When you think “subscriptions,” you probably think of a) magazines or b) entertainment apps like Netflix and Spotify. (There’s probably a BuzzFeed quiz that guesses your age based on which you prefer.)
Here’s the thing: While those services are great, there are subscription services designed to improve your life, not just simply entertain you. If you’re trying to build better habits, here are five subscriptions worth paying for.
You Need A Budget (YNAB)
We’re big fans of anything that helps people get smarter about money, and with the rise of smartphones, there’s been an endless number of apps that let people budget, bank and more. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, but for years one has stood out among the rest: You Need a Budget.
Affectionately called YNAB, this app tracks your savings and spending so you really know where your finances stand. And unlike apps that pull in bank transactions automatically, YNAB makes you an active participant. You enter transactions manually, so you can see results in real time and learn from them. And since it introduced a mobile app that lets you budget on the go, you won’t fall behind or forget to add purchases.
YNAB’s community is full of people praising the service for saving their financial lives. They’ll tell you the subscription is easily worth the cost. For more information on YNAB, read our previous articles here, here, and here (we’re big fans).
According to data from the U.S. Census and Simmons National Consumer Survey, 2.12 million Americans spent over $250 on oral care products over a three-month period in 2017. But let’s be honest: Do you remember the last time you got a new toothbrush? Follow-up question: When was the last time you got a new toothbrush that wasn’t given to you by your dentist?
We don’t pay as much attention to our teeth as we should. Maybe because dental care isn’t included in health insurance or maybe because daily brushing is so monotonous we just go through the motions. Luckily, quip wants to change that.
I know what you’re thinking: How is a toothbrush company a subscription service?
quip provides electronic toothbrushes with a novel twist. To remove any obstacles (read: laziness) quip sends replacement toothbrush heads straight to your door every three months, depending on your subscription. All you have to do is pop the old one off and put the new one on. Plus, you can connect with your dentist and earn credit if you prove you’re getting regular checkups.
quip takes something you don’t normally think about — getting a new toothbrush — and makes it so you don’t have to think about it. Plus, your toothbrush times itself so you know if you’re brushing long enough. A single filling can cost up to $150, so avoiding just one means quip easily pays for itself.
Sometimes you need to just get away. But finding quiet time is difficult when things are hectic. Since you always have your phone, you can meditate pretty much anywhere with Headspace.
Meditation isn’t for everyone, but having an app like Headspace helps if you’re not sure how to start. There’s a gamification aspect that helps you practice regularly, and there are different “themes” depending on your desired focus, whether it’s work, sleep or stress. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of meditation — how long should you do it for? What are you supposed to be doing during it? —
Meditation has health benefits, from increased happiness to decreased stress. Headspace even notes some studies they’ve collaborated on with institutions like NYU, Kaiser Permanente and Emory University. If you’re skeptical, a 10-day free trial can help you decide if Headspace works for you.
Cost: Starting at $45/month
Gyms are expensive, and it’s hard to commit to the cost when you don’t know if you’ll like a particular workout.
That’s where ClassPass comes in.
It lets you pay a flat rate for a certain number of classes at different gyms and studios in your area. That way, instead of paying full price at different places, you pay $45 a month to take yoga at one studio, kickboxing somewhere else and a bootcamp class you want to try.
That’s not the reason why ClassPass is on this list, though. It’s here because in early 2017, the company introduced streaming fitness lessons. If you’re traveling or used all your in-person subscription passes, you can watch lessons from the comfort of your computer, tablet or phone.
The health benefits of working out are obvious. Regular exercise helps you live longer, keeps you from medical debt and even lowers your life insurance rates. And while the gym has its perks (sometimes you need other people to stay accountable and motivated) the fact that ClassPass allows you to stream hundreds of lessons means you don’t have to go out to stay fit.
Before we talk about Care/of, let's be clear: You should talk to your doctor before taking any sort of medication or supplements. Having said that, if you need your vitamins, Care/of makes it easy to incorporate them into your daily routine, while sparing you a trip to the local drugstore.
The site makes vitamin and supplement recommendations based on your answers to a questionnaire. You can pick what you want to take outside of the recommendations, though. Once you've settled on a mix, it mails the pills to you in personalized packaging. The subscription cost depends on what's in your package. You can learn more about the service in our Care/of full review here.
There’s nothing wrong with signing up for a subscription for entertainment. But now you can fire up your app store of choice and find something to spend your money on that won’t make you feel guilty afterwards.