Free trials, here we come.

By Perri Ormont Blumberg
December 16, 2018
Geri Lavrov/Getty Images

Remember that time you signed up for a free trial, and then a few months later later you realize the company has been dutifully charging you $9.95 on the first of every month? We know the feeling.

Well, here's a smart tip Apartment Therapy offers to make sure those free trials don't shift to monthly billings before you remember to opt out. Instead of signing up with your real credit card or debit card, the article's author Caroline Biggs suggests using an empty pre-paid debit or credit gift card — like the popular Visa gift cards, you're scoring during the holiday season — when signing up for auto-renewal subscription trials.

"Instead of setting an annoying calendar reminder so you don't forget to cancel, try entering the info from one of your empty or near-empty pre-paid gift cards to seal the deal. Not only will you spare yourself from an unwanted charge, using a dummy card in place of your real one means you won't have to worry about the company having any of your personal information once the free trial period has finished," explains Biggs. Of course, it's best to do this with an empty card so you don't inadvertently sap funds from your gift card to furnish that Amazon Prime subscription you didn't want.

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And hey, there's a chance that Amazon Prime account could win you over, two seasons of Marvelous Mrs.Maisel later. In which case, you can thank your used-up gift card for its help, and pry on open your wallet to enter your true digits.

For more tips on pre-paid gift cards, read the full article on Apartment Therapy here.