Are Subscription Boxes Worth It?

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Unless you have been living under a rock for the past five years, you may have noticed an increase in subscription services. Gone are the far-and-few-between services like Schwans and *actual* Netflix DVDs to your door. Today, there is a subscription box for literally everything.

I first noticed them with pre-prepped meal kits. Then there were the makeup samples. Soon followed by athleisure, cleaning supplies, dietary supplements, dog toys, razors, neckties, etc. And those are the boxes that I could think of! There are literally hundreds to choose from.  

While we used to say, “There’s an app for that,” I think the better term is now “There’s a subscription box for that.” 

With SO many items available for auto-shipping to my door, my curiosity got the better of me, and last fall, I decided to give this subscription box craze a try. Click the links below to see my individual reviews on each of the services that I tried. (I will keep this post updated if I try anymore — promise!)

My Reviews

  • Nadine West — Women’s clothing subscription (my favorite one I tried!)
  • BullyMake Box — Indestructible dog toys and yummy treats
  • Mystery Tackle Box — Surprise fishing tackle (and tips)
  • HelloFresh — One of the first meal delivery kits (you’re probably familiar with this one!)

My Overall Takeaway

They are FUN. I find subscription boxes amusing. If you like surprises, you might like subscription boxes. Some I tried, like Nadine West and Mystery Tackle Box, were complete surprises! You won’t know what’s coming until you open the box. Sometimes, I forgot a shipment was coming and it was a pleasant surprise to come home to a gift to me from me! Plus, you get to try new products, and it’s a win-win when you find a practical one that you really enjoy and use regularly.

They spice up regular routines. The main reason I tried HelloFresh was to try my hand at cooking differently than I usually do. I love to cook, but my style is super country/midwestern. I wanted to experiment with different tastes and techniques, and HelloFresh helped do just that! Did I know what couscous was before I tried HelloFresh? NOPE. But I do now! You might even find me creating an apricot glaze every now and then. 😉

Pants not required. Probably the best thing about subscription boxes is that you can shop for it online and then it comes straight to your door. It’s a fun way to try new things without having to make a trip to the store and stand in the aisle debating whether to spend money on that AND return to the store later if you don’t like it. Especially if we are talking about clothing subscription boxes, trying items on in your own home is WAY better than squeezing into a dressing room at the department store.

Are subscription boxes worth it for my budget? My opinion: no. Okay, this is the big question. Can subscription boxes be better for my budget? I do not think so. However, it depends on your individual budget. Personally, I found meal planning and grocery prep to be leaps and bounds less expensive than doing HelloFresh once a month, let alone for all meals. I also love my dog, but I just can’t justify spending $40 on dog toys and treats per month. That costs almost as much as his 50-pound bag of food. 

For others, a subscription box may be just what they need. For example, HelloFresh may be a great option if you struggle with cooking and meal planning, as it may prove to be more cost-effective than eating out most days of the week. Or, if you love makeup, it might be more economical to sign up for the Ipsy subscription box and receive samples of beauty products versus buying full-sized products that may not work for you. 

All in all, it boils down to your individual budget and values. You will put your dollars towards items and activities that are important to you.

Whether that importance is based on necessity, convenience, or just plain fun, your budget will determine if subscription boxes are ultimately worth it for you.

What do you think?

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DISCLAIMER: Although I do have experience in the personal finance field as an Accredited Financial Counselor® professional, I am not a registered financial planner, advisor, or investment agent. Budget Blueprints and any content or resources made available on this site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. I am sharing my personal experience which may not be applicable to others. I am not liable for any losses or damages related to actions or results related to the content in this website. If you need specific financial advice, consult with a licensed professional financial advisor/planner who specializes in your specific need area.