your subscriptions organized.
With only a few clicks, you can view your average subscription costs over a week, month or year. You can also see how much you still need to pay on bills that month to help you better budget your paychecks. Bobby doesn’t offer an automatic cancellation service, but it can help you be aware of your spending.
There is no fee to use the Bobby app, but you’ll need to pay $3 if you want all of the app’s features: the ability to add unlimited subscriptions, use the dark theme, lock the app with a passcode, sort your categories and utilize iCloud syncing. This is a one-time purchase, not a recurring cost.
Alerts you to any bills that may be overpriced
Offers insights into your spending habits
Negotiates bills at no additional cost
If you tried Truebill and it isn’t your jam (or you just can’t get past the fee for renegotiated bills), you may want to turn to Hiatus instead. With Hiatus, you can use your smartphone to keep an eye on bills and receive alerts that you may be overpaying for a service.
Hiatus shows you any upcoming recurring bills or subscriptions by connecting to your bank account. At a glance, you can see every subscription you are paying for and manage each one — like your monthly gift box subscription — with only a few taps.
Hiatus’ subscription specialists can step in to cancel subscriptions and take care of auto-renewals and more. Hiatus can also help you negotiate some subscription services if you are overpaying. Unlike Truebill, Hiatus doesn’t take a cut. The feature is built into the cost of your Hiatus subscription.
Similar to Truebill, Hiatus also requires a subscription to use more advanced features, including overpayment protection, net worth monitoring and subscription cancellations. You can choose to pay anywhere from $2.99 to $20.99 each month. The choice is yours based on how much you want to support the Hiatus crew, just like Truebill.
Beyond subscriptions, the Hiatus app includes the ability to peek at your net worth and receive assistance on growing it, see recent purchases, glean insights into your spending habits and set up budgets to boost your financial health.
Tracks recurring subscriptions and bills
Categorizes subscriptions and bills
Shows remaining income and bills
When it comes to tracking subscriptions, some people like to keep things simple, while others like a bit more insight and control. Chromabill is an excellent option for keeping track of not only your recurring subscriptions but also your bills. You can add anything from your Netflix and HBO Max subscriptions to your student loans and utility bills. With Chromabill, you can view all of your recurring payments in a single app for easier management.
If your streaming services are adding up, there are lots of ways to stream shows and movies for free.
Similar to Bobby, you can add subscriptions to Chromabill and many will auto populate with the service’s logo and other information to make adding subscriptions even easier. You can manually fill in the information, too, and include any logo, emoji or custom image you choose.
All of your spending categories can be customized with a color or removed and Chromabill gets you started with categories for cards, subscriptions, loans, auto, housing and utilities.
Chromabill will let you know if you have any upcoming bills and how much money you will need to shell out each month. The one downside to Chromabill — that we don’t see with Bobby — is a subscription fee to unlock unlimited bills, transactions and other premium features. Depending on whether you pay monthly or annually, a subscription will cost you $2.50 to $3 a month.
While not yet available, Chromabill plans to add features to organize your expenses with transaction monitoring and connect your bank account for spending analysis. Generally, we don’t recommend paying for a service based on promises, but for what the service is actually offering at this time.
Track upcoming subscriptions and bills
View subscriptions and bills by category
Free access while in open beta stage
Sometimes a few options are a good thing, so here’s one more — Sortbilly. Similar to Bobby and Chromabill, Sortbilly tracks monthly subscriptions, happens to be quite well designed, and is free — at least for the time being.
Sortbilly is currently in open beta, which means developers are still working on bugs and, as a result, are offering the app for free. The app will likely go paid or require a fee at some point, but right now it is free for anyone through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
Using the Sortbilly app, you can add current subscriptions and bills, sort them into different categories and keep track of what payments are coming up next. We particularly like that the home screen breaks down your subscriptions by type so you can see exactly how much of your income you are spending on bills, entertainment, etc.
For now, there are no advanced features for canceling subscriptions or seeing how much you have due during different periods to track spending. But if you are looking for something simple and free, this may be it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Managing all of your subscriptions can be difficult, which is why we recommend utilizing an app. Some of the best apps to manage your subscriptions include Truebill, Bobby, Hiatus, Chromabill and Sortbilly. Our picks offer additional features, such as help negotiating bills or canceling subscriptions, and the ability to customize your experience, easily manage your subscriptions and keep up with other financial data at little to no cost.
Using an app, such as Truebill or Hiatus, can help you find all of your recurring subscriptions and bills. These apps connect to your bank account and track your charges, picking out any that appear to be repetitive.
For most unwanted subscriptions, you will need to cancel with the service provider, either through its website or customer service team. Of course, you need to know what you have first. That’s where an app can help. Some apps, such as Truebill or Hiatus, even offer the ability to automatically cancel subscriptions, freeing you of the hassle.
All of the apps we recommend help you keep track of and manage your subscriptions. Some apps, such as Truebill and Hiatus, go a step further by helping you cancel unwanted subscriptions. For simple tracking, we recommend using Bobby, Chromabill or Sortbilly.
Michael Archambault is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder specializing in technology.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.