I learned about thrifty subscription services the hard way. After my brother got 12 CDs for a penny from Columbia House Records, he realized he could sign up again using my name. A box came in the mail for me.
But, of course, it was not for me.
Ben snatched the stack of CDs like proverbial candy from a baby sister. My one and only shot at the penny loot was plundered, which very well could explain why two decades later I’m intrigued by every “of the month” club that comes along.
Subscriptions have gone way beyond the record clubs or Harry and David fruit and cheese boxes of years past. You can now get razors, in-season shirts, vitamin regimens, and bacon via snail mail for a flat rate. Brands like beauty delivery service Birchbox seem to be having a moment. Columbia House is even still around, now peddling DVDs at basement prices (though not for a penny, that ship has sailed).
So if you find yourself shopping for one item at a time, and gasping that infomercial truism: “There MUST be a better way!” Crack open the internet, sign up for any of these at-your-service subscriptions and check the mail. Your goodies await.
1. Razors: Dollar Shave Club.
The Don Draper of subscription services, this for-guys-by-guys buy explains “your handsome-ass grandfather only had one blade, and polio.” Signing up for The Humble Twin gets five two-blade razor cartridges a month, for one dollar. The Executive ($9) brings in three six-blade cartridges. dollarshaveclub.com
2. Sunglasses: Stunner of the Month.
Maybe you’re Corey Hart, or maybe you lose everything that’s not nailed down. If you need shades in bulk, nine dollars a month gets you a new pair just as often. That’s a lot of shade for a little green. Plus they offer men’s, women’s and unisex styles. stunnerofthemonth.com
3. Shirts: Elizabeth & Clarke
This subscription supplies you with basic shirts every season. Current styles include the Bennet, a racer-back tank with zipper detail, the Taylor, a flouncy button-down, and the Liz Lemon, a classic casual tee. Get all three for $60, two for $50 or a single shirt per season for $30. elizabethandclarke.com
4. Bacon: Bacon of the Month Club
For the real breakfast enthusiast, order up two pounds of gourmet bacon for just under $50 a month. Subscriptions range from three-month to 12-month commitments, and could make a great gift for that friend whose health is really of no concern. amazingclubs.com/bacon.html
5. Men’s Underwear: Mack Weldon.
Ok, so it’s not news that men hate shopping for basics. Consider his boxers and tees taken care of when this brand new label of high-end underthings launches auto-replenishment in January. mackweldon.com
6. Stationery and Gifts: Lost Crates.
The Myers-Briggs of subscription services, Lost Crates takes you through a visual quiz to choose which gifty assortment you’d like best. The resulting themes include things like stationery, high-design odds and ends, gourmet or green necessities, and tchotchkes galore. Subscriptions range from $25 to $48 per month and can feature guest curators, like style blogger Man Repeller. lostcrates.com
7. Vitamins and Supplements: BuluBox.
If you’ve jumped on every fad diet and health craze since the Nordic Track, you stand to save buckets of bills with BuluBox. For $10 a month, you get samples of leading vitamin and health supplements to try before committing to (and investing in) a whole bottle. bulubox.com/pages/bulubox
8. Art: Artist of the Month Club.
You had to fire your art consultant when the recession hit, we get it. But that space above your sofa’s been looking a little blasé. For $200 a month, you get an AMC-exclusive piece of art just as often. The artists remain anonymous until you get your signed (sealed and delivered) pieces. Just think, if one of the artist hits it big, you could be back at Sotheby’s in no time. artistofthemonthclub.com
Originally published on What’s Your System, a blog about people’s tips and tricks for getting stuff done.