A new Personal Finance Software Tool – Bean
I am often asked my top tips to save money and my reply is always the same. Create a budget and look though all your spending. This includes regular direct debits and payments as well as cash, groceries, clothes, haircuts…yes everything. This might involve writing it all down onto paper or better still is to create a spreadsheet.
This will highlight several money saving options including those things that you are no longer using (for example the gym, Netflix, cooker insurance) that can be cancelled and those things that are costing too much and can be renegotiated.
The Hassle & Time
But oh no, I hear you cry, it is so much hassle to sort those things out. You are thinking about the many phone calls to insurance companies, broadband providers, energy companies. It is going to take forever to sort out. You might be thinking it’s going to be stressful and is it worth effort?
I admit I spend hours sorting out these bills. Everything gets renewed every year and I always write about it. I am so passionate about people switching to save on their monthly bills. It upsets me when I hear about people paying £150 per month for their energy because their company has let them slip onto standard variable rate and I make it a blog mission to share the message about how easy it is to switch. Maybe that 12-month sky deal has ended and the costs have doubled?
I am excited about Bean
When I discover an exciting new online service that makes this process so much easier I am excited. Really excited. Bean is your financial personal finance assistant. It looks at your regular monthly bills and gives you options to switch to cheaper companies if the contract timing is right and an easy way to cancel if no longer needed.
There is no better a time than now to understand where you can save and cut back on your bills. There are 15 weeks left until Christmas, why not sign up for Bean now get some bills switched and make some significant savings before Christmas.
How Does Bean Work
The first thing you need to do is to connect the account/accounts you use for all your regular bills. All our monthly bills go through our First Direct joint account and my personal First Direct account. I clicked on the button to connect an account. Then I added my First Direct internet banking details and the accounts were connected within a few moments.
I was interested in security of Bean so had a good delve around their website and found a few useful articles on security. Turns out they never hold your full personal details so data could never be hacked and accessed. Bean are regulated and take security very seriously, to the point that its mentioned on their home page.
My accounts are loaded and I have a dashboard to look at.
My dashboard looks like this. You can see here my energy company and it says see if you can save. It knows this because it can see I have made 10-11-12 regular payments so will soon be up for a renewal. Bean is right, I am, but this has already been fixed as I switched to Octopus on 24th August. If I hadn’t have resolved this already I can click on see if I can save and I can run a comparison. Then it’s a simple click of a button for the transfer of companies to save money.
Investigating the cost of bills over time
You can delve into the detail of each cost, take Sky for example. This was a shocking one to me that we have spent so much over the past 12 months on broadband, landline and TV. We have managed to cut the Sky bills right down to around £40 to £50 but they did hike up to £100 in December when an annual contract ended and they got me with a month of full price contract before I noticed and called them up. April was a boxing match I think. Magically it went right down after talking to them and threatening to leave. I can click through here to see how I can save even more money.
Cancelling Direct Debits
I noticed a direct debit that needed cancelling for GoHenry. Bean did that for me after I provided my name, address, date of birth and account details. It is nice to avoid that cancellation call where the company tried their hardest to stop you leaving.
Give it a go yourself and set up a Bean Account
Give it a go yourself. Set up a Bean account here and connect your main account/s where your regular direct debits are paid from and see where you can save a small fortune. I would love to hear in the comments what you have saved because of signing up to Bean and having your own personal finance assistant.
This is a collaborative post.