NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - How many subscription services do you have? From various streaming services like Netflix and Hulu to workout apps and meal prep kits, it may be hard to keep track. And it seems like the pandemic has fueled the business model.
For example, AJ's Burgers in New Rochelle offers more than just the usual takeout. Owner Alan Cohen wanted to make taking home food even easier. So he created a subscription-based food pickup service during the pandemic. Customers can customize their meals online and pay weekly.
"The only difference is it's recurring but they'll have the flexibility to change it up," Cohen said. "They can still customize it but they know they're getting their meals."
Subscriptions have been booming during the pandemic with most people stuck inside and signing up for everything from Netflix to fitness and food. Many months following COVID-19, people are still taking out. And it's more economical than ever.
Some experts, though, believe subscriptions aren't necessary and can cost you, especially if you subscribe to something, forget about it, and wind up paying for nothing.
"A lot of times we don't think about it as part of our regular monthly expenses, our monthly bills," financial planner Kristen Euretig said. "When we have a lot of subscriptions, it drives up our fixed costs every month."
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Many consumer products and services have launched subscriptions, according to Adam Levinter, the author of The Subscription Boom: Why an Old Business Model Is the Future of Commerce.
"This isn't happening in just food," he said. "This is happening all over the place with personal-care companies, baby companies, cosmetics."
Levinter said that subscriptions have been growing substantially since 2011 with most people not even realizing how much they're actually subscribed to.
"Most people think they only pay for four to five subscriptions," he said. "Really, the number is double or triple that."
Those weekly or monthly payments can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars.
Cohen of AJ's Burgers said so far the subscription service is working out well for his customers and his small business. His advice to consumers? Just pay attention to what you're buying.
"America would love to go from the couch to the chair as long as they don't have to get up," he said.