Popular subscriptions sound fun and useful on the surface, but they also have their drawbacks.
On one hand, it seems nice to set up a recurring subscription for a product or service you enjoy. There are so many subscription box programs and sites whether it’s for clothing, wine, coffee, shoes, or even groceries.
I initially tried some subscription programs thinking it would offer convenience and save me money, but I realized it actually did the opposite. Here are a few types of subscription services you should consider cancelling and why.
Makeup Subscription Boxes
I was tempted when I heard that Target had a monthly beauty subscription box. The price was even pretty reasonable. I ultimately decided against it because I know I don’t do much shopping for makeup and beauty products.
I may get something once every few months or ask for a few items around Christmas to stock up each year. When considering a makeup beauty box, you have to ask yourself how often you buy beauty products and if you’re happy with the brands you already use.
Getting a makeup subscription box every month may seem like a fun way to learn about new products, but it can prompt you to spend more money. Plus, some subscriptions can be a little pricey and add up over time.
If you want to learn more about new beauty products and brands, follow a few beauty bloggers on YouTube and watch their tutorials for recommendations. You can also see if the brand offers samples or coupons to customers.
Wine lovers may perk up at the idea of getting a different bottle of wine shipped to their house each month. That is until you realize that subscriptions like California Wine Club cost anywhere from $39.95 to $235 per month for 2 bottles of wine.
What if you spend all that money and find out you don’t like the wine that was sent to you?
You can get a better deal on wine by buying it in bulk at stores like Costco. You can even save money with boxed wines or go to free local wine-tasting events in the area to sample different brands.
I used to side hustle as a product demonstrator and poured samples of wine and mixed drinks in grocery stores for customers. It’s a totally free way to test out different flavors and avoid a costly monthly subscription.
Meal Subscription Boxes
I tried meal subscriptions like Blue Apron before, and while I liked the food, the cons outweighed the pros for me. This service is geared toward busy people who don’t have time to plan out their meals and shop for healthy foods for their family to eat.
You receive a box with fresh ingredients and recipe cards, but you still need to do the cooking. Many of the meals I tested were somewhat complicated to make, and it was time-consuming. I imagine that if someone doesn’t have time to grocery shop, they probably don’t have time to cook elaborate meals either.
Instead of using meal subscription boxes, sit down once a month and plan out your meals in a planner. Order groceries online, use Instacart, or try Walmart’s free grocery pick up service.
Cook in batches so you can have leftovers and won’t be in the kitchen every night. It’s much cheaper, saves time, and you still get the same benefits.
Cutting the cord is such an easy way to save money, but you can still overspend if you have too many T.V. subscriptions. There was a time when we had Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime TV. We knew we weren’t even using all of them much so we decided to drop everything except Netflix.
The great thing about TV streaming services is that you can cancel and sign up whenever you want. I watch a particular show on Hulu, but a new season only airs for a few weeks once per year. When my show is over, I cancel Hulu.
Clothing/Shoe Subscription Programs
These programs are supposed to offer convenience. While they do, it comes at a price. Most of the clothes and shoes offered with the monthly fee could probably be purchased in stores for less money.
Most of the time they are no name brands. Plus, getting a monthly box pressures you to consistently buy more things and fill up your home. Think about it. Do you really need a new pair of shoes each month?
Other Reasons Why You May Want to Cancel
As you sit down and create a list of subscription services you should cancel, consider these questions to help you make your decision
Do You Really Want Another Spending Category?
Subscription programs are set to provide a win-win scenario. On one end, you get a specific product or service every month. On the other end, the company get a consistent monthly payment from you.
This can also become a major drawback if you’re not really interested in adding an extra spending category to your budget.
Is this program really helping me save money?
I learned the hard way that most subscription box programs don’t really help you save money. I’ve tried a few meal prep programs on a trial basis and found that I could spend much less by shopping for my own groceries.
Do I Even Realize What I’m Actually Paying For?
Subscription programs make your spending in certain areas seem out of sight, out of mind. The few subscriptions I do have like my gym membership and phone bill seem like such normal aspects of my budget.
It’s hard to question expenses like these or find alternatives to spend less because they feel so normalized. This is why many people end up paying for a gym membership they never use.
Can’t I Just Shop Online Instead?
Shopping online can be super convenient and affordable without even using a subscription program. You can set up Google alerts to help notify you when certain items are available so you save time.
You can also take advantage of cheap or free shipping options. This is why it doesn’t make much sense to subscribe to a site that will ship you razors for a flat fee each month. You can probably find what you’re looking for online for less and not have to deal with the commitment of paying a fee each month.
What are your thoughts on subscription programs? Do you think they’re helpful or cause more trouble than they’re worth?