Subscription boxes to save you money
Experts say subscription boxes are taking off in popularity. Many of these services promise a monthly surprise tailored to your retail preferences, but you may be surprised to learn that in some cases they can be money savers.
For Nick Porfilio of Saveful.com, saving money is a way of life. He loves the convenience of subscription boxes for food, tailored shirts, and razors.
“Subscription boxes help me save a lot of money every month,” he said.
Nick estimates that he saves over $100 dollars each month by getting the regular deliveries right to his door. His trick for saving with these types of subscriptions?
“I only subscribe to the things that I know I use regularly,” he explained.
And that is something experts say is key when it comes to using subscription boxes as moneysavers.
“It would have to be an item that you’re ordinarily buying every month if you’re going to get a subscription for, so pay attention to that. the savings tend to be greater if it is a type of product for which you would ordinarily get a premium brand,” said Jon Lal of BeFrugal.com
Liz Cadman who runs Mysubscriptionaddiction.com, a site that reviews box offers, said there are more than a thousand options in the U.S. currently with prices ranging from as little as 5 dollars monthly, to $50 or more.
“The best way to determine if it’s a fit is look at reviews online to see what was in the past boxes. go back three, four, five months, see if you’d be happy paying that price point for those items,” she said.
Cadman says beauty boxes often provide a high value with several boxes sending customers products that purchased individually would cost double what they pay monthly.
“Food subscription boxes are typically boxes where the value isn’t very high compared to the cost, so that’s something where the value to the consumer is more about trying out lots of different food samples, seeing which one’s right for you,” she explained.
Once you have settled on the subscriptions for you, experts suggest that you use coupons, look for cashback offers when you sign up, and if you are sure you are in for the long haul, sign up for a longer subscription up front.
“You’ll usually get a savings of 10 to 20 percent so you’re getting like one free box a year, approximately,” said Cadman.
However, Jon Lal of Befrugal.com says you want to avoid letting subscriptions become money wasters.
“The items that are less of a need, more of a want, more of an indulgence are the ones to watch out for,” he said.
That is something Nick, always considers.
“If you’re going to, to subscribe to 10 of them but they’re things that you don’t use regularly and you’re just going to waste them, you’re really not saving money,” he said.
Jon Lal of Befrugal.com says it’s a good idea to take stock of your subscriptions every few months. If you find you have unused items, you may not be getting the financial benefit of the box. Liz Cadman says you can always try going in on a box with a friend and splitting the items that come each month. On her site there is even a page where subscribers can swap unwanted items.