How to Clean Up Your Finances Instantly

As Ashton Kutcher said, “Trim is the easiest way to start organizing your finances, period.”

If that’s enough to convince you, sign up here: m.me/asktrim

If you’re wondering, “Why would Ashton say that?”, then read on.

Here’s the skinny on what what Trim will do for you and how you can sign up.

First, Trim is a subscription-cancelling machine. It finds all the subscriptions on your credit card. Then it asks you which ones you want to cancel.

The average person has 10 subscriptions and cancels 2 of them, saving $360/year in the process.

After you cancel all those spam subscriptions, Trim is a personal finance concierge. It’ll keep you updated on all your accounts, watching to make sure you don’t get hit with any weird charges or fees. Check it out:

Trim-User-Summary

That’s Trim. Ready to sign up?

Signing up takes less than a minute using Facebook Messenger.

Here’s the link to get started: m.me/asktrim

A Tale of Two Cities’ Spending: SF vs. Oakland | Trim Insights

This post is part of our new “Trim Insights” series, which highlights trends in local consumer spending. 

Where do folks in your city spend their money? And how’s that different from the town next door?

Here we compare spending heat maps for San Francisco and Oakland in an in-depth analysis of where, exactly, people spend their money.

SAN FRANCISCO

sf pointmap

OAKLAND

oakland heatmap

Top 5 Big-Spending Restaurants in SF | Trim Insights

This post is part of our new “Trim Insights” series, which highlights trends in local consumer spending. 

Ever wondered which restaurants in San Francisco rake in the most cash from their customers?

We’ve analyzed the data and put together a list of the 5 SF eateries where customers spent the most. It’s a fascinating mix of the super-expensive and the super-popular.

#1: HAKKASAN

hakksan

Hakkasan, an outpost of the Las Vegas nightclub/bar/restaurant best known for hosting a rotating sequence of top DJs, takes the prize as the #1 grossing restaurant in SF for our users to lay down the cash. While it’s not exactly a high-volume spot, the bills here stack up into the stratosphere, one magnum at a time.

(Image from Haute Living)

#2: LOLINDA

lolinda

Lolinda is so popular that patrons queue up on a sort-of rope line on a consistently windy, not-so-nice block of Mission St. Why are all those people freezing in line? Some of them are waiting for Lolinda the restaurant — and most are just trying to make it to the rooftop bar. Above that giant, ugly Sketchers sign you can sit under heat lamps and enjoy a spectacular view of the entire Mission District. The guacamole’s not bad, either.

(Image from Lolinda)

#3: FOREIGN CINEMA

Foreign Cinema allows for the most efficient dinner-and-a-movie dates in town: just do both at once. The giant outdoor projector screens foreign classics like Ratatouille (Pixar, 2007, subtitled in many languages), and the food is a light, delicious Californian affair.

#4: LA QUINTA

laquinta

Burrito? You want a burrito? You need a burrito? You’d prefer a hella cheap, hella scrumptious burrito, made with a splash of local panache? La Quinta surprised us by making it onto this list. SF dwellers love burritos more than they let on.

(Image from Google Maps)

#5: CHIPOTLE

Chipotle, undeterred by the e coli crisis, continues to rake in lunch money (and dinner money…and brunch money…) from loyal San Francisco residents looking for a quick and cheap bite. Chipotle has an astonishing 13 locations in SF alone, giving it a distinct advantage in getting on the Trim top-spending list.


If you’re a member of the media and you’d like to see a similar analysis for your own city, please get in touch! Contact us at hello at asktrim dot com.

Trim (asktrim.com) is the largest and fastest-growing chatbot for personal finance. Our digital financial assistant cancels unwanted subscriptions, tracks your spending by category, protects you from fradulent charges, and much more. Sign up at asktrim.com.

Petition: Make It Simple to Cancel Recurring Payments

Today we’ve started a petition to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to empower American consumers to cancel unwanted recurring payments easily.

Since starting Trim, we’ve seen companies make it harder and harder for users to cancel their subscriptions. We’re doing our best to help consumers fight back – but we’ve come to believe that the FTC has a part to play, too.

The number of subscription services has exploded in the past few years. Big corporations have figured out that consumers are creatures of the status quo, and doing nothing is a lot easier than stressing about your personal finances. With the rise of electronic payments, it’s easier than ever to sign up for something and forget about it.

You may be thinking: How can this really be a problem? Isn’t the amount of money at stake de minimus?

That’s certainly true for some high-income households: a $15/month subscription might be easy to ignored. But for others, $180 per year is real money.

And think about the collective impact. If every household in America is paying $15 per month more than they should on some dorky recurring payments – that’s north of $18,000,000,000 per year across the whole country.

We’re not calling for any kind of extreme regulation here. At Trim we rely on subscription services such as GitHub and AWS to keep our business running! The convenience of auto-billing is a godsend for busy entrepreneurs.

But at the same time, we’ve seen that some actors take it too far, imposing draconian requirements on users who want to cancel. For example, Blue Apron doesn’t have an easy way to cancel from inside your account. You have to Google around to find their email address – and then email them, just to cancel!

Let it be known: I use Blue Apron and the service can be great. But I’ve also forgotten to unsubscribe for a week that I was out of town, and been billed for food that I never ate. The FTC should put a word in with merchants like Blue Apron to remember that customers come first if you’re trying to build a business for the long run.

Examples abound, most far less useful than delicious dinner ingredients. Several of the credit monitoring services require a phone call with a lengthy wait time in order to cancel a monthly subscription. (Not to mention that these credit reports and credit monitoring service are available for free elsewhere!)

So what can be done? Two sets of regulations govern recurring billing: federal and state.

The best example of federal regulation is the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (ROSCA), passed by Congress in 2011.

The FTC has used this law in the past to stop unscrupulous billing practices. For example:

+ In 2011, the FTC charged a group of marketers for billing consumers without their consent.

+ In 2015, the FTC filed a lawsuit against DirecTV, alleging that they offered premium channels on a “trial” basis and then charged customers for those channels after the trial period without getting their consent. (Law360)

On a state-by-state basis, lawmakers have also passed legislation to make sure consumers are protected. The best example is in California, where the law “prohibits retailers from charging consumers’ credit card, debit card or bank account for ongoing orders without their explicit consent.” (Law360)

So let’s make sure that subscription billers do the right thing. Call on the FTC to keep a close eye on recurring billers. You can read and sign the petition here:

FTC: Enable Consumers to Cancel Recurring Payments Easily (Change.org Petition)

How To Use Trim

Trim is an AI-powered assistant that’s working to save you money.
You can think of me as a fairy godmother for your financial life.

Here’s how to use Trim:

COMMANDS
Text Trim commands to stay updated on your finances. Think of Trim as a faster replacement for your mobile banking app.
– ‘Balance’ to see you balance instantly
– ‘Recent’ for recent transactions, across your accounts
– ‘Spend Amazon’ or ‘spend Uber’ to keep track of your spending by merchant

NOTIFICATIONS
Your Trim assistant will monitor your finances for you. You can customize your notification settings in the dashboard. To start, you’re set up with these notifications:
– Large transactions
– Payday
– Minimum balance
– Credit card due date
– Overdraft
– Late fee

DASHBOARD
Your dashboard gives an overview of what’s going on with your finances.

– Recent Spending: See how much you’ve spent so far this month across all of your accounts. Or see a list of all your transactions, sortable by merchant, category, or date.

– Subscriptions: You can see the same list of your subscriptions in your dashboard, including the status of any subscriptions you’ve requested to cancel.

– Your Accounts: See all of your accounts, re-connect any disconnected accounts, and add new accounts from your dashboard.

– Help: Get help from a human any time by tapping the blue question mark in the bottom left-hand corner of your dashboard.

SUBSCRIPTIONS
Trim finds all of your subscriptions and cancels the ones you don’t want any more.
– Text ‘subs’ to see your list.
– Text ‘cancel ___’ to have Trim cancel something, or use your dashboard to cancel.
– If it’s possible, Trim will contact the biller on your behalf.

NEW FEATURES
Comcast: Trim will now negotiate your Comcast/Xfinity bill!
asktrim.com/bills
You’ll need to use the Chrome browser on a desktop computer in order for the bot to work.

Trim, A Money-Saving Chatbot, Raises $2.2M To Fight Predatory Billers

SAN FRANCISCO — Trim, the largest and fastest-growing chatbot for personal finance, raised $2.2 million in seed funding. Eniac Ventures led the round, with participation from Version One Ventures, Core Innovation Capital, and Sound Ventures.

In its first 7 months of operations, Trim has saved its users more than $6 million by cancelling unwanted subscriptions.

“Trim is the easiest way to start organizing your finances, period,” said Ashton Kutcher, co-founder of Sound Ventures. “We’re excited to support the team’s huge ambition to democratize access to personalized financial advice.”

Rather than requiring new customers to download an app, Trim enables two-way communication with its users through text messages or Facebook Messenger. It’s one of the first Messenger chatbots for personal finance.

“In the future, every American will have a robot that protects them from getting ripped off,” said Thomas Smyth, co-founder and CEO of Trim. “Consumers want a personal financial assistant that actually does something for them.”

Trim sets itself apart from traditional online banking apps by taking action on the user’s behalf. For example, Trim can contact the relevant biller to cancel a subscription for a user.

“Fortune 500 companies have teams of data scientists trying to extract more money from your wallet,” said co-founder Daniel Petkevich. “It’s not a fair fight. Trim gives consumers the power to fight back.”

Trim users can query their personal finances by texting commands such as “Spend Uber” to see their Uber expenses for the past 30 days. Users also receive customized notifications about unusual spending and bank fees across all of their accounts.

“We are thrilled to back Trim,” said Tim Young, General Partner at Eniac Ventures. “The team’s vision and traction place them miles ahead in the massive new market for chatbots.”  

How Trim Works

  • Sign up at asktrim.com
  • Message with Trim through SMS or Facebook Messenger
  • You can set up spending alerts, check your balance, or cancel subscriptions with just a text

Trim-User-Summary


Contact

Thomas Smyth, Co-Founder & CEO

Email: hello@asktrim.com

 

The Trim Manifesto

Look around you. Most folks have sub-optimal financial lives. Probably yours, too.

This doesn’t mean “not making enough money” or “not budgeting appropriately.” It means that some financial product that you use, and pay for — like car insurance or a credit card — could be cheaper and better. This is true for nearly everyone.

The important thing to realize is that financial products are commodities. Banks and other financial institutions spend zillions of dollars trying to convince you otherwise. Chase wants you to believe that their Sapphire card is better because it’s heavier. State Farm tries to convince you that their car insurance is superior because it’s sold by a human agent who lives down the street. Raymond James will explain until its investment advisors are blue in the face that their wealth management advisors are more talented than any others you could find. All of this is false. So why don’t we shop around more?

The history of financial institutions is local. If you wanted a bank account, you went to the nearest bank. Same for insurance and wealth management. But the internet is changing that. These services are now available online, and people can shop around instead of being restricted to physically available options. New start-ups can offer the same old financial products at lower prices.

These new online options leave us in a strange situation. 165 million drivers are paying more than they could for car insurance. 150 million people aren’t getting enough rewards from their credit cards. 50 million checking accounts are hit with overdraft fees every year. 40 million households pay too much on their credit card debt. And so on. Isn’t that insane?

Economically, it makes 100% rationale sense that all those folks should simply learn about the new, better, cheaper options and then switch to them. But obviously that’s not happening. Why? Many good reasons:

Lack of attention: Most people do their best to automatically ignore anything about finance, because it’s probably either an ad or a scam.

Lack of knowledge: If you don’t know there’s a better option, you’re not going to switch.

Lack of knowledge: If you don’t know there’s a better option, you’re not going to switch.

Lack of trust: The internet is full of Ponzi schemes and identity thieves.

Lack of knowledge: If you don’t know there’s a better option, you’re not going to switch.

First mover disadvantage: Even if a person can convince herself or himself to switch, we are designed as a species to do our best not to be the first to switch. Because what if? It’s always safer to be somewhere in the middle of the pack.

Lack of time: Let’s say you’ve read all the info and trust it immediately and want to get a better credit card ASAP – but you’re on the bus and your stop has almost arrived.

Forgetfulness: It’s always easier to put something off til tomorrow.

This problem is a hard one. But it’s definitely not the hardest. Compare what we’re asking for (maybe an hour, tops, to save a few thousand dollars per year) to a truly hard problem — like trying to reverse the obesity epidemic in America (behavioral, physical, and social changes every day for years). Optimizing someone’s financial life should be much easier. But we need to make it easier.

We’re here to help Americans optimize their financial lives, all at once, with a minimum of time and hassle. To get their attention; to educate them; to gain their trust; to show them that other people are doing it; to schedule the work at a convenient time; to make it clear that it’s worth their time to do this; and to make sure they don’t forget.

7 Subscription Services You Wouldn’t Believe Existed!

Stupid Crate

stupidcrate

The official description is “a stupid box filled with stupid things.” For $13.95/month, you get to open a box and be amazed at what stupid things someone can fit into a box. If you’re the lucky winner of the month, you can even be crowned as “Stupid Person of the Month.” What a bargain!

Link: http://www.stupidcrate.com/

 

Box of Shadows

shadows

A subscription for “pagan lovers,” Box of Shadows is a monthly subscription that delivers all of your run-of-the-mill pagan worship needs straight to your doorstep. For just $19.99 a month, you get to receive must-have pagan goodies like incense and herbs.

Link: http://www.myboxofshadows.com/

 

Bacon Freak

baconbox

As the most full-fledged, extensive subscription service on this list, Bacon Freak has a “Bacon of the Month Club” that enrolls you into monthly subscriptions of bacon delivered to your door. For around $50 per month, you get your pick of nitrate-free bacon, gluten-free bacon, normal bacon… you name it. There’s even an option to add bacon-flavored lip balm to every purchase, in case you want the taste of your subscription to stay on your lips all day long.

Link: http://www.baconfreak.com/

 

Turntable Kitchen

turntable

Ever want to impress your friends by showing off what a cultured person you are? Turntable Kitchen offers monthly subscriptions of curated recipes and vinyl records.  For $25/month, you receive a recipe of the month along with a limited-edition vinyl and a digital mixtape. Classy or crappy?

Link: http://www.turntablekitchen.com

 

Bro Box

brobox

Everyone knows a bro who uses the word “bro” in every other sentence. Whoever that is might find solace in this monthly subscription promising a variety of items targeting the bro population, ranging from beef jerky to muscle brownie. Apparently, the Bro Box makes the perfect gift because the ordering process is so simple that “your mom can do it” for just $15/month.

Link: http://www.broboxclub.com/

 

Spec Ops Global

specops

If your childhood dream is to be a law enforcement officer or appear on the latest season of Lost, this subscription is for you. Spec Ops Global claims to ship survival and tactical gear that have been personally recommended by elite units. While this subscription could potentially save you from the next zombie apocalypse or promote you to become the neighborhood watchman, it comes at a steep price of $49.99/month.

Link: http://www.specopsglobal.com/

 

The Cannabox

cannabox

Otherwise known as the “Exclusive Mystery 420 Box,” The Cannabox promises to delight cannabis enthusiasts with a monthly box of cannabis-related items such as smoking paraphernalia, t-shirts, and books. At $19.88 per month, you can enjoy discreet shipping of smoking essentials and “stoney gear.”

Link: https://cannabox.com

 

Thanks to Siqi Liu for the guest post!

Finding Cheaper Car Insurance

🔑 = Shop around for”🚗💸” (car insurance) b/c you are probably paying too much.

From now on we are going to call it “🚗💸” because (a) your money is flying away whenever you pay for “🚗💸” and (b) people hate talking about “🚗💸”.

1. If you have a car, drag yourself off Snapchat and figure out if you should be paying less for “🚗💸”.

2. Stop procrastinating and do #1 already 😃.

3. We look for “🚗💸” with this website called CoverHound which lets you compare quotes from a bunch of different “🚗💸” companies. The big one that’s missing is Geico, so you should also go to their website.

Someday Trim will be able to find you cheaper “🚗💸” automatically, so you can stay on Snapchat and be lazy and still save money 🎉. Stay tuned…

Questions? Ask us at help@asktrim.com.