Subscription Boxes Galore!

Here’s a funny story. At least 10 or so years ago now, a friend of mine signed up for a subscription to a website (not porn). It cost $5 a month so it wasn’t a big cost, but he hooked it up to his PayPal account.

Why is this important? Because a PayPal account is not like a Credit Card. If you subscribe to a recurring service using a credit card and you forget that you signed up for that service, eventually the credit card will expire and the service will no longer be able charge you.

PayPal, though, it doesn’t expire. So for 10 years he was being charged $5 a month. That’s $600 he paid without even being aware he was being charged it!

Now this is an example of extreme negligence on the part of my friend. But it’s so common!

How many subscription services do you belong to?

I belong to a couple – this doesn’t include Netflix/Hulu.

  • Ipsy – $10 a month
  • Audible – $14.95 a month (though I’m test driving Scribd right now which is only $8.95 a month)
  • Patreon – $5 a month

In the past I’ve also belonged to a book of the month club, a monthly subscription service that sent me stickers for my planner (I’m an adult, I swear), and a subscription to a Pet Box that sent me treats for my dogs each month.

These types of monthly subscriptions are fun because they’re kind of like playing the lottery (and you know I love to gamble). You know they’re going to show up at your house but you’re not sure what’s going to be in them. It’s like opening a present every. single. month.

My Ipsy subscription just got here this week and I squealed like a teenage girl at an Nsync concert. (Get your Backstreet garbage off my blog!)

But I’m spending $30 a month on these little subscriptions and that adds up to $360 a year. That’s a round-trip flight to Vegas right there. Plus a little scratch for the tables.

I totally get the appeal of these subscription boxes, trust me. And I am just as guilty of the “it’s only $10 mentality” as anyone.

It seems like such a small amount of money. Anything under $20 really seems like a negligible amount but it’s when you tally them up that you realize the staying power of that $20.

But it can definitely add up over time. That’s the beauty of socking away these kinds of small amounts of money. If you just make it a habit, it adds up fast!

My parents recently moved and when they did my mom had to have my husband haul one of those 5 gallon water jugs out of their closet.

The jug was heavy as shit because it was FULL of money. Mostly coins, but there was some $1’s, $5’s or $20’s shoved in there as well. When they took it to the coin counter it turned out there was a THOUSAND DOLLARS IN THERE!

A thousand dollars worth of change. Can you imagine? Wouldn’t you love to have that much money?

Here’s what I’m asking you to think about – when was the last time you audited all those subscription services you belong to? If you’ve created a budget you hopefully understand where all your recurring bills are, but some of these can be such a trickle each month that you don’t even realize they’re happening.

If you find you have one $10 a month subscription you are willing to cancel I propose you instead swap it. Cancel the subscription but set up a recurring savings deposit for the same amount each month. Put it into a SmartyPig for a rainy day. Add it to your Roth IRA contribution. Stick it in a jar on top of the fridge.

See how fast it adds up. I bet you’ll be surprised!


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