By Noah Henry • July 21, 2014
These sites are loyalty programs in themselves. Once you sign up, they’ll stay loyal to you by keeping your budget in the black. A true Zen master in the art of saving knows the only way to enlightenment is shopping where there is money to be saved. That is, a website that only offers its customers true bargains. The following sites feature amazingly deep discounts on a subscription basis. If you want to become a Zen master yourself, consider signing up for one of ‘em.
Membership Sites That Save You Money
When there are thousands of retail sites offering the same incentives, indistinguishable from one another, it’s inevitable that some might go the experimental route. Gilt is one of them. It was one of the first websites to offer flash sales for members only. Its more than six million shoppers can find prices up to 60 percent off retail on designer clothing styles and tasteful home décor.
Pictured above is your typical comparison between the vendor’s price quote and the price Gilt offers. You must be a member to view the sales, and they usually last 36 hours. How do they do it? Gilt orders extremely discounted merchandise and adds a slight margin to make a profit. Sales start at noon ET every day. If you enjoy wearing tags with the names Kate Spade, Giorgio Brutini or Dolce Vita on them, Gilt is usually your best bet for the lowest prices on designer brands.
The spontaneity is free at BirchBox, but a subscription costs $10. The website puts “discovery” at the top of its business model, sending five beauty, grooming and lifestyle samples to your home every month. When you subscribe, they begin sending you these samples, and you have access to their trendy shop which can score you points. Often, they’ll send you additional free samples with your online purchase.
A lot of products ship for free as well. Simply complete an initial questionnaire and create a profile. Then, the fun will begin. If anything, you will be receiving “generously sized” free samples every month—samples from up-and-coming brands which you may have never tried. It’s worth subscribing for the mere fact that it’s like winning a monthly prize in the mail.
If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past couple years, you may have heard of Dollar Shave Club. The company burst onto the scene after they launched a YouTube video which prompted 12,000 orders in two days. But in all honesty, Michael Dubin’s outlandishly innovative monthly service probably would’ve garnered the same following if the video had never existed. It’s very simple and very cost-effective:
Choose from three different blades, depending on your shaving budget. A sweet compatible handle is complimentary for new members, too. Considering the cost of driving to your local store, buying a marked-up shaving razor, and repeating this process month after month, one subscription at Dollar Shave Club is essentially a long-term investment in “shaving” money. Do it.
Amazon weaves such an intricate web of savings-geared services it’s impossible to hate the world’s largest online retailer. And that’s rare. Its marquee service, Amazon Prime, offers free shipping and a lion’s share of free media streaming. Other Amazon services include Amazon Mom and Amazon Student.
Amazon Mom is free. Members receive 20 percent off diaper subscriptions with Subscribe & Save and free two-day shipping. They also get access to Prime Instant Video and a $10 credit when they refer someone new. Amazon Student is something I wish I had in college: with a valid .edu address, students receive six free months of Amazon Prime, free shipping, and exclusive access to deals and promotions. Plus, they get a $10 credit if they refer a friend. So, the moral of the story is, subscribe to every one of Amazon’s services if you like saving money.
The target demo for Jetsetter must be retirees with the freedom for impromptu travel. They may be the only ones who can act quickly enough on Jetsetter’s 40-percent-off flash sales on hotels, homes and tours. Personally, if I were meandering through my golden years with a penchant for seeing new sights, it’d sign up instantly as a member for free.
Interestingly, it’s an invitation-only travel community, meaning, a membership is contingent on being invited by a current member. Some might think this would stifle business, but it seems to foster a more community-like feel, which is the overall goal of the website. Jetsetter’s app was awarded the best iPhone Travel App in 2011 by Apple Store.
Noah Henry Noah Henry is an amateur movie critic, foodie, bowler, and beer reviewer. But he's no amateur when it comes to saving money, so listen up!