Sunday, May 10, 2015

Can Subscription Services Be Helpful For Chronically Ill People?

For those who aren’t familiar with subscription services, there are online companies that you can pay for a subscription for a given type of item like food, makeup, and clothes.  The items are sent directly to your door.  There are so many subscription services out there now that you are bound to have heard of one them.

I have used two subscription services – Hello Fresh (food) and Stitch Fix (clothes). 


Hello Fresh is a subscription program where you get meals sent to you.  To be clear, YOU have to cook the food.  They send you recipes and basically all of the ingredients needed for each recipe and you make the meals yourself. 

This is great for people who may know how to cook but never know what to make.  For chronically ill people, this doesn’t exactly help if you don’t have the energy to cook.  But if you have a spouse who can cook, this saves time by not having to go to the grocery store. 

They have both a classic box and a veggie box.  You can get three meals for two people or three meals for four people.

I got a Groupon for this, so it cost me $20 for three vegetarian meals for two people, which would normally cost $59.

Overall, it was a fun experience getting to try random recipes.  We knew exactly what we were eating for three days, which was nice. 

At $20, this was a great value.  I am not sure how much of a great value it is at $59, other than the convenience of it.   At $59, it basically averages out to $10 a meal per person.  While that’s cheaper than eating out, we definitely can make meals on our own that cost less than that per person.

Like I said, this can be a great option for chronically ill people, depending on what your specific situation is.

The only thing you have to be careful of is that when you sign up, Hello Fresh automatically schedules your delivery for once-a-week.  You can change it to twice-a- month or you can deactivate your account.  But if you’re like me and you just wanted to try it once for fun, make sure you change the schedule – that is – unless you fall in love and want to receive a new box of food and recipes every week. 

Stitch Fix is a subscription service that sends you clothes.  You pay $20, which is applied to any items you buy – so if you order and don’t end up buying anything, you are out $20 – and you get five different items.  If you end up buying all of the items sent to you, you save 25%.  They provide a return package that you can use to send back any items that you don’t want.    

If you’re like me, and you are prone to getting stuck in clothes in the fitting room of stores because RA limits the range of motion in your arms, this takes that anxiety away. 

My first fix was a total bust.  None of the items fit right nor did I really like them.  Stitch Fix was nice enough to send me the next fix for free (they gave me a $20 credit), which was awesome.  Based on the things I really liked, and for the price, it made sense for me to purchase all of them the second time around.

They sent me a pair of skinny jeans.  I have been wanting a pair for a long time, but I hate jean shopping.  I won’t do it.  So even though the jeans were pricey, it was worth it to me because this is the only conceivable way I see getting jeans.  Plus, I’m petite, and lengthwise the jeans were perfect, which is saying a lot. 

I also got an amazing asymmetric sweater that can be either causal or fancy, and I have been wearing it everywhere.  It’s made of a really soft material and is heavy enough to wear as a spring jacket.  It also just looks really flattering. 

The clothes, even though I said I wanted the cheaper, the better, are pretty pricey.  But again, you are paying for the convenience of not having to go to the store, not having to potentially get stuck in an item you don’t want in a fitting room, and you can be upset in private if none of the items work for you.

I think the best advice is to provide a lot of feedback about what you are looking for.  You can put Stitch Fix into Pinterest and see what other people have gotten.  You can pin things and provide Stith Fix with the link, and they can send you items very similar to, or sometimes even the same as, the ones you pinned.  At the very least, they get a better idea of what styles you like.  Not to mention, there is an extensive profile that you fill out for them with your sizes and they provide groups of clothes that you can rate by what you like and don’t like. 

The other nice thing about Stitch Fix is that you can schedule them whenever you want and aren’t married to getting one every week or on a specific schedule.   

This is a great service.  I can’t say enough about it.  The quality of the clothes is high, the stylists really listen to you if you provide them with feedback, and you don’t have to leave your house to shop.  Dangerous, I know.  

If you’re interested, please use the following link – – as I get referral credit on my account.


I hope that this post has been helpful.  I know that many of us chronically ill people don’t have a lot of disposable income.  But subscription services may just be worth the extra money for the convenience of it all.    And I know that many chronically ill people look for ways to make life easier.   These services definitely do that.  Why do something that someone else can do for you?    


  1. I love subscription boxes. They're actually what inspired me to send those care packages last spring. I was browsing boxes, and thought, "there really ought to be a spoonie box." I'm not going to start a whole business around it, but got to have the fun of curating a box of goodies for some of my rheummates. :-)

  2. This is a world I'd love to explore. I'm going to look for Groupons and give it a try. I'd cook more if I didn't have to shop for the ingredients. Thanks for this idea.
    Joanna Charnas, Author: Living Well with Chronic Illness