Let me start off by saying that this blog post is not sponsored or endorsed by anyone. The views and opinions on these services are my own and are not being expressed in exchange for anything. These are services that I use, paid for with my own money. I have found them to be helpful and enjoyable and just want to share them with you.
Everyone feeling refreshed? Enjoying the start of the weekend? I know I am!
I ran to the post office this morning to check our PO Box in the hopes of finding our W2s and while mine was there my husband’s was not. So, I’ll have to wait a bit longer to get a jump on our tax returns. While it’s not the focus of today I would strongly suggest that you sit down (with your spouse if you are married) and discuss what your plans are for your return. It will be easier to do before you know what you are getting back but you can certainly still have a successful conversation after you have filed. We have already started a list and will be sitting down soon to prioritize it and add amounts. We have some things like “New Work Clothes” that will need to have an allowance if we are to hope for success in making our return go as far as possible. If I have $200 to spend on work clothes then I know that I can get a new pair of shoes, a couple pairs of pants, and a few new shirts. If I only have $100 then I’m really down to shoes and a shirt or two. It will also help keep us accountable once that money hits our account.
Anyway, I was also hoping that my birchbox would have arrived also, but it had not yet.
In December I was subscribed to three different services and I canceled one of them. I canceled my Book of the Month Club subscription because I was so behind on reading them that I still had one opened and unread as well as one still unopened in the box. The subscription is great and there is a decent chance that I will turn it back on at some point later this year, I just couldn’t justify renewing it at this point.
The other two, I kept.
I have had Ipsy for a year now; I started my subscription in January of 2016. It’s $10 a month and you get a makeup bag and 5 deluxe sample sized or full sized products that are picked to match you based on your profile and your reviews. I have found several brands that I LOVE through them! Even if I get something I’m not particularly fond of I’m still not disappointed. The value of the bag is ridiculously high compared to the price you pay and if you make sure to review a product that you don’t like your chances of receiving a similar product in the future seem to be slim based on my experience. I’ve also never received a bag that didn’t have at least one product that I fell in love with so much that it became one of my go to items or even became part of my daily routine.
It was Ipsy that introduced me to the brand Living Proof in March of 2016. They included a travel size Living Proof PHD Dry Shampoo in my bag and after trying it I have found it’s the only dry shampoo that I actually like. I have tried close to a dozen different brands and always found a reason to leave them in my cabinet instead of using them. This one changed dry shampoo for me. It is far more expensive than most dry shampoos, I will certainly acknowledge that, but I feel the results are worth it. When I ran out of my travel size from Ipsy I decided to go ahead and buy a full sized bottle. I had also kept track and had gotten 5 uses from the small bottle and have fairly long hair so I felt like maybe if I was careful with it, it wouldn’t be too expensive to continue using. I looked at Target first and while they didn’t have the dry shampoo they had actually JUST started carrying a small Living Proof line! As part of their introductory shelf display they had bottles of the shampoo and conditioner bundled so that you got two for the price of one. They weren’t huge bottles, but I figured that it was a great deal for trying out some of their other products. I ended up purchasing my dry shampoo from Ulta and it was $22 for a bottle of it. Yikes. But it honestly lasts me several months and unlike my experience with other dry shampoos I feel like I can continue to wear my hair down after I’ve applied it instead of just spraying it on to absorb some of the oil and then still feeling like my hair looks awful and tossing it up in a bun or ponytail. I also now use their shampoo and conditioner almost exclusively. It’s expensive, but my hair has never been healthier.
One of my favorite things about Ipsy is that it comes in a reusable makeup bag. They are great quality and have such fun prints! I use them for far more than just make up. I have used them to store everything from pens to feminine products, and the size makes them perfect to tuck into a purse or glove box. I have even used them to hold my phone, debit card, and keys while running errands. When I get a bag with a pattern that isn’t my favorite I tuck it aside and fill it with products that I receive that are also not my favorite and I give it to my sister to try. That way it’s not a loss on the bag because she generally likes them and can use them to store things as well, and I’m not just tossing products I don’t care for.
This month I got some great products to sample!
I researched some of my goodies on their websites and my goodness was my bag packed full of value and full sized products this month! There is generally at least one full sized product in each bag. This month, my Naked Cosmetics eye shadow and Rimmel London balm were both full sized, and possibly also my Ciate nail polish and Manna Kadar Blush! If they are, that is a $56.48 value in just those 4 products and I still received the Bahama Mama deluxe sized sample and the bag!
You can also earn additional free products though your reviews. Each product review that you submit earns around 15 points and the reviews are very simple and short. You can spend about 3 minutes reviewing your whole bag and earn 65 points to shop with. The rewards that you can purchase with your points are also deluxe sized samples. Another way to earn points is through referring people. If you use my referral link you will get points when you sign up and I will also get points for referring you.
I highly recommend Ipsy, it is the only subscription service that I have had for more than 6 months without canceling and can see myself keeping long term. It helps me curb my spending as well; I don’t find myself wandering into Ulta and Sephora nearly as often because I know I have already paid for a package of goodies that will be arriving straight to my mailbox. You would be hard pressed to walk into either of those stores and leave for under $10 and then you would still have to drive there and back and pay for the gas to do so. I can walk out to the mailbox to get my Ipsy bag in my pajamas if I want, sounds like a no-brainer to me. Haha
The other subscription I kept is to PrintFix and is $5 a month. It is an app that allows you to create a photo book with up to 50 pictures each month and they send it right to your door! The app is free; the service is just $5 a month. I just started this subscription in December after receiving a code for a free book and having just received my first book, I can honestly say that I really like it! It is about $0.10 per picture but includes them being bound in a book with time and date stamps on perforated sheets so that you have the option to remove them if you would rather use them in other ways, and let’s not forget that it includes shipping!
I find the cover design very helpful; it includes places where you can write about what pictures are in the book. My cover this month was a mustard colored knot inspired print and I’m not sure if that is how they all are or if they vary each month but I am looking forward to finding out. My second book is already in production!
I am a shutter-happy person by nature and the fact that I have camera in my pocket almost 24/7 brings me immense joy. Unfortunately it also brings me thousands of pictures that I would likely never have in any form other than the digital copy on my phone. I have already decided that I will use each month’s book to print 50 pictures from the previous month. That way, I can label them with the month and the year and have my pictures on hand to share or look through.
If you would like to try Print Fix free for a month, just download the free app onto your smart phone from your app store and use the code FRAZIER3349 at check out. Your first book will be free! You can then decide if you want to keep the subscription or not.
I had finally gotten down to two subscriptions a month for just $15 when Birchbox sent me an email and I decided to give them a second chance. I redid my profile and am hoping that my samples will be better suited to me this time. If not I’ll just cancel it again.
I had Birchbox for about 6 months in the beginning of 2016 but one day I noticed that I had an unopened box that had been sitting on my vanity for several weeks and decided to cancel it. What I didn’t realize was that I still had points from that subscription! Their points are similar to Ipsy’s you can earn them through reviewing products as well as referring people, but unlike Ipsy they also have a store online where you can purchase full sized products and earn points on those purchases as well. Also unlike Ipsy, your points are redeemable towards those purchases.
I found out that I had $8.50 left in rewards points and was browsing their store to use them when I found their discount page. I found the travel size of Living Proof dry shampoo marked 30% off! It was originally $12, the discount dropped it $3.60, and my point redemption dropped it another $8.50, making it a whopping $0.34!
I am still waiting on my first box from my renewed subscription, but am excited that I have already received my dry shampoo.
If you would like to try Birchbox , follow the link below! Each month the sign up bonus is different. For January 2017 it is 50% off your first box. Just follow my link Select the monthly box, click “Get your box now” and use code BB17-0146 at checkout.
While Parabo is not a subscription, it is a service that I use just the same.
Their prints are unique; they are printed on cardstock and shipped in the cutest little zippered pouch with a stabilizing board that I am looking forward to using in crafts. Their prints are square which I find fascinating, but selecting which pictures to print was a breeze. I just looked through my Instagram and picked my 25 prints in a matter of minutes. Using Instagram edits, the pictures are already squares so it cuts out additional editing time.
To receive 25 prints for free, just download the free app onto your smart phone from your app store and use the code FINFRU and shipping is around $8.
I really enjoy receiving subscription services and am able to use them to avoid splurging while shopping. I have found several great products that I love through both Ipsy and Birchbox but would have no issue canceling them if I felt unsatisfied for a couple months. I did it with Birchbox previously and recently with the Book of the Month Club. In total I am now spending $25 a month on subscription services and feel that is both reasonable and my limit. If I wanted to try a different service I would first cancel one that I am using.
Do you have a subscription service that you use? Is it one that I mentioned here? If not, please leave a comment with the name so I can look into trying it!
See you tomorrow for our 4th Summary Sunday!