The subscription craze is sweeping America, rising to a 2.6 billion-dollar industry in 2016.1 There are so many new subscription services that claim to help save you money and time, but which ones are actually worth it? Keep in mind that you’re only saving money if you actually planned on purchasing these products to begin with.
While you can always reward yourself with a new purchase, subscription services typically bill every month, so if the products aren’t a necessity or don’t fit in your budget, a once-per-month charge probably isn’t right for you.
Some subscription services don’t allow you to select your products, and you may not like or need all of the items that you paid for; we’ll be focusing on the services that allow customization. The local store prices of each of these items or their equivalents will vary widely, so you should still consider comparison shopping before signing up for any subscription. Here are four subscription services that can help you save money.
1. Imperfect Produce
With Imperfect Produce, you choose a discounted box of all fruit, all vegetables, organic produce or a mix of fruits and vegetables. Retail stores reject less-than-perfect produce for a variety of reasons, from size variations to minor cosmetic flaws. You pay by the pound and the volume per delivery can vary slightly, so prices may vary a little from week to week. With the option to select your delivery frequency, add or remove items and skip weeks, this service is very customizable for your personal schedule.
Depending on the options you choose, the box may end up saving you money. For example, an 11 — 13 lb. medium mixed fruit and vegetable box currently costs between $14 — $16 with $4.99 delivery. Let’s say a $15 box is 12 lbs. plus delivery, so this would cost $1.67 per pound. Delivered to your door, this might give your local grocer a run for the money.
2. Dollar Shave Club
Many shaving subscriptions exist today, but Dollar Shave Club is still one of the least expensive for cartridge shavers. A $5 starter kit includes a handle, four cartridges and the option to add additional products to your plan. After your first month, a fresh set of four unisex cartridge razors delivered to your door will set you back $4 — $9 depending on the blades you choose with free delivery. While you may not shave every day, this service allows you to skip, cancel or customize your deliveries.
Depending on your shaving frequency, a blade might last longer than the recommended week, so your personal savings will also vary here. If you do shave regularly, these often cost less than comparable retail razors depending on your local store, so free delivery and convenience might just be the icing on the cake for you to subscribe.
3. Amazon Subscribe and Save
Amazon offers a wide variety of subscription-based products, from pet food and supplies to diapers, cleaning goods and groceries. This service might require you to do a little more homework since the prices will vary depending on your selected products, quantity and frequency of orders.
Amazon provides a 5% discount for subscriptions of up to four products delivered per month, and a 15% discount on five or more products delivered per month. With free shipping, you may be able to spend less than purchasing these items at your local store. No commitment is required and you can cancel your deliveries any time.
4. Family Entertainment Services
If you and a friend both already subscribe to Spotify, Netflix or similar entertainment services, consider sharing a family plan to rack up the savings. Depending on the service, you may be able to have more than two concurrent accounts to help you save even more.
If you choose to go with one of these subscriptions, do a quick search for promo codes and sales to try to save even more. Remember to read the terms and fine print before subscribing, and cancel services that are no longer useful or cost-effective to you.
Prices are current as of this blog’s posting.
1Chen, T., Fenyo, K., Yang, S., & Zhang, J. (February, 2018). Thinking inside the subscription box: New research on e-commerce consumers. Retrieved April 3, 2019, from https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/high-tech/our-insights/thinking-inside-the-subscription-box-new-research-on-ecommerce-consumers#0