By Ivy Mastrud
Here at Planswell, we’re fans of subscriptions. They save us from going to brick-and-mortar stores and spending unnecessarily on impulse items. Plus, who doesn’t love receiving a package on their doorstep? It’s like Christmas every month!
It may be intimidating to sign up for automatic, scheduled payments when you’re not sure what you’re getting into. There are questions to consider, like “Is it easy to cancel?” or “Is it really cost-efficient with shipping added?” The answer is often yes, but don’t be afraid to ask questions via online chat boxes, googling your question, reading the small print on websites, or even reaching out to the Reddit community. Not up for research? We’re here to show you some of our personal favs to make your busy life a little easier.
Here are six subscriptions worth paying for, according to our staff at Planswell:
If you’re interested in learning a foreign language but just can’t figure out how to get started, Babbel is for you. Babbel is an online language training platform that makes learning a second language easy. It uses a series of activities and games to improve your reading, writing, and speaking skills in the language of your choice. Babbel makes over ten million subscribers confident in one (or more) of the 14 languages offered. Compared to other language learning programs, Babbel is the most cost-efficient. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pricing options:
Recently, Babbel added a new feature we love at Planswell. To save ourselves from the embarrassment of actually speaking our new language like an amateur, Babbel introduced a live activity mode. In this mode, you can communicate with real people who are seasoned in your new language via practice calls. ¡No me digas!
HelloFresh is a meal kit delivery service that provides you with weekly meals straight to your door. The ingredients in each box are fresh and pre-portioned to make cook time short. The convenience and accessibility is a turn-on for those who love to cook but don’t have the time for grocery shopping or meal prep. Each kit takes roughly 15-30 minutes to prepare and contains up to four servings.
In addition to the convenience, it’s cost-friendly! Compared to retail grocery shopping, HelloFresh is actually a frugal choice. With HelloFresh, each meal costs roughly $7.49 per person on average, while the average grocer’s meal is upwards of $9.74 per person. Shipping might be a little more expensive than you’d like, but in all honesty — it’s worth it. Shipping costs a flat $10.99 every time you order, whether you get seven boxes per week or just one.
With HelloFresh, you can choose a meal plan and let their experts pick your meals based on your likes and dislikes, or you can select your own recipes to build a custom menu and have it delivered to your door. If you have dietary restrictions or are simply a picky eater, HelloFresh might not be right for you. Unfortunately, HelloFresh has yet to make their kits fully customizable down to each ingredient; however, there are hundreds of delicious meals to pick from that rotate monthly.
If you haven’t heard of Spotify, we’d love to check out the rock you’ve been living under for the past 15 years. Just in case though, Spotify is an audio streaming and media service. With a library of over 70 million songs and 2.2 million podcasts, Spotify has blanketed the music and podcast streaming space.
Problems with Spotify free
You can use Spotify without a subscription, but there are a couple of serious drawbacks:
No Song Selection
Without Spotify Premium, you won’t have the freedom to specifically pick which songs you want. You can choose artists or playlists, but the content is shuffled and there’s no way to listen to any single song you specifically want to hear. It’s also hard to totally avoid songs you don’t want to listen to, as you only get to skip three songs per hour.
Probably the worst part about listening without a subscription is that you will run into quite a few ads — and they’re not always tailored to the vibe of the music you’re enjoying. If you’ve ever put on a “go to sleep” playlist only to be jolted into consciousness 20 minutes in by an ad featuring loud guitar music, you’ll understand just how valuable this subscription can be.
Spotify Premium to the rescue
A Spotify Premium subscription will cost you $12.99 per month, but it solves all of the frustrations that come with the free version: no ads and unlimited skips over songs you don’t want to hear (sorry Rebecca Black). Plus, there are some added benefits worth mentioning:
With Premium, you can download music which allows you to listen anywhere — even in the sky! Playlists, albums, podcasts, and audiobooks can be downloaded onto your devices and deleted whenever is needed.
Spotify Premium includes the ability to create collaborative playlists. A collaborative playlist allows as many other users as you choose to invite to contribute music to a single playlist you can all listen to, no matter where in the world you are. This is a great way to stay connected with family and friends you may not live near and keep each other up to date on the music you think are worth listening to.
Bonus: Spotify Wrapped
Many Spotify listeners are big fans of Spotify Wrapped. At the end of the year, this feature tells customers exactly how much they listened, their top artists, and even their favorite genres.
Grammarly really is the perfect tool for anyone who writes or creates digitally. It’s a cloud-based typing assistant that reviews spelling, grammar, punctuation, and clarity, while also checking for plagiarism, engagement opportunities, and delivery mistakes in English text. It uses artificial intelligence to proofread your text and make suggestions.
Our favorite part of Grammarly is the ‘tone teller’. That’s definitely not the proper term for it, but that’s exactly what it does. As you’re writing, an emoji pops up on the right-hand side of the screen. This emoji signals the tone of your text and elaborates on why it comes off that way. It can help the author gauge the voice the audience may hear.
Grammarly offers three different monthly subscription options ranging from $12-$15, all with their own exclusive benefits. With a subscription, over 400 new benefits are brought forward and explained.
Audible is the perfect podcast and audiobook streaming service. With over 300,000 titles, Audible is the number one audiobook streamer in the nation. By using Audible, you are able to revisit old favorites, listen to the book club title you didn’t have time to read, or binge the latest best-seller.
Audible gives you (almost) free range to titles with their credit system. Credits are their digital currency to temporarily download books. A downfall with Audible is that once you’ve downloaded a book, there is no way to get those credits back if you’re not loving the read.
Depending on your price range, Audible has five different subscription plans ranging from $6.95 per month to $22.95 per month. They also have yearly subscription plans if you’re interested in the long haul. A hidden perk: with an Amazon Prime membership, it’s free!
Now, is Audible really worth it? If you’re a ferocious reader, yes. There’s nothing more you could need or want as a book enthusiast. On the other hand, if your books typically collect dust before you finish them, we recommend sticking to lower-quality, cheaper audio books on Youtube or other streaming platforms. You just might discover you’re not a big fan of listening to other people read books.
MasterClass is an online platform where anyone interested in learning can access pre-recorded tutorials or lectures from experts. MasterClass offers content for various interests — from cooking and painting to writing techniques or entrepreneurship.
Each class includes comprehensive pre-recorded video content, guides, interactive assignments, and community activities. MasterClass provides students and professionals with an immersive learning experience by allowing them to take classes from some of the biggest names in their chosen industry.
Stars such as Gordon Ramsay, Judy Blume, Wayne Gretzky, Samuel L. Jackson, and Natalie Portman are some of the digital instructors.
Each course on Masterclass is typically 12-14 hours of coursework split into ten or 15 videos lasting about twelve minutes each. Students are also offered a digital workbook to follow along and take notes as their course progresses.
For how much you can learn from MasterClass, the prices are reasonable. The standard package costs just $15 per month, and that’s all you really need. With any package, you have unlimited access to every course on the MasterClass website.
The average consumer has twelve subscriptions in media and entertainment categories alone. Unsurprisingly, millennials top that with an average of 17. If that tells us anything, it’s that subscriptions are here to stay.
They have their pros and cons, and not every subscription is a winner. To avoid paying for something you won’t love, do your research and read the small print at the bottom of the checkout page.
We hope our picks can bring you a little peace of mind when you’re in search of a new way to treat yourself or make your busy life a little easier.
How many subscriptions do you have? Do you have some favorites we didn’t mention? Drop us a line at [email protected].