Set Calendar Alerts to Avoid Being Charged for a “free” Trial

In this harsh capitalist world, there is a hard truth: everyone loves free stuff. Enjoying more wonderful (and more free) things is an innocent enough source of joy, but unfortunately, marketers are watching all of us. What, you thought it was a coincidence that every product is now trying to package itself under the “subscription service” model and also trying to lure you in with a “free trial” which, oddly enough, still requires you to share your credit card details?

This, as they say, is “how they get you.”

Pretty much everyone fell for it at some point, accidentally letting a free trial turn into a paid subscription and realizing it only when it’s too late, and the payment sits smugly on our credit card statements, mocking our naivety.

But there is a very easy way to avoid this trap by devouring all the freebies that come your way without paying a damn thing. Each time you sign up for a free trial of a new subscription or service, immediately set a reminder at the end of that trial period reminding you in ALL CAPITAL CAPITALS that it is time to UNSUBSCRIBE before you will be charged.

There are tons of ways to do this, so pick your poison: Google calendar event or warning, iPhone alert, Slackbot reminder, boomerang your welcome email from any service you subscribe to, and so on. you set a reminder the second you sign up, ideally giving yourself 48 hours of buffer time to get yourself out before billing kicks in. (for what it’s worth, if you’re the type of person who regularly “credit surfing” with new cards to maximize the initial rewards, this system also works by reminding yourself to cancel the card before the annual fee takes effect.)

Sure, this is an incredibly simple trick, but if we were all to do it, this business model would have collapsed long ago, and companies would not give away free trials like candy. This means that we all have many opportunities to play with the system more effectively. Sometimes you just need a reminder.

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