Try Before You Buy – the Best Free Trials

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We live in a subscription economy filled with digital services to meet nearly every need. Fortunately, many services offer free trials so you can test-drive their offerings before you commit. Whether you want some high-quality entertainment, easy access to food, or want to level up your skills, here are several services to try before you buy.  

Pro Tip: The catch with free trials is that most require a credit card and they will automatically turn into a paid subscription once the trial period is up. To stay organized and avoid accidental expenses, set calendar reminders to help you track trials you want to cancel. 

Entertainment

There are plenty of options for entertainment in the subscription-based services game, and most of them offer at least a short free trial period. 

Pro tip: If you’re pinching your pennies, you could keep yourself entertained cost-free for months by bouncing between some of these trial options.


TV, MOVIES, AND MORE

  • Amazon Prime – If you don’t already have an Amazon Prime account, or if you haven’t been an Amazon Prime member within the last 12 months, enjoy 30-days of free, fast delivery on purchases, exclusive deals at Whole Foods, and free access to thousands of movies, shows, and music, and games with the Amazon Prime trial.
  • Starz – 7-day free trial. Starz is best known for its film collection, but it has some popular original TV content as well like Outlander. 
  • Hulu – Get the first month free. Hulu has a variety of shows and movies, but it’s best known for its collection of TV shows and Hulu Originals like “Nine Perfect Strangers” and “Only Murderers in the Building.”
  • YouTube Premium – Their 1-month free trial gets you ad-free entertainment and downloads. YouTube Music Premium is also an included feature.
  • Discovery+ – Get 7 days free. Discovery+ is well known for its collection of non-fiction programming, including HGTV, the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, Investigation Discovery (ID), TLC, the Travel Channel, OWN, A&E, Lifetime, and Animal Planet, among others. 

MUSIC

  • Spotify – Get your first month of Premium free. Or, get 3 months of Spotify Premium free when you sign up with PayPal.
  • TIDAL – Jay-Z’s experiential music streaming service offers high-fidelity sound and a commitment to an ethical relationship with musical artists. You can get 30 days free.

GAMES

  • Gamefly – Buy, rent, or play your favorite video games free for 30 days.
  • Amazon Luna – If you’re on an Amazon Prime trial, you’ll have 30 days of access to Amazon Luna featuring thousands of games for all ages.
  • Stadia – Google’s gaming platform that lets you play games on screens you already own. Try Stadio Pro free for one month.

BOOKS

  • Audiobooks.com offers 30 days of access for free! This includes one free book and two bonus books from their VIP selection. Audiobooks.com also has news, magazine, and mental health resources like sleep stories and meditations. 
  • Scribd – The digital bookstore claims to have a bigger selection of books, audiobooks, magazines, and news articles than its competitors. Enjoy 30-days of free access.

Pro Tip: Some subscription services, credit card accounts, and other membership-based services will sometimes come with a temporary free subscription to one or more streaming services.  For example, if you have a Target Circle account, you can get Apple Arcade free for 6 months, Apple Music free for 4 months, Apple TV+ free for 4 months, and iCloud+ free for 4 months with 50 GB of storage. (Offer expires June 17, 2022). Another example of this is DoorDash – If you’re a World or World Elite Mastercard cardholder, you can get three free months of DashPass. DashPass gets you $0 delivery fees on restaurant orders over $12 and on grocery and liquor store orders over $25.

Health & Wellness

Whether you’re interested in getting fit or finding your zen, there’s a free trial out there for you. Try any of these and let the glow-up begin.

  • Headspace – Get 14 days free when you select the annual plan or 7 days free with the monthly plan. This mindfulness app will teach you meditation, self-awareness, and relaxation techniques.
  • Calm – Learn to meditate, listen to sleep stories, learn from zen masters, or chill out with breathing exercises. Check out all that Calm has to offer during their 7-day free trial.
  • Curology – The skincare brand mixes custom formulas based on your unique needs. Try the subscription for 30 days for free as long as you’re willing to cover the $4.95 shipping fee for products.
  • Alo Moves – New subscribers get 30 free days. Take yoga, pilates, barre, fitness, and meditation classes. 
  • Peloton – Everyone knows them for their stationary bikes, but they also have an app with thousands of fitness classes – no equipment required. Try it for free for 30 days. 
  • ClassPass — ClassPass grants you access to thousands of gyms, fitness studios, salons, and spas worldwide. It’s available in most major cities making it ideal for travelers. Try it free for 14 days to inject some variety into your fitness routine.

Food/Dining

Cut costs on coffee, groceries, and meal delivery costs with these services. 

  • Panera Bread’s Unlimited Sip Club – New subscribers get their first month free. Enjoy unlimited iced coffee, hot coffee, and hot tea as well as unlimited refills when dining in the cafe. No size or flavor is off-limits, and you can redeem your offer every two hours. (Ends 3/29/2022)
  • Grubhub+ – Their free trial gets you a month’s worth of free delivery from your favorite restaurants when you spend at least $12.
  • Fresh Direct – If you live in a Fresh Direct delivery area, you can get unlimited free grocery deliveries for 60 days with their trial.  
  • Instacart – At the time of this writing, Instacart offers new subscribers two weeks of zero delivery fees. You can even order items from warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club without having a club membership. 
  • Postmates Unlimited — Enjoy free delivery on orders of $15 or more for a week. Available in many major cities.

Professional Development

Looking to add a new skill to your resume? Try these free trials to see if they help you uplevel.

  • Coursera – The professional development platform partners with top universities and companies to provide online learning and specialized training opportunities. Once you create an account, find the course you’re interested in, and you’ll be able to try it free for 7 days.
  • LinkedIn Learning – The popular professional networking site offers an entire month’s worth of free access to thousands of online courses

Kids

Technology can be an incredible educational tool for kids. Here are a few free trials from well-rated platforms to keep kids entertained while they learn.

  • ABCmouse.com – An award winning, early learning academy for kids ages 2-8. Try it out for free for 30 days.
  • Reading IQ – The service offers thousands of digital books for kids ages 2-12. Try it for free for 30 days. 
  • Reading Eggs – This literacy service helps kids learn to read through focused games and activities. Try it for free for 30 days.
  • Noggin – Noggin is a learning tool for preschoolers with games, educational episodes, books, and activities featuring characters kids recognize. Get a 30-day free trial before committing.

Technology

VPNs

If you’re looking to increase your online privacy and safety, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can be helpful, especially if you use public wifi frequently. 

  • Surfshark VPN – Offers a free, 7-day trial for those with Android, iOS, and macOS devices.
  • ProtonVPN – This VPN service offers a free plan with medium speed and limited connectivity options. You’d have to upgrade for a better quality connection, but the free version is a good way to give the service a try.
  • Similar to ProtonVPN, Hotspot Shield also offers a free plan with basic features.
  • ZenMate – Try this VPN provider free for 7-days once you create an account.

Professional & Creative Programs

Try these platforms to take your design game to the next level. 

  • Adobe Creative Cloud – Creative Cloud includes over 20 creative apps for photography, video, design, web, UX, and social media. The package includes programs like Photoshop, Acrobat DC, and Premiere Pro. Try it out free for 7 days. 
  • Canva Pro – Try the premium version of this design platform free for 30 days. 
  • Microsoft Office 365 — Want access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, and more? Check out the free 30-day trial. 
  • PicMonkey – The 30-day free trial gives you ad-free access to ShutterStock’s photo-editing and design tool. 
  • Prezi – Make an eye-catching, dynamic presentation with this 14-day free trial.

Other

Ancestry.com – Spend a couple of weeks digging into your family history with a two-week free trial at Ancestry.com.

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Smart Shopping Expert

Trae Bodge is an accomplished lifestyle journalist, TV presenter, spokesperson, and educator, specializing in beauty, tech, apps, toys, gift guides, and smart shopping. She has appeared as an expert on dozens of TV shows and radio networks, including Today, Rachael Ray Show, Inside Edition, CNN, Reuters, CNBC.com, Sirius Radio, and numerous FOX, ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates. Trae has been featured as a beauty tastemaker in Elle, Redbook, InStyle, and Essence, and her work has appeared on Yahoo Finance, Marketwatch, USNews.com, Credit.com, CBSNews.com, Time.com.

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