Friday, August 9, 2013

So, How Many of These Damn Boxes Do We Need, Anyway?

For those curious, I started off with a full assault on subscription boxes, ending up with TWENTY of them our first month, at a cost of about $150 (remember a lot of first boxes were discounted, some of them deeply so. Full price would have been closer to $300).

I looked at it as an investment. I had a $200 budget (I blew past this when you figure in the Drugstore deals and the Allure boxes), and the goal was to try as many different boxes as possible to get a feel for what was out there. Then, we would decide as a family which ones to keep. I don't actually consider myself to be a "subscription box maven" or addict or anything else - we just wanted to try some new stuff and get out of our comfort zones. For us, it is about not only the products, but the *experience*. Unboxing is a cool 15 minutes or so where we are all gathered as a family opening a surprise gift, and everyone is excited. We're interacting; we're talking; we discuss all sorts of things related (mom, what's "acai"?). It's wonderful.

For Month Two, we are down to TEN boxes, and a cost of $100. That's still pretty expensive for a monthly outlay, but it costs that much for our family of 5 to go see *one* movie, or have 1.5 dinners out. Now we get Ten Experiences, which sounds like a better deal to me (and I've made adjustments to cook more at home, etc, to make room in the budget for this).

If you're considering subscribing to any, here are my Top Recommendations to date, balancing quality and value:

Beauty - Birchbox, hands down. $10/mo flat. Their review points system ensures that you can get at least every 3rd box free, or earn money in their store for full size or limited edition boxes (many of which have at least 1 full size product in them, to boot.) The vast majority of their products have been complete successes with me, as well.

Natural, Eco Friendly - ConsciousBox, $20/mo. They also offer 100% Vegan and 100% Gluten Free boxes for those that need something like that. (I know how expensive GF can be, so the opportunity to try new things on the cheap deeply appeals).

Gamer or dude box - LootCrate, $20/mo. Value has been good, humor is high, communication with CS has been stellar. I got an email about taking 12% off a subscription, and when I emailed to sign up for this (can't do it on the site automatically, sadly) CS was wonderful. Even though the code would have expired by WEEKS, they let me know that I had a referral credit applied to the now-shipping August box, but would apply the coupon code to a six month sub *after* that. They were really nice, and these days that means a LOT.

DollarShaveClub - $6/mo nets you a handle, 4 blades, shipping to you, and our first one came with a sample of their shave butter. They have even cheaper twin blades I'm going to look into for my legs ($1!!) . This is much cheaper than I can do even at the drugstore on cheap blades. It's just kind of a no brainer to me at this point.

I'll let you know if recommendations change, whether it's due to price increase, CS problems, or a new sub being a better one.