5 Subscriptions That Will Save You Money

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By Anisha Sekar

Most of us are always looking to find ways to lower our regular bills. Who doesn't want to spend less? One way to help control spending on things we buy routinely is to use subscription services.

These five services can help reduce your costs on the things you want or by helping you avoid buying the things you don't.

1. Streaming TV. For many of us, the cable bill is one big bill we are reluctant to let go of. But with services like Hulu Plus and Netflix, viewers can still enjoy their favorite television series without the huge monthly bill. With a Hulu Plus subscription, avid television viewers have access to a variety of current and classic television shows for only $7.99 a month. Hulu Plus does include some advertisements, which helps keep subscription fees down. Netflix (NFLX) is also $7.99 a month for a wide selection of TV shows and movies. Unlike Hulu Plus, Netflix does not offer current TV season programs, but it does provide streaming of former seasons commercial free.

2. Amazon Subscribe & Save. Amazon is the leader in Internet retail, so it's no surprise it offers a subscription service that can carry big savings to consumers. Any product you need for your home, office or life can be purchased through Amazon (AMZN). With the Subscribe & Save program, a customer can set up monthly deliveries of the most basic items, including diapers, toilet paper and laundry detergent. Subscriptions come with free shipping and Amazon's regular low prices, and customers who receive five or more products in their monthly delivery receive an extra 15 percent off their orders. This service allows consumers to keep their homes stocked with necessities at a discount and without having to run to the store every week.

3. Scribd. For the bibliophiles who spend far too much time (and money) in bookstores, Scribd is a subscription service that can greatly reduce the cost of reading. For $8.99 a month, subscribers can read as many books as they like on iOS devices, Android tablets and phones or web browsers. %VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%All your identified devices are synced, so you can pick up where you left off on whichever device is closest. Why limit yourself to buying one or two new books a month when you can read the entire Scribd catalog for less than the price of most paperbacks?

4. Citrus Lane. For busy parents, especially new ones, sorting through the vast selection at baby and toddler stores to find the products you and your child truly need can be a daunting, time-consuming and expensive task. You might buy three kinds of sippy cups before finding the best one or purchase a new kind of baby food pouch only to find the pouch rips too easily. Citrus Lane aims to take that uncertainty and guesswork out of the equation for parents. For $21 a month for a six-month subscription (or $25 for a three months), parents will receive one box a month filled with products tailored to their child's age and needs. All the products have been recommended by Citrus Lane's advisory board of mothers and fathers, so parents can be sure the items included in each month's gift box won't go to waste.

5. Birchbox. For the beauty-product lovers, buying full-size items can get expensive, especially when you realize after one week that the new face-cleansing line you splurged on doesn't provide the results you had hoped for. Birchbox takes the sticker shock out of trying new beauty products. For $10 a month, subscribers receive a monthly box full of makeup samples, grooming items and lifestyle products. While it started offering products only for women, Birchbox now caters to male customers as well. A consumer only pays full price for a new product after she or he is satisfied with the sample.

Not all subscription services will be money-savers for all consumers, but these five services can produce big savings for their target audiences.

Anisha Sekar writes for NerdWallet's Money-Saving Tips blog, which is dedicated to helping consumers spend, save and earn smarter.


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12 PHOTOS
Best Fast Food Values
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5 Subscriptions That Will Save You Money
Always searching for the best deal around, we asked our readers to name the fast food items they thought delivered the best bang for the buck. We tallied up more than one hundred thousand votes and come up with winners! So click through to see who WalletPop fans picked for the best meal deals...
What is your best bet for a buck? Our readers think it's Burger King's value menu burger choices, with 36%, just squeaking out a victory over McDonald's, with 35% of the vote. Wendy's came in third with 29%.
Whoppers may come from Burger King, but McDonald's had something of a whopping victory in the breakfast category, snatching up 61% of the vote for the heft and value of an Egg McMuffin. A faraway second was Burger King's Croissan'wich, with 17% of the votes, followed by Dunkin' Donuts egg white flatbreads (9%), Starbucks oatmeal (3%) and Cosi's croissant omelet (2%).
The coffee wars at fast food joints are constantly finding new battlegrounds. Our latest salvo: McDonald's being crowned best value, with 40% of the popular vote. Dunkin' Donuts was not far behind, with 33%, followed by Starbucks (13%), Wendy's (7%), Burger King (7%) and Cosi (0%).
When it comes to fast food fries, McDonald's usually has everyone beat, and this poll was no different: McDonald's scored 63%, while Burger King lead the runners up with 14%; Wendy's (10%), KFC (6%) and Hardee's and Sonic (each 4%).
While Burger King might have taken the crown for best burger on the dollar menu, McDonald's won the race for best full-size burger meal value with 39%, followed by Burger King (34%) and Wendy's (27%).
Chicken sandwiches used to be overlooked in tales of fast food competition, but there's a huge chicken surge happening lately as people are eating healthier. Who's on top for value? Our readers say it's Wendy's, with 24% of the vote, followed by Chick-fil-A (23%), McDonald's (21%), Burger King (16%), KFC (13%) and Hardee's (3%).
If you've got kids, where's the best place to take them to get them full for less? Our readers say McDonald's, as 48% voted the chain the best spot to get value nuggets (and a toy). Runners up: KFC (17%), Wendy's (14%), Burger King (12%), Taco Bell (5%), Hardee's (4%).
New Mexican fast-food chains are popping up all over the place, but it seems our readers prefer the value of the industry leader: Taco Bell. The chain garnered 65% of the vote, followed by Chipotle (16%), El Pollo Loco and Baja Fresh (6% each), Taco Bueno (4%) and Taco Cabana (3%).
Healthy items are some of the most expensive ones on fast food menus, so what is the best buy? Our readers picked Wendy's salads by far, with 37% of the vote, followed by McDonald's (30%), Long John Silver's (11%), Taco Bell (9%), Burger King (7%) and KFC (6%).
While Wendy's Frosty had the early lead, Dunkin' Donuts came from behind to win as best dessert value, with 33% of our vote. Wendy's ended up with 28%, McDonald's with 20%, Burger King with 12% and the bottom was filled out by Taco Bell (4%) and KFC (3%).
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