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How to Know If Subscription Services Are Worth Paying For

From meals to video game loot to makeup, there’s no shortage of things you can receive in the mail on the regular. Here are some ways you can figure out if they’re worth your money.
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With all the things you can get your fix of via mail, it’s super-tempting to excessively subscribe to a bunch of different services. While monthly subscriptions can be a fun and handy way for you to treat yourself, before you eagerly click the “Sign up” button, you’ll want to make sure the cost for the subscription can be justified. Here are some ways you figure out if that subscription service is worth your money.

Figure out how much you’ve spent this year

A great way to figure out if the cost of the subscription can be justified is to crunch some numbers. You can start with looking at how much you’ve spent on the item in question, such as meals delivered to your home or video game loot. Looking at your spending from the past year is a decent time frame to get a sense of your spending patterns.

If you have an account with us, you can take a gander with the Reports feature, which at a glance shows how much you’ve spent in different categories each month. If you want to break it down even further, you can look at your transaction history to see how much you’ve spent at a particular online store.

For instance, if you’re considering signing up for a meal subscription, and you normally spend $100 a week on groceries, would a meal plan that includes three meals for two each week at roughly $60 be worth it? Don’t forget to look at additional costs, such as taxes and shipping and handling.

Figure out which subscription plan is the best fit

If you’re leaning toward springing for the subscription, you’ll want to see which type of plan best fits your needs and budget. It’s helpful to look at your spending and preferences. If you’re looking for grooming products, are you someone who wouldn’t mind paying a little more for top-quality stuff, or would the least expensive option do the trick? Oftentimes it’s all too easy to get something fancier—and costlier—than necessary, so spend some time deliberating before making a decision. You also might want to check how easy it is to switch plans or cancel altogether if you discover the subscription plan isn’t a good fit.

Hunt around for less expensive alternatives

It couldn’t hurt to hunt around for other options before signing up. Beyond the larger, better-known subscription services, you may be able to find companies offering a similar product. Plus, as monthly subscription services are usually for variable expenses such as food, household items, and entertainment, there’s definitely space for making tweaks to lower the cost of how much you spend on a certain item in a given month. For instance, if you’ve spent more than you would like to on video games, you might work toward curbing your spending.

Ask yourself how much value it has in your life

How much value and use will, say, having razors shipped straight to your home have? Or can you justify that liquid-diet subscription? It’s also helpful to look at all factors involved. If you’re looking at just the price, it might not seem worth it. But there might be other reasons why you might spring for it, such as the convenience factor. For instance, paying for a meal subscription might steer you away from eating out, which could potentially be more expensive. You might also be better off putting the money you would’ve spent toward a goal.

Ask your friends for a review

On the fence? If you have pals who already subscribe, ask them how they like it. You can also check out customer reviews online. This will help you gain insights and weigh the pros and cons. You probably don’t want to spend too much time poking around the internet for reviews, as it could just as easily cripple you from deciding (we’ve all been there). Try to focus on the factors that matter the most to you, whether those are quality, convenience, or the thrill of discovery.

Instead of getting excited and pre-emptively signing up for services, taking these steps will ensure you’ll be able to gauge whether they are worth the expense. Doing some research ahead of time, looking at the right info, and asking the right questions can help you make the best choice for you.

Disclaimer: Hey! Welcome to our disclaimer. Here’s what you need to know to safely consume this blog post: Any outbound links in this post will take you away from Simple.com, to external sites in the wilds of the internet; neither Simple nor our partner banks, The Bancorp Bank and BBVA Compass, endorse any linked-to websites; and we didn’t pay/barter with/bribe anyone to appear in this post. And as much as we wish we could control the cost of things, any prices in this article are just estimates. Actual prices are up to retailers, manufacturers, and other people who’ve been granted magical powers over digits and dollar signs.