Technology has been automating everything in the personal finance world from bill pay to investments, and the Trim app is taking it one step further by automating the ways you save money. It’s one part app and one part personal assistant, who can negotiate your bills and your debt payments. Plus, they can even cancel your old subscriptions.
Is it too good to be true?
If you’re like most people, a healthy level of skepticism is normal, and you probably have some questions. Don’t worry, I’m going to address them all by covering things in my Trim App review like:
- How Trim works
- How Trim negotiates your bills
- How they cancel unwanted subscriptions
- Trim’s debt payoff program
- How Trim gets paid
- An easy alternative to Trim
- The pros and cons of using Trim
The M$M Trim App Review
How Trim works
Like most personal finance apps, like Mint or Stash, Trim starts the same way by asking you to connect your bank accounts and credit cards. From there, they start running what’s almost like a diagnostic test on your spending.
The Trim app will:
- Check your spending. They run an analysis that shows you which categories you spend in each month and how much. You can compare month to month or even by exact dates.
- Help you create a budget. Trim will help you put together a monthly budget, and you get notifications about your progress throughout the month.
- Help you cancel unwanted subscriptions. Instead of needing to call or email companies, Trim can cancel things for you.
- Negotiate your bills. Trim constantly monitors your bills to find you the lowest rates and savings possible.
- Create a debt payoff plan for you. Trim’s debt payoff program helps you put together a plan, and they also work to negotiate lower rates on your credit cards.
I don’t want to spend too much time on the first two things in my Trim app review because that’s not what’s so exciting about Trim. Most budgeting apps offer really similar functions to what Trim offers in terms of spending analysis and budgeting.
You can read more about some of my reader’s favorite budgeting apps here:
- YNAB vs. Mint 2020: Which Budgeting App is Best?
- Personal Capital Review 2020: Free Investment and Net Worth Tracking
- Top Mint.com Alternatives: Best Budgeting Alternatives for 2020
Where the Trim app shines is by actively helping you reduce your spending. That’s their bill negotiation feature, debt pay off plan, and how they cancel unwanted subscriptions for you.
To understand how they do both of those things, here’s one important thing to know about the app – Trim works like a personal assistant.
The app keeps working in the background for you, and you receive notifications via text or Facebook Messenger, like:
“Congratulations! You just saved $20 on your AT&T bill!”
“Congratulations! You just received a credit on your Comcast bill!”
Trim even texts you reminders about recurring bills, like that HBO subscription you’re still paying for even though GoT has ended. You just respond with “Cancel” and Trim takes care of the rest.
I’ve heard a lot of people using Trim more for this personal assistant feature than the budgeting part of the app, and I can see why. But, let’s take a look at each of those features to see whether or not the Trim app is worth it.
How Trim negotiates your bills
Trim can negotiate rates with any cable, internet, and/or phone company – know that they can’t negotiate all of your bills. Here’s how the process works for eligible bills:
- Using the platform, upload or send Trim one of your bills.
- Trim starts checking for discounts and credits.
- A chatbot or Trim representative will contact the company for you.
- You get a text notification saying that Trim has saved you money.
Trim can keep doing this with all of your bills if you’d like, and they only ask that you contact them if you’ve recently negotiated a bill or are about to cancel with a company.
Well, Trim does charge for bill negotiation, taking 33% of the total you save each year. You pay that to Trim upfront. That means if they can save you $20 a month on your cell plan, or $240 over the course of a year, you would pay Trim $79.20.
A fee like that is probably going to sound pretty steep to some people, but you can always negotiate bills on your own, and I’m going to talk more about that in a minute.
Canceling unwanted subscriptions with Trim
According to an article by Forbes, the subscription economy has grown by more than 100% in the past five years. The biggest names in the game – Blue Apron, Amazon Subscribe and Save, Dollar Shave Club, etc. – have generated a combined $2.6 billion+ in 2016.
The study Forbes used is actually kind of fascinating if you nerd out on that kind of stuff, but back to Trim.
Trim knows how many of us are signing up for subscription services – I only have a couple now, but that’s only because I’ve gotten good at canceling the ones I’m not using anymore. A lot of services offer you some amazing promotional period, and then you forget to cancel. And then one day you think about it, but it’s never at a time when you can email a company or make a call.
Trim always makes time to cancel your subscriptions, and here’s how:
- Trim looks at transactions from your linked checking and credit card accounts.
- They analyze them to see which ones are recurring subscriptions.
- You get a reminder text from Trim about each of them.
- You text back “cancel” if there are any you’re ready to get rid of.
There is no reason to keep paying for subscriptions that are going unused or are too expensive for your budget.
Trim will even cancel your gym membership for you. If you’ve never canceled a gym membership it’s legitimately one of the most ridiculous processes out there. You have to either go in and fear shame (they don’t actually do this) or send a certified letter saying, “I want to cancel the gym.”
Trim will send that letter for you, and they’ll do it for free.
Trim’s debt payoff program
This is a fairly new service (started late 2018), and the idea works in three parts.
1. A personalized payoff plan
This starts with you linking your credit card accounts, which you would do to use the app anyway. Trim sees the interest rates on each of those cards and tells you how much to put towards each debt.
2. Trim negotiates for lower interest rates on your cards
Every 3-6 months, Trim will contact your credit card companies and see if they can lower your interest rates. The idea is that lowering your rates will help reduce the amount you owe in interest, saving you money, and maybe even speed up your payoff.
3. Coaching when you need it
Paying off debt is hard, really hard. I’ve been there, and so have a lot of you. It takes sacrifices and constant effort to make more money, cut your expenses, etc. Trim’s coaches keep you accountable even when it hurts.
Trim’s debt payoff program does come at a cost – it’s $10 a month, and that comes with a 90-day refund period if you don’t like the service.
A couple more things to know about Trim’s debt payoff program:
- This is not debt consolidation.
- They don’t negotiate the total amount you owe.
Trim is helping you create a plan, holding you accountable, and trying to lower your rates.
How Trim gets paid
Trim is free to use for anyone who isn’t using the debt payoff program or bill negotiation service, and not everyone is going to want or need those options. To still make money, Trim partners with different financial services companies and shows you offers. This is really similar to what Mint does.
I don’t love seeing ads like that on my personal finance apps, one of the reasons I love Personal Capital so much. But, you don’t have to take the offers.
An easy and free alternative to Trim
I think what Trim is doing is really awesome. The whole concept of shaving off small amounts of money here and there is something I love, and those little bits add up. Trim does that by negotiating savings for you.
But, you can negotiate those savings on your own, for free.
Here’s how you do it:
- Gather your bills (credit cards, car insurance, cell phone, internet, and phone bill).
- Call customer service and say, “I am a loyal customer, and I was wondering if there are any discounts, credits, or lower rates you can offer me.” It doesn’t have to sound just like that, but that’s the idea.
- No matter the answer, say “thanks” and move on with your day.
Practicing your pitch is helpful, and know that you’re not going to be penalized for trying. You either hear “yes” or “no.” For this to work well, doing it on your own or using Trim, you need to be making on-time payments.
I recently called my car insurance company about this, and I’m now saving $40 every month, or $480 a year. Had Trim done that for me, I’d have to pay them $158.40. I’d rather pocket those savings myself.
This is a proactive, rinse and repeat strategy to lower your bills that you try every few months. Set a reminder on your phone, write it in your calendar, etc.
If you still want to try Trim, and it is possible that they can lower your bills even more, you can call the companies first and then try Trim. I’d love to hear about your experience if you try this.
The pros and cons of using Trim
Now for the tl;dr version of my Trim app review. I think there are some obvious pros and cons, but I want to go ahead and list everything out.
- Trim takes automation to a whole new level with its personal finance assistant.
- They make canceling subscriptions painless.
- When you combine the free budgeting software with how they cancel subscriptions for you, Trim is a great, free alternative to Mint.
- Trim protects your data with bank-level security, including 256-bit SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and read-only access.
- You’re paying a steep fee for the bill negotiation service, especially when it’s something you can do on your own.
- Trim doesn’t have any live chat or phone support, email only at [email protected]
- Trim is still working out some kinks. They have already put a couple of features on hold (Coupon Search and Amazon Price Patrol), which might give some users pause before signing up.
M$M Trim app review – my final word
I’m excited to see where Trim is going in the future because they’re already offering some valuable services, both free and paid. The focus on reducing your budget by small amounts is a good reminder for all of us that those little amounts add up.
Is Trim worth using?
That depends on you. We all approach our finances in different ways. I’m 100% comfortable calling my internet provider every few months and asking about lower rates. But you might not be. Even if you do pay to have them negotiate your bills for you, you’re still saving money in the long run.