Have you ever gone to a store that sells tiny, sample-sized items, and—without looking at what you’re purchasing—thrown a bunch into your shopping cart, gladly forking over $10 or $20?
No, you haven’t, because that is insane. But you’re doing it every month with your subscription boxes.
If you are still subscribed to any subscription box, from sample boxes like Birchbox and ipsy, to full-size boxes like Boxy Charm, to seasonal boxes like the Zoe Report…you need to cancel them right now.
But I like them, you say. It’s my monthly treat, you insist. I’ve been really good with money, I’ve stopped spending mindlessly, and I hardly have any deliveries coming to my house anymore—I deserve this one thing.
If you are actively trying to save money, are in ANY kind of debt, or have ever struggled with impulse shopping, you are not permitted to buy anything past the bare necessities while you get your finances in check. And subscription boxes are burning a big hole in that budget.
Here are 3 reasons why subscription boxes are destroying your finances.
1. They force you to spend money passively.
Most subscription boxes operate on, well, a subscription! And most subscriptions are charged automatically to your bank or credit card. When you’re in the throes of a financial meltdown, do you really need a vampire that ISN’T a necessity sucking money from your account every month?
The problem here is that, when you aren’t mindful of your spending—and most impulse shoppers are NOT—your financial woes are only exacerbated by auto-renewed, auto-deducted expenses like subscription boxes.
But it’s only $10/month! (Or only $20 in the case of Boxy Charm, or only $100 quarterly in the case of the Zoe Report, etc. etc.)
While you may view $10 or $20 as a “small sum”–and it is not–that adds up to $120 or $240 per year. Multiply that by your number of subscriptions, then the years you have been subscribed, and suddenly you see a lot of your hard-earned money has gone down the tube.
2. They are filled with junk.
Okay, fine—my subscription boxes are passively draining money from my account. But I love the treat, and the surprise!
To quit shopping is to reframe your personal responses to stimuli, like shiny new items in attractive packaging that magically arrive at your doorstep every month. A very easy way to do this is by cancelling your subscription boxes.
Why? Even if you like new makeup or new clothes (that you didn’t even select) every month, you have to admit to yourself—or, at the very least, convince yourself—that they are filled with junk.
Take sample boxes like Birchbox and ipsy, for example. Aside from the occasional makeup brush or hair tool, the items in those boxes are teeny tiny. In terms of skincare, you can’t even see results with a tiny sample. And because you are accumulating these samples at a ridiculous pace every month, you receive more product than you can even consume. It’s ridiculously wasteful.
And most of it is junk.
3. They actively encourage more spending.
I hate to break it to you, but subscription boxes don’t exist to give you a “cheap” treat every month. They exist to lock you in “love” with items, so you go back and purchase more—full size or otherwise. And that is an issue when you are trying to control your shopping.
In fact, most companies pay to get their items included in a subscription box. Subscription boxes are marketing, plain and simple!
But I actually don’t buy more of the items they send me, you say, proudly. Well, that’s great! But whether you realize it or not, they are locking you into products and habits that are detrimental to your finances.
How? When you are introduced to a new type of product—say, a sample skin serum—and you just love the way it feels on your skin, but decide the full-size is too expensive, do you stop buying serums altogether?
The answer is NO! This is because when you have spending issues, you are looking for your next fix constantly. How better to justify your next “haul,” then to shop for “deals” on the latest skin serum—a sample of which you just received in a subscription box, and now have to have more of?
Whether you realize it or not, subscription boxes feed into your impulsive shopping habits, and you should cancel them for that reason alone.
The truth is, if you are fortunate enough to be reading this, have a roof over your head, and food in the fridge, you have everything you need. Do you really need more junk, regularly? And if you are struggling with your finances, can you really afford it?
Take the doll-house-sized lotions and eyeshadows, and kiss them goodbye—you do not need them. Save your money now, for the three reasons above. You’ll thank yourself later.