Tracking your spending and cutting expenses is an important part of every FI journey. But it’s not always easy to stay on top of everything–especially when it comes to canceling unused subscriptions or haggling for a lower bill. With all that you have going on, have you ever wished you had an assistant who handles these things for you?
If you have, you might want to consider Trim.
[highlight]Trim is a software company that aims to act as the digital version of your own personal financial assistant. For free, Trim says that it can help you keep track of your expenses and look for ways to help you save.[/highlight]
But how does it work and can Trim really do all that it claims? We’ll answer all those questions and more in our full Trim review.
How Does Trim Work?
There are a few different ways that Trim can help you save money.
In order for Trim to work any of its magic, the first thing you’ll need to is to connect your bank accounts.
If you’re worried about security, you’ll be happy to know that Trim takes it seriously. They use bank-level security with 256-bit SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and read-only access.
Once you’ve connected your accounts, you’ll get a personal financial dashboard where you can see all your transactions.
If you want an overview of where your money is going, Trim is great for that. However, it’s important to note that Trim isn’t really a bonafide budgeting tool like YNAB or Mint. You can set up personalized spending alerts and reminders, though, which is nice.
Now we’re getting into the bread-and-butter of Trim’s service. Once you’ve connected your bank accounts and gotten an account overview, Trim begins analyzing your transactions, looking for ways to help you cut costs.
One of the ways they do this is by surfing for all of your old and unwanted subscriptions. Think music streaming services, video streaming services, magazines, audiobook subscriptions, clothing subscriptions–you name it.
Trim will send you a list of your current subscriptions (you may be surprised by how many you have!). If you no longer want those services, all you have to do is ask Trim to cancel them for you.
And that’s it! Your work is done. They’ll take care of all the legwork required for cancellation.
Trim’s team will negotiate bills like your cable or phone bill on your behalf and try to find you better plans and promotions.
Yes, they will actually make the grueling, frustrating, time-consuming phone call to the service provider. Trim initially made a name for themselves by negotiating Comcast bills, but they will now negotiate with any company.
And according to David Cahill from FinanceSuperhero, the service really works. Here’s what he had to say about his experience with Trim.
“I have to admit I was skeptical when I started using Trim. I had always actively negotiated my own cable/internet and wireless bills–with great results. But when my promotional rates ended, it was the perfect time to give Trim a shot.
Much to my surprise, Trim was able to get me a better deal on cable/internet than I had previously gotten after spending nearly two hours on the phone each time a promotion was set to expire. And they also got me a great deal on my wireless bill just a few weeks later.
Trim eliminated the tediousness of fighting for better rates and helped us free up over $100 in our monthly budget. We were shocked!”
One important thing to point out is that Trim will never downgrade the quality of your TV, internet, or phone plan. They will only reduce your price or possibly find you a better plan for the same price.
Tana Williams from DebtFreeForties was relieved to find out that this was the way Trim handled things.
I was worried that they’d downgrade or negotiate a lesser internet speed. This would be a big problem since I work remotely from home and need decent internet access. Luckily, when they negotiate, they don’t mess with your package or speeds, so you can expect the same type of service you’ve been receiving.
I spent 5 minutes adding our account information to the Trim website, and Trim did the heavy lifting by saving us $240 a year!
That’s a great deal. You do need to know, though, that Trim will keep a percentage of whatever money they are able to save you. We’ll talk more about this in the “How Does Trim Make Money?” section.
Trim makes saving for financial goals a breeze with their Trim Simple Savings program. With this program, Trim automatically stashes your money away in a high-yield savings account.
Trim Simple Savings accounts give a 1.5% annual reward, and you can set automatic weekly transfers of whatever amount you’d like.
Trim’s last service is called Trim Debt Payoff. It’s designed to help you tackle credit card debt. Trim Debt Payoff is an add-on service, and here’s what it provides:
- Debt Payoff Calculator: Enter in all your debts and let Trim create a personalized payoff plan.
- APR Negotiation: When possible, Trim will try to negotiate a lower interest rate on your credit cards. They only focus on APR rates, though. They don’t try to negotiate your principal balance.
- Personal Coaching: As long as you are subscribed to the Trim Debt Payoff service, you’ll be assigned a personal coach who will give you advice and encouragement throughout your debt payoff journey.
How Do You Sign Up for Trim?
Getting started with Trim is pretty simple. Here’s how it works.
1. Create An Account
There are two ways to create your account with Trim. You can sign up with Facebook or use your email address. I decided to use my email address, but use whatever you prefer.
2. Choose Your Messenger
Next, Trim will ask you to choose a method of communication. This is how they will send you alerts and messages about savings opportunities.
You can connect Trim to your Facebook Messenger or link via SMS. I chose the Facebook Messenger option.
3. Connect A Bank
Next, Trim will ask you to connect whichever bank or credit card you use for the majority of your expenses.
4. Discover Savings Opportunities
Trim begins by asking you what your primary purpose for using their service is. I chose “lower spend.”
Then they’ll ask you a few more personal questions, like where you live and your birth date. This part of the process is quick; it took me roughly a minute to complete.
Almost immediately, Trim recognized that I have a recurring AT&T bill.
As you can see, Trim asked me if I was interested in having my AT&T bill reduced. Absolutely I was!
So I went through the steps of giving Trim permission to negotiate my bill.
5. Create Your Spending Plan
If your income is deposited into a different account than where your expenses are paid from, Trim will ask you to add that account as well.
For instance, in my case, my credit card and my bank are not with the same company. So when I connected my credit card account, Trim couldn’t find any income transactions.
It’s hard to create a spending plan for someone when you don’t know how much money they’re bringing in month-to-month.
So I added my bank account to Trim as well. After that’s done, Trim will go through everything that looks like a recurring transaction. They’ll ask you to confirm they are, in fact, recurring expenses.
Once you’ve finished that process, Trim will create your spending plan and begin looking for recurring transactions that could be canceled or negotiated to a lower rate.
Does Trim Have An App?
Unfortunately, Trim does not have an app.
They are very careful in all their wording to refer to themselves as an “assistant,” not a website or app. They want to reside inside whatever messaging app you already use rather than forcing you to download another app to your phone.
At first, I didn’t like the fact that Trim doesn’t have a mobile app. But once I started using the Trim assistant through Facebook Messenger, I quickly saw the beauty and simplicity of their strategy. Surprisingly, I’ve never felt like Trim’s service is lacking in any functionality.
And, honestly, the lack of mobile app might make it easier for Trim to keep all of your data secure as well.
How Does Trim Make Money?
As I mentioned earlier, Trim’s basic service is completely free. They won’t even ask you to have a credit card on file. And if you want to use Trim to track your spending and find recurring expenses to cancel, you can do that without spending any money as well.
But Trim does charge for Bill Negotiation, Debt Payoff, and Trim Simple Savings. Here’s how much those services will cost.
You don’t have to pay Trim any money up front for Bill Negotiation. But if they are able to successfully lower your bill, they will take 33% of however much they save you.
That’s not a bad deal. But there’s something important to point out. Trim takes 33% of your annual savings. If you’re not clear on this, you could end up surprised with how much they charge you.
For example, let’s say you have a $120 monthly Comcast bill that Trim negotiates down to $80. That’s a $40 monthly savings and an annual savings of $480. Trim will take 33% of that $480 all at one time–a $158 charge.
Despite the fact, that you would ultimately save money, $158 is still a hefty amount of money to pay at one time. And it will take you four months just to break even.
I think Trim could improve their service by charging 33% of your monthly savings. Taking the example above again, each month you’d pay Trim 33% of your $40 savings. That would result in a more manageable $13 monthly payment. Plus, you’d start out “in the black” right out of the gate.
But for now, be aware of how much Trim’s Bill Negotiation service costs.
Debt Payoff And Trim Simple Savings
Trim also charges for Debt Payoff and Trim Simple Savings.
For Debt Payoff, Trim charges $10 a month with a 90-day refund period. Trim Simple Savings costs $2 a month.
What Are Customers Saying About Trim?
With most financial products, you can get an idea with how good the service works by reading user reviews on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store. But since Trim doesn’t have any mobile apps, it’s a bit more difficult to gauge user satisfaction.
I decided to reach out on social media and ask for feedback from people who have used Trim. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
Saving On Internet And Phone Bills
Josh Patoka from MoneyBuffalo said that Trim regularly helps him save on his internet and wireless bills.
I have Trim monitor my AT&T home internet plan and prepaid Cricket Wireless cell phone plan. In most months, I’m paying the lowest possible price for either plan. But usually two or three times a year, Trim is able to negotiate a one-time monthly discount of $10-$15.
Daniella from iLiketoDabble said that Trim helped them save over $200 on their phone bill!
Last year we were able to save $213 total on our phone bill using the service. We had AT&T then and since switching to Verizon in February of this year, Trim has been able to save us $30 so far.
Pouncing On Every Savings Opportunity
It seems that Trim will take advantage of any opportunity to negotiate a lower bill for their customers. Here’s what R.J. Weiss from TheWaysToWealth shared about his experience with Trim.
Trim has lowered my Comcast bill due to power outages. Pretty easy money.
Your Mileage May Vary
But as Kyle from FinancialWolves pointed out, if you don’t pay for cable and don’t have a lot of subscriptions, you may not find Trim as helpful.
I don’t think I will be a long-term user of it because I only had a handful of subscriptions, to begin with. I only left Netflix as my subscription (I use it as a substitute for cable). While Trim is great initially, it didn’t provide much value for me thereafter.
If you have very few recurring bills or subscriptions, you may not find much value in Trim. But if you do, everyone I’ve talked to has said that Trim’s service works almost exactly as advertised.
Overall, I think Trim is worth a shot. Their basic services are completely free, and they don’t charge for their Bill Negotiation service unless they actually save you money.
How could Trim improve? As mentioned earlier, I’d like to see them tweak the way they charge for their Bill Negotiation service. I’d also like to see them make their Simple Savings accounts completely free.
But other than those minor drawbacks, I think Trim could legitimately save you a lot of money… and a lot of hassle, too!
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