Lifestyle Tech

3 Types of Monthly Subscriptions Worth Trying

You’ve been thinking of getting into the monthly subscription game, but knowing where you should start is hard. In just a few years, the number of subscription options has exploded. Subscription company websites drew about 37 million visitors as of April 2017, according to one report. Subscription box shoppers in the country reached 5.7 million last year, and they tended to be college-educated females with a high household income. You don’t have to fit into any of those demographics to take advantage of the subscription craze, though. Here are three monthly subscriptions worth researching further.

Beauty Boxes

It seems like beauty boxes have been around for a long time, but they really got their start in 2010 when Birchbox entered the scene. The founders met at business school, naturally, and decided that the online beauty market was being underserved. Birchbox launched at a $10 per month price point. A year or so later, Glossybox came along and included some full-size products in their monthly shipment, which meant they cost more than the sample-happy Birchbox. Nowadays, you’ll find more beauty boxes on the scene than shades of red lipstick at the drugstore.

One beauty box sends you customized shades of nail polish, and another one sends you organic products. One sends you only stuff you can use for your hair. While the beauty box began with a start-up mentality, in time even big names such as Sephora and Target have gotten into the game. Some of the boxes require you to pay for a few months or a year up-front, while others will charge you monthly. Take a look at some of the options and grab subscriptions to the two or three boxes that seem tailor-made for your lifestyle.

Food and Drink Boxes

You can’t go anywhere on the Internet without running into an ad for Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, or another meal delivery service. It cuts out a lot of the work of meal prep, which is perfect for Americans who are both really busy and a little bit lazy. Why go to the grocery store when you can wait for a box of food to be delivered to your front door? Roughly 1 in 5 Americans say they’ve tried a meal kit service.

However, that doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily sticking with the boxes. $60 for three meals can add up fast, and it’s common for people to get a promotional offer for a week of free or discounted food, then cancel. Another less costly option comes via monthly coffee delivery services. The best coffee subscription plans will send you a free sample of their product. If you like it, you can buy more. If not, you haven’t lost any money. The plans are usually customizable, which means you only have to order as much or as little coffee as you need.

Appliance Subscription Services

This one is a little more out there, but there’s a subscription service that allows you to rent washing machines on a per-month basis. The plan charges you based on use, with each customer receiving a monthly quota of washes. If they don’t meet that quota, then they get a partial refund for the loads they didn’t wash.

At least for now, it’s only available in Amsterdam, but if it works there, we might see someone try to replicate it here in the US. The Amsterdam operation includes a “smart plug” that tracks the machine’s usage. With any luck, the American version will also include an option for local appliance repair in Portland, or appliance repair in Dallas, or appliance repair in the renter’s city of choice.

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