Trim is a financial tool that tracks your spending and subscriptions and will use their in-house methods to negotiate your cable bills and save you money.
The platform is very similar to Clarity Money in the sense that it provides you a good overview of what’s happening with your finances. The main differentiator is the bill negotiation, something we’ll talk about later in this review.
Trim was launched in 2015 by Thomas Smyth and Daniel Petkevich. Before Trim, Smyth worked at a couple of investment firms that focused on start-ups. Petkevich worked for The Climate Corporation, Octane Lending, and popular home-listing site Redfin.
According to an article from The Penny Hoarder, Smyth said he started Trim as a way to automate saving consumers money.
His mother had a Comcast account and he found out Comcast had been slowly raising her rates. Smyth talked with Comcast and saved his mom almost $40 a month.
That experience led him to believe he could build a bot that could negotiate with cable companies on your behalf, mainly because Comcast’s online chat reps used scripted responses to negotiate with customers who were unhappy with their bill.
“My grandmother was overpaying by $35 a month for Comcast, because they had raised her rate a little bit each year for the past decade,” Smyth said. “I negotiated my grandmother’s bill (saving her $420 per year) and wondered if there was a way to do that automatically.”
Does Trim really live up to the claims that it can save you money? How does the platform work? Those are questions that we wanted to answer in an effort to help you understand how Trim can help you.
Signing Up for Trim
Getting a new account with Trim is very simple. You can do it in less than three minutes and all you need to provide is your name and address, then sign into the financial account you want to link to Trim.
Using Trim: The Most Important Features
Your account page is split up into three different sections: tools, Your Wallet and Transactions/Monthly Charges.
In the tools section of your Trim account, you’ll find three tiles that offer the platform’s services. First, you have what’s called the Comcast Defense tile. This is the tool you’ll use to see if Trim’s negotiating bot can lower your cable bill.
To use this tool, you’ll have to provide Trim with your login information and the card you’re using to pay for your cable bill.
According to Trim, they’ll work on your behalf to negotiate your price. If they are able to win you a discount, then they’ll take 25% of what you save each month. We signed up for the service but had not heard any updates when this review was published.
Here is a list of some of the cable companies that Trim could negotiate with at the time of publishing:
- Dish Network
- Time Warner
- Google Fiber
As you can see from the list, Trim will negotiate with more than just cable companies. They’ll also try and talk mobile and internet companies down.
Another tool Trim offers is a car insurance optimizer. This works in the same way that a car insurance aggregator functions. It searches various insurance companies to find you the lowest rates.
In order to get Trim to find your best rates, you’ll have to provide Trim with the login information for your auto insurance account.
The final tool in this section is the ability to customize your “Personal Alerts”. This section is similar to the alerts you set up with your credit card or bank account. You have the option of choosing which alerts you get and the transaction amount that triggers the alert.
Here are the following transactions that can trigger alerts:
- Overdraft fee
- Late fee
- Balance update
- Credit card usage
- Large transactions
Trim also gives you the option of sending alerts when your checking account balance drops below a dollar value you set.
This section is where you keep track of your checking, credit card and savings balances associated with the bank account that you linked.
Each one of the balances included in this section has a sub-menu where you can check out the account’s balance over time, spending on the account and the ability to hide the account from view.
Keep in mind that the “balance over time” feature won’t pull up balances from before you started your Trim account. It needs a few days of data to populate the graph.
When you click on “spending on this account”, you’ll be moved to the Transactions/Monthly Charges section.
This section shows you all the recent transactions you’ve made because it defaults to the Transactions tab. The Monthly Charges tab shows you the recurring charges you have: Netflix and Hulu are examples.
The real power of this part of Trim is the “See More” button, which takes you to a pop-up that allows you to see your transactions one of four ways: most recent, largest, merchant and category.
When we clicked “Category”, we saw a five-category list: other, shopping, groceries, restaurant and income. We appreciate that Trim separated shopping from groceries but we think the categories are still too broad.
Granted, Trim isn’t meant to be a budgeting tool which is why, in our opinion, the Category section is pretty basic.
Pro tip: Trim also gives you the ability to cancel a subscription.
Public Opinion About Trim
Much of what we read about Trim came from other review sites. Since the platform doesn’t have an app, there was no wealth of consumer information available through iTunes or Google Play.
The other sites we browsed repeated the information we have here – that Trim tracks your spending, can negotiate your cable bills and has the ability to cancel unwanted subscriptions.
How Trim Compares to Clarity Money
As we mentioned in the beginning of this review, Trim is very similar to another spend-tracking platform called Clarity Money.
The two apps basically offer the same types of tools for tracking your spending. They let you know which transactions have taken place, which categories those transactions were a part of and which accounts you used to make the purchases.
In our opinion, the main differences between the two platforms are:
- Trim does the automated bill negotiation for you
- Clarity has a better Dashboard – you can access more metrics
- Clarity has an app
- Trim’s notifications are more customizable
- Trim claims to find you lower car insurance rates
Our Final Thoughts About Trim
We live in a time when most consumers want an automated, easy way to track their finances. A new crop of financial tech companies has sprung up offering apps that do just that.
Trim is one of those apps and, based on our research, we think it does a great job of offering consumers an easy-to-use platform through which they can see where their money is going, which subscriptions they have and how much they’re spending across a variety of categories.
As we said earlier, Trim isn’t meant to be a budgeting app. So, don’t expect it to offer you an intuitive tool for organizing your spending.
Trim is more like a doctor telling you what your overall health is at any point during the day, whereas a budget is like a dietician who is telling what types of food you need to eat, which foods you need to cut back on and what’s possible for you if you can make changes in what you eat.
The advantage to Trim giving you an overview of your finances is that it combines a lot of different tools into one platform. You don’t need a car insurance site and you don’t need to haggle with your cable company. You don’t need to log into your bank’s website to check your balances on your checking savings and credit cards. Everything is in one place.
As for downsides, Trim doesn’t have a mobile app and this could be a deal-breaker for some consumers. If it is, then we suggest checking out Clarity Money. The app won’t negotiate your cable bill or find you lower car insurance rates, but it has pretty much everything else.