5 Secrets of Truly Free 30 Day Trials

Secrets of truly free 30 day trials

Mark the expiration date on your calendar.

Life feels scary right now because everything seems out of control.

We can’t personally solve all of the world’s health, financial, social, environmental, and political issues, but we can focus on controlling our own little corner of the world, bit by bit. Starting with “free” trials.

Don't lose money on Free 30 Day Trials! Click To Tweet

Free 30 Day Trials Can be Expensive!

Have you ever signed up for a Free 30 Day Trial and forgotten it was even there for you to be trialing? Or, maybe you got busy and didn’t spend enough time watching, using, or learning the new service or tool to be sure you wanted to keep it? And then the trial expired? And then they started charging your credit card? Ugh!

(Asking for a friend.)

There are 5 money-saving secrets to taking advantage of free trials, which I’ll tell you in a moment.

Meanwhile….we’re all currently social distancing, if not outright quarantining ourselves, some alone, and some with families. And we have extra time on our hands now. Or, we’re working from home now. Or, we’re homeschooling now.

A plethora of streaming video services, business tools, and educational platforms offer Free 30 Day Trials, many of which are potentially useful to us, now more than ever.

(Who knew the apocalypse would come with WiFi?!)

You’ve probably seen the offers too, but if you want to see more, just Google the phrase “Free 30 Day Trial” plus any topic that interests you. Examples:

Free 30 Day Trial Business

Free 30 Day Trial Streaming Video

Free 30 Day Trial Kids

Free 30 Day Trial Grocery Delivery

NOTE: Some offers are only for 7 days. Some are for 60 days. Many require credit cards, but not all. Some services and tools, such as Zoom video conferencing, offer a free version with no expiration, and a paid version with more robust features.

So, here are the 5 secrets to taking advantage of Free 30 Day Trials without incurring inadvertent costs.

And, no, they aren’t really secrets. Do you actually do them, though?

SECRET #1: Think first

I’m already subscribed to a gazillion tools and services, and the new ones I’m considering are Scribd for ebooks and audiobooks and Acorn TV for British movies and series. Like I need more books and more videos. So, yeah, maybe not, after all. I think I’ll take better advantage of the tools and services I’m already paying for.

SECRET #2: Write the expiration date on your calendar

Whatever date you start the trial, count forward 30 days. (Or 7, or however many days the trial is for.) Then back up 2 days and write “Cancel (service name)?” This gives you time to cancel before they start charging your credit card. And if you simply forgot, or got busy, it gives you a chance to still examine the thing you signed up for.

SECRET #3: Learn how to use the new thing

Put a sticky note on your computer to remind yourself that the new tool or service is available. Schedule yourself some time on your calendar to learn how to use it. It might take only a few minutes, or it might take an hour a day for a week, depending on what it is.

SECRET #4: Don’t take it lying down

I have been known to call (or email) the company and ask for my free trial to start over because I forgot, or otherwise didn’t have a chance to evaluate the tool or service. Sometimes it works! If you realize they’ve started charging you, and you know you really don’t want the thing, and you tell them soon enough, they will usually reverse the charge. Sometimes they don’t (they may refund the most recent month if it’s a monthly subscription), and sometimes they prorate it (if it’s a yearly subscription).

SECRET #5: Cancel unused subscriptions

Take inventory. How many tools and services do you pay for that you really don’t need or want anymore? They’re clutter.   Save some money by canceling them now!

Are you currently taking advantage of a Free 30 Day Trial? What is is?

Curious minds want to know. Please share in the comments below!

Copyright 2020 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life.
I welcome social media links directly to this page!
Please contact me for other types of reprint permission.



Share this:

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Seana Turner on March 23, 2020 at 9:39 am

    Wow, what a timely post! I think maybe even just start a list somewhere that lists all the new services you signed up for, the date when the trial ends, and the date when you need to cancel by. Hang it up… color bright red stars on it. So easy to fall into a lot of expensive services at the end of this. Great post, Hazel:)

    • Hazel Thornton on March 23, 2020 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks, Seana! Yes, a list is fine…. as long as you remember to look at it!

  2. Linda Samuels on March 23, 2020 at 11:55 am

    The “free” trials I’m pretty suspicious of for all the reasons you mentioned. The biggest one is that at the moment of activation (for the free part,) it seems like we’re DEFINITELY going to use that service, product, class, or … But then we often don’t. And as you said, we also forget when that free trial ends and create more hassle with cancelling the subscription.

    Your advice to mark the cancellation date on your calendar or task list to end the free part prior to getting charged, is a great one. Along the lines of free trials are also subscriptions that are on auto-renewal. We can also forget about those, especially if they only renew once a year. For the monthly auto-renewals, I have it programed into my Quicken record so that I am aware of the funds being debited.

    As a matter of fact, just before I read your post (a funny coincidence,) I cancelled a 6-months subscription that was on auto-renewal. It was set to renew in August. Now it won’t. Phew!

    • Hazel Thornton on March 23, 2020 at 3:46 pm

      Exactly — auto-renewals are great if you love the service. And easy to forget about if you aren’t paying attention.

  3. Julie Bestry on March 23, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Great advice, Hazel. Companies are understandably counting on inertia, hoping we’ll either use the products and services, evangelize, and never bother to quit, or never start using, forget we have them, and never bother to quit. This is a great reality check!

    • Hazel Thornton on March 23, 2020 at 3:48 pm

      Thanks, Julie! Yeah….not their fault if we forget to cancel.

  4. Geralin Thomas on March 23, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    Sorta-kinda-not-really related are all of these “just give me your email and you can download my free whatever” offers. Yuck. No thanks. Pass the soap.

    • Hazel Thornton on March 23, 2020 at 5:05 pm

      Oh, UNSOLICITED offers are a pet peeve of mine! We should make a chart of the hierarchy of unsolicited offers starting with people who subscribe you to their newsletter without asking. And some free trials cross my path unsolicited, but they don’t start all by themselves. And some of them I am grateful for so I can test the thing before committing to it.

  5. Janet Barclay on March 24, 2020 at 11:01 am

    I avoid any free trial that requires me to provide a credit card number. Call me suspicious, I guess…

    I made an exception a couple of months ago. I took an SEO course and the instructor recommended that we sign up for a free 7-day trial of SEMRush. I had to give them my credit card number, but as a good student, I did what I was told. On Day 6, I requested a cancellation (there was no simple “cancel” button) and on Day 7, they charged my credit card. I got it back, but it was annoying to have to follow up with them.

    By the way, SEMRush is way too powerful and complicated to figure out whether it will be useful to you in 7 days.

  6. Judith Houlding on March 24, 2020 at 11:09 am

    More helpful and common-sense advice from Hazel. I will definitely share this with my clients, who often fall for all sorts of come-ons that they then forget about until they see the charges racking up on their CCs. Sometimes I forget that things I do automatically (such as putting reminders on my calendar) are foreign concepts for others. Thanks for this timely article on the pitfalls of “free” apps during a time when many will be tempted.

  7. Janet Schiesl on March 24, 2020 at 4:21 pm

    Interesting ideas. I almost never go for the free trials because of just what you said. I don’t learn enough about the product to know if I want it during the trial period.

  8. Ronni Eisenberg on March 26, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    It’s so true how we can easily get pulled in with free trials. I know I have. I especially like your second tip about writing the cancellation date on your calendar, 2 days before the item actually expires. I’ve had to do that because it’s so easy to forget with so much going on in our lives.

Leave a Comment