Over the last few years I've become a fan of subscription shopping services. Here's why.
When I leave the house, I prefer?to go somewhere interesting. I want to go out to eat, or head out on a trip, whether it's a day trip to a local historical site, or a longer trip to a location across the country. There are times I have to leave my home for things like doctor's appointments and extracurricular activities for my son, but shopping is one of those things that I hate leaving the house for. I don't even like leaving the house to buy new clothes.
One of the things that has helped me with my shopping issues (like running out of makeup or certain staple food items) is the advent of subscription shopping services.
What are Subscription Shopping Services?
Subscription shopping services provide you with a way to decide on a set time schedule to receive certain items. I've used Amazon Prime for a few years, and enjoyed it, but it's really not exactly a subscription shopping service (although I do get access to awesome TV shows and movies, as well as the Kindle lending library). My favorite thing about?[easyazon_link asin=”B00CO54YQU” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”moneyseed-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Amazon Prime[/easyazon_link] is the two-day shipping, though. And that two-day shipping usually applies to my Amazon subscriptions.
The type of service I'm talking about is more about buying specific items on a schedule. I don't want to go out and buy foundation every two months when I run low, so I set up a subscription using Amazon. I've done this for other makeup items, as well as for my feminine hygiene products. You can also use Amazon's subscription service for certain non-perishable food items. We keep our pantry stocked with essentials, thanks to the service.
When we lived in Utah, we used a subscription shopping service for milk delivery and fresh produce. Each week, we received a box of in-season fresh produce, as well as our milk ration. These subscription services meant that we knew we would always have what we needed delivered to the door. We also had the option of adding extra items to our order if we needed to. I'm bummed that we haven't been able to find someone who delivers to our third-floor apartment in our new area.
Subscription shopping services offer a way for you to ensure that you always have what you need on hand, without needing to run to the store for something. There are even specialty subscription services that can provide you with reasonably priced items on a regular basis. Plum Deluxe offers its “tea of the month” subscription, in which you receive a special blend of tea each month. You can even get into monthly clothing subscriptions, where you rent clothing each month. Sites like Gwynnie Bee and The Mr. Collection offer you the ability to rent clothing for the month (although you have to send the clothing back, unless you decide to pay to buy it). Blue Apron will send you ingredients and recipes to make meals each week, reducing your need for meal planning and grocery shopping trips. Have a look at my Blue Apron review to see why I love them.
Subscription shopping services are convenient, and easy to manage. They can also be reasonably priced. In many cases, you can get a good deal because the services want the regular cash flow. As a freelancer, I understand the allure of regular cash flow. If you are willing to subscribe, and the payment comes out of your bank account, or is paid by your credit card, regularly, you might find that your subscription shopping costs you less in the long run, especially if your subscription is run through a service like Amazon. Run the numbers, and consider what you spend in terms of gas from driving around, as well as what your time is worth.
The main downside to some subscription shopping services is that you don't always get to choose what you want. Our weekly produce box was filled with whatever was to hand and in season on the farm. Plum Deluxe and Blue Apron send you what they've made, and what's convenient. You can't pick. These types of subscription services are more about sending products out to wide swaths of people, and less about individuality (which is also one of the reasons that these types of services can be so cost effective).
In the end, though, I find subscription shopping services very useful and cost efficient in the long run. I have more time to do what really matters to me, and I almost never have to worry about making an emergency run to the store for items I regularly use.
Do you use subscription shopping services? Which items do you subscribe to? Does it save you money and time?