Trim the Fat from your Budget

Two keys to personal finance are paying yourself first and automation. When is the last time you review your budget to make sure it’s as trim as possible? Well if it’s been awhile it may be time to trim the fat from your budget. I’d like to introduce you to a startup called Trim. The concept behind Trim is simple, sign up, connect your credit card, and Trim will analyzes your transaction data to find recurring payments and help you cancel any you decide you don’t want all via text messages.

 

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The Guys behind Trim

Trim was started by Tomas Smyth and Daniel Petkevich. They had the idea for Trim after looking at our own credit card bills. Thomas had subscriptions to Hulu and Vimeo, neither of which he used. Dan was paying monthly for MailChimp, and worse yet, a renter’s insurance policy for an apartment he moved out of a year ago. They considered themselves to be responsible, financially savvy people. How did this happen?

Recurring billing takes advantage of our natural forgetfulness: It’s a lot easier to sign up for something than it is to remember to cancel it! Trim using friendly reminders via text messages and gives you the option to cancel these subscriptions at any time. For example, you can just reply to the text “Cancel Hulu” to cancel your subscription to the TV streaming service.

 

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Cost and Security

Trim is a free service and you can sign up at asktrim.com. In speaking with CEO and Co-Founder Tom Smyth last week, there are no plans at this time to develop an app, but there is a potential to add a premium service in the future. The goal is to keep the service as simple and straightforward as possible.

What about security? Trim uses Intuit and Plaid to securely connect to more than 17,000 financial institutions across the U.S. During the registration process, you will be asked to enter your online banking credentials. These credentials never touch our servers, nor are they stored by us in any way. Your credentials are sent through Intuit or Plaid to your bank or credit card provider, which sends back an encrypted token to us.

This token provides read-only access to your transactions. We cannot move money or make any changes to your account. You can revoke our read-only access token at any time. To learn more about Trim’s Security feature see their website for full details.

 

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Final Thoughts

The sign up process is simple and straightforward. I was unable to use Trim fully, as my local credit union was not one of the banks Trim has a relationship with. It’s a simple tool that can save you money and a lot of time.

Have you heard of Trim? Would you use it?

33 thoughts on “Trim the Fat from your Budget”

  1. Personally, I wouldn’t use a service like this mainly because I already know every subscription I am currently signed up for (which is 2, internet and Hulu). I know there will be a market for a service like this but it doesn’t appeal to me because I keep a close eye on my transactions each month and know which services I am signed up for and don’t use.

    1. In a similar boat, Thias, except I tend to not be very careful. As such, I try to avoid subscription services like the plague, unless I really, really use them (Amazon Prime comes to mind)
      My wife once thought I was crazy to not register for automated billing for most of our utilities, but I want to see the bill and pay it myself every month. It’s better to feel the pain, to want to get rid of it.

  2. This sounds awesome! I’ll definitely check it out. At the very least, it would help me know what I’ve enrolled in autopay and what I haven’t.

  3. I think most people know what they are subscribed to, but things can easily fall through the crack!! I think this happened to me once with a dating site I was signup for for. Nothing is worse than paying for something you are not using at all. I still have a friend who pays nearly $134 per month for a gym memberships she NEVER uses! That’s crazy!

    1. That is crazy! That’s a big waste of money each month. This is a quick and easy way to check in to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

  4. Looks like a nice service for those who might benefit from it. One of the reasons I manually enter transactions in Quicken (it doesn’t take as long as you think) is to stay keenly aware of every charge. The only two subscriptions I have are ones I want to keep. But for anyone who might miss a recurring charge, or even just want a “check up” on their subscriptions, it sounds like Trim is a good deal.

    1. I use personal capital to keep track of my spending, it more automated than manual. Agreed Trim is right for those people who are not as detailed as us.

  5. Wow, that’s pretty impressive technology! We use all of our subscriptions, so I think I’m safe there. But I did recently go through and figure out where we could lower the cost of some of them. Switching to Ooma, downgrading our Netflix, etc.

    Brilliant program though!

  6. Hey that’s a pretty cool piece of software. Thanks for sharing that. I’m with Gary — I manage my finances with Quicken and I see every charge so I am also keenly aware of my recurring transactions. But for someone that doesn’t, I can see this being a great benefit to them.

  7. I cut up my credit card, so Trim wouldn’t work for me. Bad as I have been with money, I find it amazing that so many people are unaware of the automated expenses they’ve signed up for. Trim is tapping into a problem that didn’t exist a few decades ago. Definitely good to raise awareness of where money is leaking.

  8. I have never heard of Trim, but I’m always talking to clients about cutting out annual subscriptions and they hem and haw over having to actual call the company’s and cancel them on their own. This is the perfect solution! Thanks for sharing!

  9. This is a neat idea! I know a lot of smart people who have forgotten to cancel recurring bills on their credit cards and they end up kicking themselves for wasting that money. What an interesting service.

  10. This reminds me of when I used to work at gyms, and the party line there is that the management doesn’t actually want people to use the gym, just to sign up and pay for the gym. It’s crazy! And I’ve come to accept that most subscription-based services are based on the same idea. They’d all love if you never used them but kept on paying!

  11. That’s so crazy how it can just cancel subscriptions for you! If it worked well, it would be awesome for people who are big on signing up for stuff for the free month and then canceling – but don’t (not that I’m ever one of those people, cough, cough :0).

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