Are They Worth it? Monthly Subscriptions


A hand pointing to a music note on a mobile phone

These subscriptions — if used responsibly — can help shave your budget in other areas.

Subscription culture is huge. There are more than 3,500 subscription boxes available for boatloads of items, from beauty products to clothing to healthy snacks, and more. On top of that, there are dozens of options for digital subscriptions to music, audio books, television, movies, and then some.

Most subscription services are not exactly good for your budget. In fact, many people recommend cancelling subscription services as a starter place for slimming down your budget. 

The costs associated with taking on multiple subscriptions can add up fast, and many of them offer new products you don’t really need, allowing you to curate all sorts of random line items into your monthly bank statement. I mean, does your dog really need three new toys every month? And do you really need a monthly box of new jewelry showing up on your doorstep?

How to ensure a subscription is slimming to your budget

When deciding whether to splurge on subscription services, take your budget into consideration. Choose items that you’re already buying or need and that will be cheaper than other options to fulfill that need.

To ensure a subscription service is worth the cost, pay attention to how the subscription goes when you first start using it. If you find yourself throwing your delivery into a corner of the room and forgetting about it, you might want to reconsider whether the subscription is worth your hard-earned cash.

From subscription box services to streaming services alike, here are several subscriptions that may help to slim your budget — if you use them the right way.

Netflix

If you’re looking to reduce the amount of money you spend going out, some kind of entertainment streaming subscription like Netflix or Hulu may be worth the cost. Imagine: Instead of going out with friends to a bar or going to a movie at the theater, host a movie night at your place and buy drinks at the grocery store. That will reduce the cost of spending quality time with your loved ones by a ton. 

If you have a movie rental habit, this will be cheaper than renting multiple movies throughout the month. You will be able to entertain yourself with hundreds of hours of television on the cheap.

Foregoing your cable and replacing it with a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video (if you are an Amazon Prime member), can also save you money on monthly expenses — as long as you aren’t paying for too many of them at once. 

Bonus savings tips: If you already have an Amazon Prime membership, you automatically have access to the company’s streaming service — meaning, you’ve already paid for it. T-Mobile customers can also receive Netflix credit as part of their cell phone contract. 

Ipsy

If you love makeup and trying new things, but spend too much money on full-size makeup that you never finish using, Ipsy is a great monthly subscription box. They send you sample-size  makeup products for $10 per month.

Ipsy is also a great beauty box idea for someone who is not that into makeup, but is trying to figure out which products they like best for daily wear. Instead of blowing money on full-size products you might not like, Ipsy allows you to try a bunch of different items for relatively cheap, helping you to figure out your ideal makeup routine.

Dollar Shave Club

Razors are one of the most marked-up items on the market. Buying the initial razor is cheap, but buying replacement cartridges can easily cost $20. As a result, many of us are paying out the nose or using the same rusted blade for far too long. A razor subscription to a place like Dollar Shave Club cuts out the middleman and sends you high-quality razors every month for a discount. 

Traditionally, the Dollar Shave Club’s cheapest plan was $1 per month for a new razor blade every week. These days their razor subscriptions range from $4 to $10 per month, depending on your preferences, but it still runs pretty cheap if it’s important to you to practice good razor hygiene. They also offer other skincare products, such as cleansers and deodorant.

Dinnerly

A meal plan kit is worth considering if you’re trying to fine-tune your grocery bill and eating habits. If you find yourself often buying ingredients at the grocery store that go bad in the fridge or getting bored of the dinner you made to last throughout the week, a meal kit subscription can be a great option. 

Assuming you actually utilize the meal kits you receive and make all the dinners, the subscription box should include just the right amount of ingredients for each meal. 

Dinnerly is one of the lower price-per-serving options out there, coming to about $4.50 per  person. Sure, it’s not as cheap as a simple dinner of spaghetti and sauce — but it’s much cheaper than eating out. It’s possibly even less than what you would pay to purchase the ingredients on your own, since you should receive preportioned ingredients in the box. 

Receiving a ready-to-go recipe that’s prime for cooking will prevent you from buying an expensive jar of a special ingredient that you will never use again. And reducing food waste will lower your grocery bill as a whole. 

Second Nature Air Filter Delivery

Second Nature is a service that sends you a filter for your air conditioner at the frequency you request. If you’re the type of person who always forgets to change the air filter, you’re likely missing out on energy cost savings from using a dirty filter. 

Delivery through Second Nature is free! That means you’re only paying for the filter, which will likely cost the same (or cheaper) as it would at the hardware, home improvement, or grocery store. The filters start at $12 each. 

To ensure this subscription will save you money, comparison shop the filters. But if you don’t ever remember to replace filters, then this delivery will likely save you money in the long run — even if the filters cost a couple bucks more upfront.

Misfits and Imperfect Foods

Grocery stores will typically reject any produce that is “too ugly” to put on their shelves, which is why fruit or vegetables that are a little misshapen or blemished are typically thrown away. This can even include fruit and vegetables that are too big or too small. Consumers don’t want the ugly produce. But here’s the thing: This produce is totally fine! It just looks weird. 

Misfits is one food subscription service that saves this ugly produce and delivers it to customers for a discount, allowing you to save money on fresh fruits and vegetables at a delivery frequency of your choice. Soon they will be rolling out the ability to choose what comes in your box to make sure you don’t waste a single item.

Imperfect Foods is another company that offers this service — they also offer many other foods that would typically end up in the landfill, from oversupplies of seeds and grains to imperfectly-sized seafood.

With these food delivery services, you also won’t have to waste quite as much time and money driving around and shopping.

Subscribe and save away

These subscriptions will hopefully help you save time and money so you can squirrel away more of your pennies for your bills or a rainy day.

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