Trim really does give you free money. I’ll run through how before giving you a couple of caveats and my conclusion.
Begin by setting up an account at Trim. Trim will ask you to link your credit cards to your account. It walks you through a couple of savings opportunities, described further down, then starts handing you statement credits on your credit cards.
Free money source number one: instant rebates through targeted offers
Right now I’m getting kickbacks from Trim for three kinds of spending: groceries, restaurants, and movie theaters. Anytime I meet the minimum spend in one of these categories, I get a statement credit. Here are the details of these rebates from my account’s “Savings” screen:
So for example, I get back $1 anytime I spend $5 or more on groceries.
They’re not big rebates, but the drips of money are automatic and they add up soon enough. So far this June we’ve hit grocery store eighteen times and eaten out six times (atypically high.) If I’d signed up for Trim on 6/1 , we’d be up twenty-four bucks.
The best promotion for us is the movie rebate of $10 on a $20+ spend. When combined with our Stubs membership (it’s an AMC Theaters rewards program)–we’ll rarely be going to the movies for less than half off full retail, and occasionally for free.
Trim notifies you of new promotions via Facebook Messenger. All you have to do to participate is hit “Accept.” But if you closely manage your credit cards you’re probably already participating in categorical promotions–Discover’s 5 x points on big box stores, for instance–so the process ought to feel familiar.
Free money source number two: Trim auto-negotiates statement credits from Comcast for service outages.
I’ve long since cut the cord, but if you’re a Comcast customer Trim will track outages in your area. Each time one occurs Trim’s chatbot will attempt to automatically negotiate a credit to your account with Comcast’s chat system. Any credits Trim successfully negotiates are split 25% to them and 75% to you.
It’s a Turning test that appears to work. If the negotiation is successful Trim simply cuts you a check.
But about that 75/25 split: given the ridiculous time commitment and my hatred of “Press one to be hung up on” phone systems, I will NEVER attempt to haggle with a cable company over the pro-rata cost of a four-hour outage. So I’ll pay a 25% vig on, like, $1.62 any day of the week as long as I don’t have to get involved.
Free money source number three: Trim’s “Price Patrol” function gets you Amazon rebates if your credit card has price protection.
Hook up your Amazon account and Trim will automatically scan it for your previous purchases. Then it shows any price drops on these products and offers you the opportunity to request a rebate…which again, Trim will handle for you automatically on a 75/25 basis. These rebates are only good for cards that carry price protection, but still.
Trim found me $3.09, but that was just on the purchases I’ve made since I opened my Chase Ink Business Preferred Visa six weeks ago. We shop quite a bit on Amazon and I can only imagine the size of the rebate I’d have gotten on, say, a year’s worth of purchases.
Again, I’ll get a check from Trim with the same 75/25 split.
In addition to these auto-rebates and credits, Trim offers a couple of ways to lower your expenses.
Trim helps you quickly turn off subscriptions you no longer need.
I found this service to be less useful, but it might help you. At any time you wish, Trim will scan your accounts for recurring payments and list them. You might be reminded that, hey, you’re paying your gym $96 a month. This leaves you with a decision: do I really work out that much? If not, you should obviously cancel. For some service providers Trim can automatically cancel for you if you wish, saving you the hassle of dealing with the provider yourself.
Trim shows you competing auto insurance offers.
I haven’t yet tried this service, but I’m planning to. Every year I shop my entire insurance package around–home, auto, liability–to see if I can find a better buy. I’ll make this part of that process.
Now: the caveats.
Trim only works with Visa cards.
This is a minor inconvenience for me, since my primary card’s a Chase Ink Business Preferred Visa, but you might find it to be a barrier. However, Trim’s a new service and may very well expand its card acceptance in the future.
To take advantage of Trim’s services you have to link both your credit cards and Facebook account to it.
As the saying goes, “If the product is free, you’re the product.” The amount of consumer behavior data collection that goes on is already beyond belief, but by signing up for Trim I’ve made myself an even more valuable product…and hence more competed for with advertising.
But it’s a slippery slope; one I’ve already slid a long way down because I frequently use Personal Capital (click here for my review) and once in a while use Mint. And I’ve got EVERYTHING hooked into those two services–credit cards, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, my daughter’s 529, the Zillow estimate of our house’s value, everything. This is not to mention the data my credit card companies themselves sell, and don’t get me started on Facebook.
What’s gotten me past my scruples with respect to Trim, through, is that the rebates I’m collecting add up to real money. The data’s already out there but for once it’s ME getting paid for it.
Yeah, I think Trim’s worth signing up for. I’ve been running it for a couple of weeks and I’m already up ten or twelve bucks for a few minutes of account creation and Facebook messaging. Haven’t been to the movies yet, though, nor have I gotten beyond the three promotions I already showed you. And I’d really like to stick it to Comcast, but can’t because I’m not a customer.
Anyway, sign up for an account and let me know what you think.