We’ve all done it: Signed up for a service with a recurring payment, used it for a few months and then forgot about it. Meanwhile, the payment continues coming out of your account automatically — month after month.
But what if you had a financial assistant to analyze your spending and identify problem areas like this?
That’s the idea behind the service Trim. It’s designed to help you identify unnecessary subscriptions and cancel them. Trim will even negotiate lower bills on your behalf, help you save money toward goals, and recommend credit cards that will help you maximize rewards.
I gave Trim a try, and it offers a few great features that can help you improve your finances.
After you sign up for Trim and connect your bank account, you’ll be provided with a list of potential subscriptions to cancel. You can review the suggestions and take steps to cancel or update subscriptions as you see fit.
The real attraction of Trim, though, is its ability to negotiate your bills.
You can provide your login credentials for major service providers — like Comcast, Time Warner (Spectrum) and AT&T — and Trim will do the rest. For other services, you can upload a copy of your bill, and Trim will contact the service provider and negotiate on your behalf.
If Trim succeeds in lowering your bill, you will be charged 33% of the annual amount saved. So, if Trim saves you $10 a month — $120 per year — you’ll be charged a fee of $40.
Note that this charge is a one-time fee that Trim takes upfront, so you’ll have to wait a few months for your savings to be truly realized. If Trim is unable to negotiate your bills down, though, you will not be charged anything.
It’s not just your service bills that Trim can lower. Trim also offers a custom debt payoff plan.
When you enter the program, you pay $10 per month and Trim will attempt to lower the annual percentage rates (APRs) that your creditors are charging you. Trim will also help you pay off debt faster with assistance from financial coaches.
“Simple Savings allows you to set it and forget it with automated weekly transfers of an amount specified by you from your selected checking account.”
Trim also says it helps your money grow by offering a 1.5% bonus.
However, it’s important to note that Trim charges a fee of $2 per month for its Simple Savings account. Be sure to review your bonus to ensure that it is bigger than the $24 per year you’ll pay for using the service.
Even with the cost, though, some people find this type of service worth it because it takes some guesswork out of achieving your financial goals.
Spending analysis and financial tips
Trim really does act as your financial personal assistant.
After you sign up, which is free, you will be prompted to connect your Facebook Messenger account or phone number so Trim can send you text messages. Once that’s done, Trim begins looking through your connected financial accounts, analyzing your spending.
Every day, Trim sends messages with insights into your spending, and tips for improving the way you use financial resources.
For example, Trim noticed I was eating out quite a bit and brought that to my attention, pointing out that I could save more money by preparing my own meals.
You can also access an easy-to-navigate dashboard that gives you a top-level view of your finances, particularly spending.
Additionally, Trim asks you about your goals and how you’re feeling about your money. In a lot of ways, it’s like exchanging messages with a financial coach to help you figure out the best way to approach your finances, as well as to draw your attention to habits that might be holding you back.
This makes sense, as Trim calls itself a “financial health company.” The idea is to tackle various aspects of your finances and help you become more aware of what you’re doing with your money — and how you can better use it in the future to help you maximize its impact.
Just note that there isn’t a mobile app. You can log into your Trim account online, but there’s nothing to download. Instead, Trim interacts with you via messages.
Can you trust Trim?
For the most part, Trim won’t work properly unless you connect it to your bank account. The whole idea behind Trim is that it analyzes your accounts and makes recommendations.
However, Trim uses bank-level encryption, and you can use two-factor authentication to further protect your account. Visit Trim’s security webpage to learn more about its protections.
How much does Trim cost?
Signing up for a Trim account is free, and Trim’s basic services are free. So you can get help that clarifies what’s happening with your spending and receive recommendations — all without paying a fee.
Trim’s more intensive services, such as bill negotiation and automatic savings, do come with fees, as noted above.
Trim makes up for the free services with these fees, as well as by receiving compensation for recommendations. For example, if Trim suggests a credit card for you, and you apply for that card and get it, Trim will get compensated for steering you in that direction. However, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t getting quality ideas for products and services that can make your financial life better.
Overall, Trim can be a helpful way to gain some perspective on your spending and to tweak your budget. It’s mainly aimed at helping you save money, reducing spending on unnecessary subscriptions and services, and getting your finances on track.
I think the most useful feature is the ability to negotiate bills, which can save you time and money — and spare you the frustration of dealing with service providers. As long as you think the fee charged for bill negotiation is worth paying, Trim can be a solid way to reduce costs and improve your budget.