NEW YORK (MainStreet) A wise man once told me that I should always pay myself first, and this idea has always sat well with me. It's clear that we live in a world where the majority of people do not make ideal salaries. Paying bills is usually the first thought that comes to mind on pay day, so it's easy to feel like your pay check is gone before it even arrives.
This is why, a few months back, I decided to set aside a small amount of money per pay check to treat myself, solely for being a living, breathing, working human being. I chose to use my money to subscribe to one of the many fantastic, unique monthly boxes that exist.
The following is a list of ten little packages of joy that arrive at your door each month for one flat fee, and all ten fall under $30 per month for each box. There are subscriptions for just about anyonefrom the makeup-lovers, all the way to those who love their furry, four-legged friends. And, for these prices, you can definitely skip the guilt!
1. BirchBox: Available for both women and men. The team at BirchBox works with other designers and style-savvy companies such as Ann Taylor and Men's Health to inspire the beauty and body care products in their boxes. Each box contains approximately four to five samples and one to two full-sized items. Subscription cost for women is $10 per month, and the items can consist of perfume samples, mini nail polishes, foundations, eyeliners, or even self-tanners. For men, subscription costs $20 per month, and the box can contain anything along the lines of cologne samples, hair products, moisturizers, and shaving creams.
2. BarkBox: I have a puppy. He is 6 months old, weighs about 12 lbs and has big blue eyes that make me mush his face every day. I know what it's like to want to spoil a dog. In this case, I can easily spoil him without having my wallet make a sad face.
The subscription to BarkBox is $29 per month, and the price drops a few dollars if a few months are purchased in advance.
Each box contains four or more items, and they can range from toys and treats to hygiene products. The option is also available to choose the size of your dog by weight, to ensure that you get items tailored to the dog's needs. The best feature? 10% of profits get donated to local shelters, rescues and animal welfare organizations.
3. NatureBox: In our health-crazed, diet-opinionated society, it's hard to find a food-producing company that you can actually trust. The team at NatureBox has rounded up a ton of various healthy snacks that are all minimally processed and nutritionist-approved. Each month, for $19.95, you can get a box of five full-sized healthy snacks delivered to your door. This is a great way to try new things, and if you don't like something, it's not as though you're not stuck with an entire box of the one item. NatureBox also works with WhyHunger by making monetary and snack food donations to those in need, by way of summer food programs, community-based organizations and emergency food providers.
4. ConsciousBox: ConsciousBox is a definite win for those who like to "go green." For $19.95 per month (or less, if you purchase a few months in advance), you will receive a box filled with samples of pure, non-toxic, sustainable items. The items can consist of soaps, snacks, beauty products, and cleaning products, from well-known companies like Seventh Generation, Artisana and Beauty Without Cruelty. ConsciousBox also gives the choice as to which type of products you prefer: vegan, gluten-free, or classic (combination).
5. SpicySubscriptions: For those that would like a bit of sprucing up in the bedroom, this box will definitely deliver.
For $24.95 per month, you can subscribe to the Premium box, which includes one "flirty item" (description unnecessary), one to two full-sized products and four to eight trial-sized products. Products can range from candles and chocolate, to massage oils and adult toys.
6. Stunner of the Month: I wear my sunglasses at night, because...well, you know. This one is pretty simple: $9 per month gets you a new pair of shades delivered right to your door. If you're the type who can pull off just about any pair of sunglasses, I may hate you, but this box is definitely for you!
7. JackedPack: Calling all workout junkies! Two options at JackedPack are available for under $30, the "lightweight," starting at $11.99 per month, and the "heavyweight," starting at $23.99 per month. The "lightweight" consists of six to eight supplement samples and a $10 coupon to the company's e-store. The "heavyweight" offers a bit more, containing one trial-sized item in addition to the six to eight samples, a $15 coupon to the e-store, and the option to be personally customized. Sample items in both boxes can include protein powders, pre- and post-workout supplements and healthy snacks. Tickets to the gun show, anyone?
8. Surprise Ride: This one's for the kids! And, also for the moms, who have run out of ideas for entertaining their kids. For $29.99 per month, a box will arrive containing items that are all centered around one main theme. Each box gives a project related to that theme and contains all the necessary supplies to complete the given project. For example, one of the previous themes was "Birdville." The project was to build and paint a birdhouse, and the box included modeling clay, feathers, glue, a bird glider, binoculars and an inspirational book. This is definitely a great way to keep the kids entertained and learning new things at the same time.
9. Juniper: In short, Juniper is a monthly gift, for every woman's monthly "gift." Juniper is a lifesaver during this time. For $28 per month, ladies can get a package filled with tampons, pads, panty liners, painkillers, and, best of all, comfort food!
This happy little box, equipped with heroic items like Midol and brownies, can be personalized by your preference and also by your cycle. Sheer genius.
10. ChicShave & Dollar Shave Club: Double feature! These companies are not connected, but I grouped them together here as they follow the same theme. For men, Dollar Shave Club can provide one razor and four to five cartridges per month. Men can choose between a two-blade razor ($1 per month plus shipping and handling), a four-blade razor ($6 per month, free shipping), or a six-blade razor ($9 per month, free shipping as well). For women, ChicShave is basically the same concept, except there are three razor choices all priced at $9 per month, free shipping, with two extra cartridges per month. These razors are a great deal cheaper than the replaceable-blade razors in stores, and you never have to worry about running out!
--Written by Ciara Larkin for MainStreet