Posted by on Updated: in Best Subscription Boxes | 28 comments

9 Ways Subscription Boxes Can Save You Money!

This post may contain referral/affiliate links. Read the full disclosure.


A few months ago I was interviewed for a news story about saving money with subscription boxes. The video is short with only a few tips, so I thought it would be great to put together a complete list of ways you can cut bills with subscription boxes!

Here are 9 ways that subscription boxes can save you money while still providing that awesome joy of getting boxes in the mail!

1. Save Money By Cutting Your Splurge Budget Down. (But Not Your Splurging!)


How to do it: Subscribe to High-Value Boxes to get a great return on investment.

It’s no surprise that the most popular subscription boxes also provide a great value compared to the cost of the box. Depending on how much you spend to treat yourself each month, if you put that money in subscription boxes, it can go a lot further. You’ll probably be able to cut back a little too. For example, the February POPSUGAR Must Have Box cost $40, and had a retail value of over $250! And the Winter FabFitFun box cost $50 and had a retail value of over $300!

Boxes I recommend for high value:


FabFitFun – $50 a box, ships every quarter. Use coupon code MSA10 to save $10 off your first box.

Check out our FabFitFun reviews to see what has been in past subscription boxes.

Boxycharm – $21 a box, ships every month.

Check out our Boxycharm reviews to see what has been in past subscription boxes.

Ipsy – $10 a box, ships every month.

Check out our Ipsy reviews to see what has been in past subscription boxes.

POPSUGAR Must Have – $40 a box, ships every month. Use coupon code MUSTHAVE5 to save $5 off your first box.

Check out our POPSUGAR Must Have Box reviews to see what has been in past subscription boxes.

**One thing to watch for – make sure to look at reviews to see if you’d like/use the items they’ve sent in past boxes before you subscribe. This splurge-smart strategy only makes sense if you like most of the items these boxes send!

2. Save Money By Getting Your Books Cheaper Than on Amazon!


How to do it: Sign up for Book of the Month Club with their discount offer.

While most book subscription boxes aren’t known for their value, Book of the Month Club actually beats Amazon prices every month! Here’s how it works:

Every month Book of the Month judges select 5 of their favorite new books. (Hardcover!)

Subscribers get to pick the one of the books for their box each. (And you can add up to 2 additional books for only $9.99 each).

Discount Offer: Use invite code BOOK10 to save $10 off a 3 or 12-month subscription – bringing the cost down to $11.65 a month for the 3-month subscription, or $11.16 for a 12-month subscription.

Looking at the book selections for February, this could save you up to $10, depending on your book selection.

**Important to note, there is no skip option yet, so you would have to pick one of the five books each month. Fortunately, the options are always varied, and get good reviews, so I haven’t wanted to skip yet!

3. Save Money By Paying Less on Household Basics. 

Screen Shot 2016-01-23 at 4.57.27 PM

How to do it: Take Advantage of Companies That Cut Out the Middle Man.

The Honest Company and Dollar Shave Club are two great examples of subscription box companies that provide discounts on household goods by selling directly to the consumer.

Dollar Shave Club is a monthly razor blade subscription service. (And they now offer grooming products like shave cream, hair products, etc.) Subscriptions start at $6 a month for their most popular model (the 4X) and you get a free handle with your first month of four razor blades. (Free shipping too!)

Check out our Dollar Shave Club reviews to see what you can expect with this subscription!

The Honest Company is a natural and healthy brand that offers subscription bundles to save customers up to 35% off what they would pay if they bought the products individually. I like using this subscription for all of our household basics like laundry detergent, dishwasher tabs, shampoo, handsoap, etc. (These products aren’t always cheaper than drugstore alternatives, but if you are buying Honest Company products at Target, you’re losing money!)

An Honest Company Essentials Bundle ($35.95 a box plus $5.95 shipping) will allow you to choose any 5 of their Personal Care and Cleaning products:

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 10.45.41 PM

If I had bought these products on their own my total would have been $64.75 (That’s a savings of $22.85 for those five items).

**Tip for making this a money saver – add the most expensive items to your 5. Then add in 3 additional lower-priced items (Honest lets you get up to 3 more items added to your Bundle at 25% off). These items will help get the total cost to $50+ total, and then your shipping cost ($5.95) is waived.

Extra savings: Use coupon code GET10 to save $10 off your first bundle or order of $25 or more!

Check out our Honest Company reviews to learn more about their subscription bundles!

4. Save Money By Paying Next to Nothing for Subscription Boxes!


How to do it: Take advantage of all the free and deep discounts subscription companies offer.

Many subscription boxes offer free or nearly free boxes as a way to get customers to try out their subscription service. One important thing to keep in mind – all these free and cheap trials start subscriptions, so after trying your free box, if you aren’t interested in receiving it every month for the regular price, make sure to cancel the subscription.

Check out our lists to find the best boxes to start with:

The Free Subscription Boxes List!

20 Subscription Boxes You Can Try for $10 or Less!

20 Subscription Boxes You Can Try for 50% Off or More!

Here are some of my favorite free/cheap offers: 

Screen Shot 2016-01-10 at 11.22.37 AM

Graze is a mini-snack subscription box that sends a customized selection of treats weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. They offer over 100 different snacks that you can rate online, which, over time, helps tailor your subscription to your particular snacking preferences. (Regularly $11.99 for 8 snacks per box).

Get your first box free, no coupon required, just use this link

Check out all of our Graze reviews to see what you can expect from this subscription.


Gwynnie Bee is a clothing rental subscription service for women sizes 10-32. (Regularly $35-79 a month)

Get your first month for free, no coupon required, just use this link!

Check out our Gwynnie Bee reviews to learn more about this subscription box.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 10.42.24 AM

Bulu Box is a monthly fitness and weight loss subscription box. Their original Bulu Box is focused more on fitness and supplements, and they also have a WeightLoss box that features healthy products and diet supplements.

Use coupon code MYSUB99 to get your first box for only 99 cents, then every following box for only $5, for the lifetime of your subscription! (Regularly $10 a month).

And check out our Bulu Box Reviews to see what you can expect from this subscription!

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 1.16.41 PM

Love with Food, a natural and organic snack subscription, is offering a free month when you buy a 3-month Tasting Box or Gluten Free Box subscription:

  • 3-month Tasting Subscription – use code BUY2GET1FREE (Brings cost down to $17.98 – $5.99 a box)

  • 3-month Gluten-Free Subscription – use code GFBUY2GET1FREE (Brings cost down to $45.98 – $15.33 a box)

Check out our Love with Food Tasting Box reviews and our Love with Food Deluxe Box reviews and or our Love with Food Gluten Free Box reviews to learn more about this subscription!

5. Save Money By Never Wasting Money on Beauty Products Again.


How to do it: Sample Beauty Products Before You Buy Full-Size Versions.

It’s almost hard to imagine now, but in a time before subscription boxes, I would buy beauty products without trying them first! Depending on where I bought the item, I could sometimes return products that weren’t for me, but more often than not, those products ended up unused in a drawer and eventually donated or thrown out.

With beauty subscription boxes, I get to sample products at a deep discount, and I only buy the products I know I will use and love.

Beauty boxes I recommend for sampling great brands:


Birchbox – $10 a month, use coupon code MALLYGIFT to get a free full-size eye shadow stick with your first box. (Read our Birchbox reviews).

Allure Beauty Box, $15 a month, save $5 with this link. (Read our Allure Beauty Box reviews).

Check out my Favorite Beauty Boxes for 2016, too!

6. Save Money by Buying Subscriptions at a Discount (Part 1).

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 10.55.12 PM

How to do it: Use Coupons and Flash Sale Deals for the Best Subscription Box Prices!

Mant subscription boxes offer discounts through coupon when signing up, so it is important to always take advantage of those offers to make the value even better on your boxes! Check out our Subscription Box Coupons page to get tons of coupon offers.

And sometimes companies offer deep discounts for limited times only. (We post about coupons and discounts on flash sale sites like Groupon as soon as we get them).

How to never miss a coupon for a box you want:

Sign up for coupon email alerts for any box you want. You can do that at the end of any blog post about that box:

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 12.12.59 AM

Or on any box listing in the Subscription Box List:

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 12.13.41 AM

And if you want to get an email summary of all the subscription box reviews, spoilers and coupons – sign up for the My Subscription Addiction daily newsletter!

7. Save Money by Buying Subscriptions at a Discount (Part 2).
Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 10.22.58 PM

How to do it: Once you find a box you love, make a long term commitment.

Many subscription boxes offer significant savings if you commit to a 6 or 12 month subscription up front. (For example, Barkbox is $29 a month for a month-to-month subscription, but $19 a month for an annual subscription).

I don’t recommend this if you haven’t tried the box before though – you don’t want to get stuck with 12 months of something that isn’t for you!

Instead, sign up for a monthly subscription, give it a few months, and if you are consistently happy with that box, switch to an annual subscription. Some subscriptions allow you to do this from your account, but for those that don’t – a quick call to customer care should take care of switching you over to an annual subscription.

8. Save Money By Taking Advantage of Extra Subscriber perks!


How to do it: Claim all of your Subscription points!

Subscription box points are basically free money – especially at my two favorite reward subscriptions: Birchbox and Bulu Box.

Here is how it works for Birchbox: Every month Birchbox sends you 5 samples, and you get to review each one of those samples on the Birchbox site for 10 points ($1). So the box costs $10, but you get $5 back each month. And the great part is that these points stack, so you can save them and use them to make completely free orders.

The way I get the most bang for my buck is to combine Birchbox Points with a 20% off discount coupon code, and buy limited edition boxes (which are already a great value). Check out my reviews of Birchbox Limited Edition Boxes to see the kind of deals you can get and get the coupon codes!

(The same points system works for Bulu Box and their Bulu Shop. Check out our Bulu Box reviews to learn more).

9. Save Money By Shopping for Free! (AKA Use Your Unwanted Subscription Box Items as Currency).

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 10.17.06 PM

How to do it: Swap items you don’t want for items you love!

Inevitably, if you sign up for a lot of subscription boxes, you will end up with some items that aren’t for you. That’s why we built the swap section of this site!

How it works:

  1. Sign up for a My Subscription Addiction account and apply to Swaps
  2. We’ll email you when you are off the waitlist (usually a 1-3 weeks)
  3. Start listing your items and making swap requests!

The Swap Section of the site is a completely free-to-use service and a great way to make your subscription boxes way more valuable to you!

While you are waiting to get off the waitlist, check out recently completed swaps to see what kind of deals are happening, and get advice on swaps in the forum!


2 Bonus Tips:

Tip 1. Pay with PayPal!

This is more about saving you the time and hassle involved with calling customer care than saving you money, but time equals money, right? Not all subscription boxes offer PayPal as a payment option, but whenever a box offers this option I always use it.

Here is why: You can manage all of your recurring payments in your PayPal account and cancel any subscription from there – no need to email/call customer care.

Tip 2. Wait to see spoilers before signing up!

Many popular boxes share spoilers (sneak peeks of items in the box) before the box ships. Often, the spoiler item shown is one of the most expensive items in the box, so it can be a useful way to cut out risk. For example, if POPSUGAR Must Have shares that a future box will include a $100 scarf, and you’d pay $40 (the cost of the box) for that item alone, then the box has basically paid for itself with that one item, and the rest will just be a bonus if you love it!

**One thing to keep in mind with spoilers – sometimes boxes sell out before spoiler items are revealed, so you may miss out on a box with this method.

How to never miss a spoiler:

Sign up for spoiler email alerts for any box you want. You can do that at the end of any blog post about that box:

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 12.12.59 AM

Or on any box listing in the Subscription Box List:

Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 12.13.41 AM

And if you want to get an email summary of all the subscription box reviews, spoilers and coupons – sign up for the My Subscription Addiction daily newsletter!


What do you think of the list? Do you use subscription boxes to save money?

Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. Hi Liz

    Is there any chance that you can do an article on which subscription boxes take paypal?

  2. I don’t have to buy gifts anymore and my friends and family get much more expensive lux gifts than ever before. I get to keep the rest of the items I don’t gift so I tell myself it’s a win-win. And I almost never buy beauty items anymore.

  3. You were great in the news segment Liz! And you’re a brunette!! So pretty!

    • Diana, I had to watch it after your comment – yes, very pretty! No more bangs either… Liz needs to update her photo on here! And I think she should consider modeling for her clothing subs too. 😉

  4. Love this Liz, thank you!

    I’ve had to buy very few beauty products in the last few years of subscribing to boxes. I’ve given away lots as gifts, swapped for other items, and had good luck selling on eBay (where I’ve sometimes made more than what I paid).

    I don’t sub to many boxes anymore, since I have enough in my stash and finances have changed. I only have Rachel Zoe box of style and beauty dna right now. Those are hands down my favorite subs and the most bang for your buck. I’m stoked I got 4 months at beauty Dna, thru ideel, for $20! $5 a month for a full size product? Yes pls. Thanks to this site for making that deal known to me!

    • Wow, when and how did you get THAT deal for beauty DNA? I love that subscription a lot too, but have never seen that good of a deal on it!

  5. APPLAUSE!!!

  6. This is so true and I love this post! Thank you so much! I know I use all the coupons and points. I did try the Ipsy because of spoilers and a coupon but never got any of the nice spoilers and always got stuff not on my quiz at all. That’s probably the only box I have a bone to pick with but your so right to about sampling to save money before you splurge. You may not get everything you like but that’s kind of the point with sub boxes. You get to test and know products. You might just fall in love with something you never even knew existed. I know I have. Thank you again for this post and the website! It’s one of the best!

    • Yay! So glad you love the post 🙂 And I totally agree with your point about falling in love with something you didn’t know existed – one of the best perks of subscription boxes!

  7. This is so the opposite of the twelve step program I need! 🙂 Rationalization wins the day.

  8. This is such a fun post- and so true you can definitely use subs to save money. MSA has been so helpful to me. Thanks Liz!

  9. Between ipsy, Birchbox, and Glossybox, I don’t even need to buy full-size cosmetics and skincare. The 15 items I get every month take care of all my needs, and still include some giftables for others. Total monthly cost: $28.75. Love it.

  10. Love with food also has a point system that can be used in their shop. I’ve gotten some free snacks there from using my points.

  11. Another way I “save money” with sub boxes is for gifts…
    I’ve bought a box knowing I’ll use part of it for a gift so then the rest is extras for me (bought FFF and used the Picture code to buy to Christmas presents and only spent $5 for $80 worth of gifts – and only paid $40 for the box).
    Or I’ll give a box as a gift and it let’s me spend less but give the recipient more (if I usually spend $20 for someone, I’ll give them a Target box – so I spent $7 but they got $30 worth of stuff – I did this for a lot of Christmas presents this year).

    I might be a little off on some of the $ amounts, but I was able to get a lot of gifts for people last year and they absolutely loved them! They were unique or fun gifts that everyone was surprised by bc they weren’t the normal typical gifts you see over and over.
    So thank you Liz!

    • Yes! I barely shopped retail for Christmas this time. In fall I started to keep an eye out for gift items in boxes, subscribed to a couple just for gifts and basically was covered by that. Kills two birds – I get the thrill of receiving shtuff in the mail, and save a lot of money (and time, almost more importantly), from trudging through crowded malls. I almost feel bad for not patronizing retail anymore (at least for makeup/skincare). I did go to ULTA and Sephora to pick out my Valentine’s gift last week. It was sad – absolutely nothing excited me or felt like it was worth the picking out and checking out. I’ve been spoiled by boxes! So let’s hope that boxes stay around forever. The only trap is when all the stuff in them meant for gifts, turns out to be good enough to keep for self!

  12. Love this!
    Definitely Frame-worthy!
    It definitely made me smile – which is good for first thing really early Monday morning 🙂

  13. Thanks for the info. I learned some new information.

  14. For me, if I have been following the reviews and am sure I will love it(like globeIn, birchbox, glossybox for a time or julep) I sign up for whatever seems like the best deal, with julep that’s 3month at a time(currently skipping). For birchbox it was for a year(88 I think around new years) and globeIn is just however much I can afford.
    I signed up with glossy almost a year ago and was so happy w/ it(mothers day free box plus discount) it has by far paid for itself, but I have plenty of stuff now and tired of it.
    I think I have become a subscription hopper lol, jumping from one to another for brief periods of time until I find the next one.
    I think my next ones to try are popsugar(feb is being delivered wed but i’ll be canceling) and fabfit fun. I would get one of them now(both at once seems like a bit much though) but must stay on budget(aka I have no money-read student)

  15. I live this website. Thanks Liz and gang

  16. Every time I think about how much Diabetic Dollar Supply has saved me it kinda makes me want to cry. lol That industry should be ashamed of itself, really.

    • Or Dollar Diabetic Supply. Yeah, that’s what I meant. 😉

  17. Subscription boxes are great… But do I really need 10 of them?

    • Yes. You do. Get one more.

  18. Funny! I was just thinking about this today as I was using things from the latest Target box. Since getting into sub boxes I have to buy far fewer regularly priced toiletries than I ever have in my life. And for me, boxes also scratch that itch to impulse shop just of the thrill of something new. When I know I have a box or two on the way, I know I’ll have something new in my hands very soon. OH! And I’ve saved quite a bit on gift buying, too.

  19. Great synopsis! And I just wanted to say thank you again for hosting such a spectacular swap site for all of us and making point number 9 possible. It’s tremendous.

  20. Promptly posting this on the fridge for hubby to read. #justification!!!!! 🙂

    • Love it!!

    • Right?! I don’t know how many times I’ve tried to explain how getting a $200 item in a box that I only paid $45 for and would never buy on my own is a ridiculously amazing deal, or how we never have to buy gifts and very few toiletries anymore, and oh hey, remember all those snacks that you love that only cost $10 but would have been like $40 in the store? Yet somehow he still complains about my box habit. *sigh*

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments may not appear immediately. More info here.

Please do not enter your email address in the Name field or in the comment content!