How to Save Money on Subscription Boxes: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction: The Appeal and Cost of Subscription Boxes

Subscription boxes have swept across a wide array of lifestyles and interests, making them one of the most popular trends in recent years. These boxes deliver curated selections of products, ranging from makeup and grooming supplies to gourmet foods and fitness gear, right to your doorstep. The allure is undeniable. You get a monthly surprise of high-quality products, often tailored to your preferences, making the unboxing experience something to look forward to. It’s like having a little bit of Christmas every month.

However, the delight of unboxing can come at a steep price. The subscription box market is estimated to be worth billions, fueled by the convenience and novelty it offers. But let’s face it, these boxes can quickly add up. A $20 box here and a $50 box there might not seem like much individually, but collectively, they can lead to significant monthly expenditures. Many subscribers find themselves grappling with costs that exceed their expectations, particularly if they have multiple subscriptions.

This comprehensive guide aims to help you save money on subscription boxes while still enjoying the benefits they offer. We’ll cover practical advice and actionable tips that can make your subscription box experience more affordable. In a world where every penny counts, making informed decisions about what to keep, cancel, or pause can have a direct impact on your financial health.

From evaluating your current subscriptions to finding the best deals and promotions, this guide covers it all. Whether you’re new to subscription boxes or a seasoned subscriber looking to cut costs, you’ll find something of value here. So let’s dive in and start saving money on subscription boxes!

Evaluate Your Current Subscriptions: What to Keep, Cancel or Pause

The first and perhaps most crucial step in managing your subscription boxes is to evaluate what you already have. Taking stock of your current subscriptions can provide a clear picture of where your money is going and help you make informed decisions about which ones to keep, cancel, or pause.

List Your Subscriptions

Start by making a list of all the subscription boxes you’re currently paying for. Include details such as the monthly cost, frequency of delivery, and the overall satisfaction you derive from each box. You might find it helpful to use a table for this:

Subscription Box Monthly Cost Delivery Frequency Satisfaction (1-10)
Makeup Maven $25 Monthly 7
Fitness Fun $40 Monthly 9
Snack Surprise $20 Monthly 6

Determine Value

Once you have your list, evaluate the value you’re getting from each subscription. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you use all the products in the box?
  • Are you genuinely excited when the box arrives?
  • Does it introduce you to new and useful items?

Keep, Cancel or Pause

Based on your evaluation, categorize each subscription into one of three categories: keep, cancel, or pause. Keeping a box should only apply to those you find most valuable and enjoyable. Cancel subscriptions that you seldom use or don’t look forward to, and consider pausing those you’re unsure about. Pausing can be a good compromise, giving you a break without the commitment to cancel entirely.

Research and Compare: Finding the Best Deals and Promotions

Having trimmed down your list, the next step is to make sure you’re getting the best deals on the subscriptions you’ve decided to keep. Researching and comparing different offers can save you a significant amount of money over time.

Use Comparison Websites

Comparison websites are a great resource for finding the best deals on subscription boxes. Sites like Cratejoy and My Subscription Addiction offer detailed reviews, price comparisons, and current promotions. These platforms can be very informative and give you a clear sense of what’s out there.

Check for Promotions and Sales

Subscription boxes often run promotions and sales, especially during holidays and special occasions. Sign up for alerts or regularly check the websites of the subscription boxes you’re interested in to take advantage of these deals.

Evaluate Box Alternatives

Don’t be afraid to explore alternatives to your current subscriptions. Sometimes a different provider offers a similar service at a lower price or with better perks. For example, if you love snacks from around the world, several different companies offer this, and comparing them might reveal a more cost-effective option.

Utilize Coupons and Discount Codes: How to Find and Use Them

Coupons and discount codes can be a game-changer when it comes to slashing the cost of subscription boxes. These little gems can often be found with minimal effort, and they can lead to substantial savings.

Where to Find Discount Codes

When searching for discount codes, the internet is your best friend. Websites like RetailMeNot, Honey, and Coupon Cabin regularly update their databases with new codes. Additionally, following the subscription box brands on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter can sometimes yield special discounts.

Subscribe to Coupon Websites

Consider subscribing to coupon websites’ newsletters to receive the latest discount codes directly to your inbox. This way, you won’t have to put in extra effort searching for them, and you’ll be among the first to know about new deals.

Apply Codes Strategically

Always read the fine print when applying discount codes. Some codes may only apply to first-time subscriptions, while others may offer reduced rates on longer commitments. Use these codes strategically to maximize savings. For instance, combine a first-time subscriber discount with an additional coupon found online for even greater savings.

Sign Up for Email Newsletters: Get Notified About Special Offers

Email newsletters are a valuable resource for anyone looking to save money on subscription boxes. Companies often use these newsletters to disseminate information about new products, exclusive offers, and impending sales.

Immediate Discounts

Many subscription box services offer immediate discounts when you sign up for their newsletter. This is an easy way to score savings right off the bat. You can always unsubscribe later if you find the emails to be too frequent or irrelevant.

Exclusive Offers

Some of the best deals are reserved for subscribers of email newsletters. Companies like to reward their loyal followers, and exclusive offers through email are a common way of doing this. If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, this is an avenue you shouldn’t overlook.

Early Bird Alerts

Newsletters often provide early bird alerts for upcoming sales or limited edition boxes. Being among the first to know can give you a leg up in snagging these offers before they sell out, maximizing both value and savings.

Join Social Media Groups: Where to Find Shared Discounts and Tips

Social media can be an excellent resource for finding shared discounts and tips related to subscription boxes. Platforms like Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram are teeming with communities of subscription box enthusiasts who share their experiences and advice.

Community Tips

By joining relevant groups or following specific hashtags, you can gain valuable insights from fellow subscribers. These communities often share discount codes, reviews, and tips on how to make the most out of various subscription services. For example, a Facebook group dedicated to beauty subscription boxes might provide codes and tips that you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

User Reviews

User reviews are another benefit of participating in social media groups. Real feedback from actual subscribers can help you decide whether a particular box is worth the investment. Look out for posts detailing what people liked or disliked about their boxes, as this can guide you in making more informed choices.

Shared Discounts

Users often share discount codes or offer their referral links for mutual benefits. These shared discounts can add up to significant savings over time. Therefore, being active in these groups can provide a dual benefit of community and cost-savings.

Referral Programs: Save Money by Inviting Friends and Family

Many subscription boxes have referral programs that reward you for inviting friends and family to join. These programs can be an excellent way to save money while getting others in on the fun.

How Referral Programs Work

Most referral programs are straightforward. You receive a unique referral link that you can share with others. When someone signs up using your link, both you and the new subscriber typically get some form of discount or bonus.

Benefits of Referrals

Using referral programs can result in significant savings. For instance, some services offer free boxes or substantial discounts on your subscription for each new member you refer. This can add up quickly if you have a large network of friends or family members who are interested in similar products.

Best Practices

To maximize your referrals, use social media and email to share your unique link. Explain the benefits clearly to your contacts, so they understand what they’re gaining by using your referral. The more persuasive and transparent you are, the more likely others will be to take advantage of your link.

Annual vs. Monthly Subscriptions: When to Commit for Bigger Savings

One of the simplest ways to save on subscription boxes is to choose an annual subscription rather than a monthly one. While the upfront cost can be higher, the long-term savings are often worth it.

Cost Comparison

When you opt for an annual subscription, companies typically offer a discount compared to their monthly rates. Here’s a simple comparison:

Subscription Type Monthly Cost Annual Cost Savings
Monthly $20/month $240/year $0
Annual $200/year $40

As you can see, committing to an annual subscription can save you a considerable amount over time.

Commitment Considerations

However, annual subscriptions come with their own set of risks. You’re locked into a longer-term commitment, which can be daunting if you’re unsure about the consistency of the product’s quality. Make sure to thoroughly read reviews and perhaps try a box or two using monthly payments before committing to an entire year.

Ideal Scenarios

Annual subscriptions are ideal for boxes that you are confident about and use regularly. If you’ve been subscribed for a few months and still find joy and utility in the products, switching to an annual plan can be a no-brainer for saving money.

Consider DIY Alternatives: Replicating Subscription Box Experiences

Subscription boxes provide convenience, but you might be paying a premium for it. DIY alternatives can frequently replicate the experience at a fraction of the cost.

Evaluate What’s in the Box

Start by evaluating what you love about the boxes you receive. Is it the novelty? The specific types of products? Once you know what you’re getting out of the box, you can begin to replicate it yourself.

Source Your Own Products

You can often find the same or similar products featured in subscription boxes individually through online retailers or specialty stores. Purchase them directly and create your own curated selections each month. Here’s an example of how the costs might compare:

Box Components Subscription Cost DIY Cost
Skincare Kit $30 $20
Fitness Gear $50 $35
Gourmet Snacks $40 $25

Enjoy the DIY Experience

Creating your own “subscription box” can be an enjoyable experience in itself. Customize each month according to what you’re interested in, and involve family members or friends for added fun. You not only save money but also gain control over the products you receive.

Free Trial Offers: Test Before You Commit

Many subscription services offer free trial periods to attract new customers. Taking advantage of these can be an effective way to evaluate whether a box is worth the long-term investment.

How to Find Free Trials

Free trial offers are often advertised on the homepage of subscription box websites or through affiliate partners. Websites compiling lists of ongoing free trials can also be helpful.

Maximizing Your Trials

While exploring free trials, sign up for multiple services at once to compare them directly. Keep an eye out for auto-renewal terms, and set a reminder to cancel if you decide not to continue with the subscription.

Evaluate After Each Trial

After each trial period ends, evaluate whether the products were valuable enough to justify the monthly or annual cost. Not every trial will convert into a paid subscription, but it will give you a better understanding of what you like and dislike, enabling more informed decisions.

Conclusion: Making Wise Choices for Your Wallet and Interests

In today’s world, where subscription boxes offer convenience and delight, it’s easy to get carried away with multiple subscriptions. However, the costs can quickly add up, making it imperative to adopt strategies for saving money.

Being mindful of your current subscriptions and evaluating their true value is the first step. You must honestly consider which boxes bring joy and utility into your life and which are simply a drain on your wallet.

By taking advantage of promotions, coupons, and referral programs, you can significantly reduce the cost of the subscriptions you love. Social media groups and newsletters are valuable resources for staying informed about exclusive deals and offers.

Finally, don’t underestimate the power of DIY alternatives or free trials. These can often give you the same level of satisfaction at a fraction of the cost. Remember, the key is to make informed choices that align with both your interests and your financial well-being.


Let’s quickly recap the main points discussed in this guide:

  • Evaluate Your Current Subscriptions: Identify which boxes to keep, cancel, or pause.
  • Research Deals and Comparisons: Utilize comparison websites and look for promotions.
  • Utilize Coupons and Discount Codes: Find and use codes to save money.
  • Sign Up for Email Newsletters: Get notified of special offers and exclusive discounts.
  • Join Social Media Groups: Find shared discounts and tips from community members.
  • Leverage Referral Programs: Save by referring friends and family.
  • Consider Annual Subscriptions: Think about committing annually for bigger savings.
  • Explore DIY Alternatives: Replicate the subscription box experience yourself.
  • Take Advantage of Free Trials: Test boxes before making a long-term commitment.


1. How can I find the best deals on subscription boxes?

Use comparison websites, sign up for newsletters, and follow social media groups for the latest deals and promotions.

2. Are annual subscriptions really cheaper?

Yes, annual subscriptions often come with significant discounts compared to monthly payments.

3. Where can I find discount codes for subscription boxes?

Websites like RetailMeNot, Honey, and specific subscription box social media accounts often share discount codes.

4. What should I do if I’m not satisfied with a subscription box?

Consider pausing or canceling the subscription, and make sure to review their refund policy.

5. Can I save money with referral programs?

Yes, referral programs can offer you and your referred friends discounts or free boxes.

6. Is it worth signing up for multiple subscription boxes?

It depends on your interests and budget. Evaluate each box’s value before subscribing to multiple services.

7. How do I avoid auto-renewals after free trials?

Set calendar reminders to cancel the subscription before the trial period ends.

8. What are some good DIY alternatives to subscription boxes?

You can purchase individual products online or in stores and create your own curated selections to mimic subscription boxes.


  1. “The Beginner’s Guide to Subscription Boxes,” Cratejoy. Available here.
  2. “Top 10 Subscription Boxes to Save Money,” My Subscription Addiction. Available here.
  3. “How to Find Coupon Codes for Subscription Boxes,” RetailMeNot Blog. Available here.


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