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The biggest mistake people make when signing up for streaming services

New to the world of streaming TV? If so, congrats on ridding yourself of your overpriced cable bill. You now have the freedom to pick and choose the channels you want without the extra charges cable companies like to add.

Millions have chosen streaming services as an alternative to cable, and recent studies indicate streaming will be in 25% of U.S. homes come 2022. Tap or click here for holiday movies available to stream.

As you subscribe to your favorite streaming services, remember not to make this jumbo-sized mistake that can leave you with extra charges. Here’s how you can start on the right foot.

Freebies for everyone

Okay, almost everyone. While most streaming services offer new subscribers a free trial period when they sign up, some provide a discount rate for a specified period. Tap or click to check out 5 sites you can stream TV for free.

These subscription specials provide you the opportunity to determine whether a streaming service is suitable for your needs and allows you the chance to get accustomed to life without cable. We suggest you make the most of any offering(s).

Check out new content, rediscover old programming and investigate the features and pricing of each service without the financial commitment. Here are a few notable specials to keep in mind:

  • Netflix – 30 days free trial.
  • Hulu – 1st month free for ad-supported and non-ad supported basic packages. 7 day free trial for the Hulu+ live TV option.
  • Apple TVPlus – 7 day free trial or one-year free service with the purchase of an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or Apple TV.
  • Amazon Prime Video – This service requires you to have an Amazon Prime membership, which you can try out for 30 days free.

Time’s up

While it’s smart to take advantage of these deals, don’t forget they will automatically renew after your trial period ends. If you fail to cancel or adjust the service before the deadline, you may be responsible for paying renewal fees.

RELATED: Which streaming service is best? We compare Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon and more

It can be easy to forget when a free trial ends. This is especially true when you have multiple trials at one time. Don’t worry, we have a few tips to help you remember the dates.

  • If you don’t use the service much during the trial period, or feel the price is not worth the service, cancel immediately.
  • Cancel at the beginning of the month (even if you have a few days remaining).
  • Jot down end dates and set the list near your TV.
  • Use a Mastercard to sign up.
  • Create a reminder on your phone or calendar.
  • Use a budgeting app or software.

Mastercard to the rescue

This major credit card company is looking to help you out with forgotten free trials. Mastercard’s new initiative, announced this year, requires merchants to notify a cardholder that his or her free trial period is about to end.

This notification can come via email or text, and must include the transaction amount, payment date and instructions on how to cancel.

Set it so you don’t forget it

Although it may not be too difficult to remember that a trial period ends in seven days, remembering a trial subscription ending a year out may prove to be a challenge. One way to help you manage both short and long-term subscriptions is to create a reminder on your mobile device.

Note: The following instructions may vary according to device, manufacturer and operating system.

Android

To set a reminder on an Android smartphone, launch the reminder app, and tap on Write a reminder.

Type in your text and tap on the calendar icon below the Condition menu. Here you can tap on the date and adjust the time for your reminder. Next, click Done and tap Save.

iPhone

Although Apple requires you to take a few more steps to create a reminder, it’s not difficult. Tap on the Reminders icon and click Add List. Type in the name for your subscription list and tap Done.

Under this new list, tap +New Reminder. Choose to save your reminder in iCloud or Yahoo! Enter whatever text, e.g., name of the streaming service, and click on the clock option below the text area.

This Details section allows you to set the date and time you want to receive the reminder notification. As with any reminder app, you can opt to have the notification/alarm set on repeat to ensure you don’t ignore it. Once you have enabled the settings, click Done.

Want to look over your subscription info? Open the app, click your list and view your scheduled reminders.

Google Calendar

Google offers a shortcut to creating a reminder. Available for both Android and iOS, Google Calendar only requires a few long presses and a couple of clicks. Start with a long press on the app icon and tap on New reminder.

Enter your information into the text area and long-press the date below. Select your date and click OK. Next, long-press the time next to the date and move the clock indicator to your desired time. Click OK.

Once complete, tap Save. You can view your reminders in a detailed or month-at-a-glance view.

Although we highlighted Google Calendar for this reminder task, the calendar app on an iPhone works in a similar fashion, or you can simply say, “Hey, Siri, set reminder for [date and time to cancel your subscription]. Siri will ask what you want to be reminded about. Respond with something like “Cancel my Hulu subscription.”

To view your Reminders app, simply ask Siri to open Reminders.

There’s an app for that

One method you may want to utilize is a budgeting app or software to help you manage subscriptions of any kind. In addition to consolidating all of your subscriptions into one place, you can view the details including price, due date and even cancel a subscription within the application.

Truebill is one such app that can help you lower your bills, optimize your spending and manage subscriptions.

Free trials are without question an ideal way to test out streaming services. Just be sure to take note of the end dates to avoid the expense of forgetfulness.

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