The Subscription Craze

Since the early 1900s, our culture has become incredibly engrossed with the entertainment industry. Both producers and businesses alike have capitalized on making big bucks off of entertainment, ranging from sports to film and live concerts and more. Of course, consumers eat this stuff up, as it’s a way to get away from the daily life and do something that they enjoy specifically. Thanks to everyone’s niche likely getting some love from entertainment in some capacity, you’ll never be left out no matter how weird or unique your hobbies are.

In this age, Netflix has completely overhauled what entertainment is like. Considering how huge film was not that long ago (and don’t get me wrong, it’s still big) and even how big of a fad video stores were for renting movies and episodes in a series, things have become drastically different in a sudden wink of an eye.

So, this has caused everyday people to have gained a huge amount of convenience in such a service. And boy does it show. People are much more likely to stay in and watch something on Netflix than actually go out to a film or rent something from a store (let alone buy anything new). Instead of buying expensive popcorn and candy boxes at the theatre, they’re much more likely to buy cheap popcorn and cheap candy boxes from the store to bring home for a binging marathon.

And this all happens from the comfort of your own home. Talk about Netflix absolutely hitting gold on a business model. What’s super great for consumers is how affordable a monthly subscription to Netflix is. They’ve priced their product so perfectly that people can’t help but talk about how cheap it is rather than how much of an inconvenience it is on their wallet. (Of course, people fail to include their monthly internet bill in the conversation when talking about Netflix despite that being 3 to 4 times as much.)

What’s quite telling is how this subscription model has taken over in other industries, too. People want the convenience of not leaving their home and not paying that much. And auto renewal payments just make the cycle even more simple, which is all the average consumer wants.

I’d say within a few years we can even start to expect things like craft beer subscriptions where something new comes to your house every month, giving you a wide array of options to try out and see what you like. This is just the nature of our society in this time.

Reusing Your Cardboard

I’ve always been a huge fan of holding on to things (especially supplies and materials) that you think you no longer need. This is especially so for anything that’s often regarded as trash or mere packaging. For example, think of all the cardboard boxes you’ve ever had in your life. Now try to imagine the percentage of those you could’ve broken down and stored away for future use but are instead somewhere in a landfill, taking up space for no reason?

For as versatile and eco-friendly as cardboard is, we have a habit of throwing it straight in the trash instead of using it around the house for storage, recycling it, or even using it for mulch or composting. Why is it that we are always so obsessed with throwing things away?

The short answer is because we’re lazy. The long answer? Because the landfill system has made gathering trash and tossing it in a hole in the ground far easier than alternative methods. So, with a system made for us to be lazy, we’re all going to be lazy and choose the laziest option. Why would it have turned out any other way?

I try to do my part, though, in holding onto cardboard from packaging instead of tossing it straight in the trash. In fact, the last option I choose is recycling it. And I only resort to that if I don’t have use for it, don’t end up burning it, or can’t use it in organic matter, such as mulch and composting. (Yes, you can do both of these if you take the time to learn the process and do it on your own.)

Ultimately, we have to learn to start taking responsibility for our actions, and that includes everyday actions like tossing things in the trash.

If you happen to think of it, refuse to throw your cardboard boxes away the next time you get something in the mail from online. Heck, even if you got it from the store and it’s packaged in cardboard, make the conscious effort to break it down and store it away. And if you already have a huge amount of cardboard because you’ve been doing this, choose to recycle instead of trash it! It cannot be understated how much reducing your trash and reusing things from packaging helps to benefit the environmental state of the world. If only everyone would take the time to recycle one piece of cardboard once a week, things wouldn’t look so bleak.

A Big Question

Often you can find me writing about topics that have meaning to me or tie into my recent life doing. Sometimes, it’ll be about my hobbies and adventures, so you’ll begin to see more things centered around festivals, road trips, hiking, concerts, and camping. And at other points, you’ll see the lifestyle articles, such as pieces on organization, budgeting, and indoor improvements to your home.

Today, I’m leaning a little more towards the latter. In fact, I’ve recently proposed to my girlfriend of almost 3 years, and so I’m kind of interested in chatting about something a lot of people don’t consider: the ring box.

Here’s the thing to consider: most jewelers will give you a box with a place for the ring to sit. This is mostly for proposing and showcasing the ring itself so that it can be on display when opened but easily portable and hidden on the go.

But the thing is, those little boxes are hardly ever easily hidden when you’ve yet to pop the question. They’re always too big for real pockets. They’re so bulky that even putting them somewhere else, like a small bag or satchel, will cause a bulge.

There just never seems to be a low profile box for you to carry your ring in safely while not drawing attention to itself. I always thought there should be some way for a box to be a thing and low profile while the ring is stored, yet able to be manipulated in a way that the ring can be on display once the box is opened. I mean, honestly, what’s so tough to make a few small adjustments to a box so that it can prop the ring up (even if it needs to be done manually) when it’s open, yet the ring can lay flat and discreet when it’s closed. There should be no reason that an impression must be noticed in your pocket if you’re about to ask because that’s a dead giveaway that you’re about to propose.

It’s not like it needs to be high tech. All I’m saying is that the current “boxes” you’re given by jewelers are glorified mini cardboard boxes. Yes, I truly think that they hand out tiny cardboard boxes that happen to have some cushioning inside that protects the ring.

To me, they can do better than this for customers that spend upwards of 3 or 4 thousand dollars on average. (In fact, the actual average seems to be above $5,500 in current times. Couldn’t the jeweler find a way to spend 50 bucks on a ring box that is nice, discreet, and useable for other rings, too?)

Gifts for Minor Holidays

Mother’s Day got me to thinking about inexpensive little gifts you can get for your mother on that specific holiday and even the things you could pick up for your dad on Father’s Day, another holiday that comes not long after Mother’s Day. While these two holidays don’t necessarily mean you must get something for your parents, it’s one of those things that shows you were thinking about them and went out of your way to pick up a gift for them.

Sometimes it can be hard to hone in on a specific item that you think your mom or dad has been needing for awhile, something that’s very particular to their tastes and hobbies. These are the gifts that, in my opinion, are better off left to bigger holidays and birthdays.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, however, are two days where you can afford to pick up a more generic, unintentional gift just to show you care.

So, check out a few of our quick, easy ideas for these two holidays to let your parents know you’re thinking about them but didn’t break the bank for them (because that’s the last thing they want from their kids).

Candy.

If anything, a few candy boxes is a way to tell your parents that it’s alright to have a little extra sugar since they deserve a break from the everyday grind. The best part is that you can pick up their favorite candy boxes in just about any store that sells packaged goods. They’re cheap, easy to get, and you usually should have an idea what candies your parents would be fine with eating.

Sandals/hats.

I always find that these items go perfectly with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, simply because these two holidays pretty much kick off the great summer weather everyone has been waiting for. And even better, you can’t really screw up a pair of sandals or a ball cap so long as you’re in the general ballpark of your parents’ feet size and head size (but hats aren’t as much a problem with snapbacks being one size fits all).

Gift cards.

Last but not least, a gift card or two allows your parents to go out on a date together when they can afford the time. It doesn’t have to be a huge amount of money.

Just try to think of what a typical meal would cost for two at whatever restaurant you happened to get them a gift card for. So long as it mostly covers the bill, it’s a great way to tell your parents to get out of the house and spend an evening together.

Memorial Day

Early summer marks a time of the year when some important holidays fall on the calendar. While most of us may start to think of Memorial Day when I say this, I’m talking about two equivalent holidays that are some of the most celebrated throughout the summer only behind Memorial Day and the 4th of July: those days would be Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

As a kid, I never quite understood why moms and dads everywhere got their own specific holiday to have celebrated for them, yet there was nothing along the lines of son’s day or daughter’s day. Or just a children’s day in general. I always, always thought it was unfair that my parents had dedicated days for them on top of their birthdays.

That’s because I was naive and never really noticed how geared towards kids Halloween, Christma, and Easter are. I was a selfish little kid for thinking my parents didn’t deserve their own holiday.

As I grew older, I started realizing what the days meant for them, and for our family in general, it almost always meant spending the day doing whatever my mom or dad wanted and eating the food they loved most. Sometimes we’d buy them some little gifts, but for the most part it was more about being there for them and spending time with them (as that’s one of the best gifts a parent can think of from their children).

Now that I’m older and live alone in a different state from my parents, though, it won’t be as easy to make it home twice within a month’s span to celebrate both holidays with my parents. So things have become a little more challenging, especially when my partner’s parents live in the same city as us, so we’ll probably be spending time with them at their place.

Luckily, though, my parents don’t care too much about it and realize that we all have our limitations as adults now with separate lives. That’s why I’m planning on getting a few things for my mom and dad, wrapping it all up in a few cardboard boxes, and having them shipped to their home as gifts for their respective days. I don’t think there’s anything my parents would mind about some gifts in cardboard boxes, so I’m all about doing something as a gesture to show them I still care and I just can’t be there.

No matter what happens, though, I’ve learned to see the holidays for what they are. Parents put up with so much stuff throughout the year that they deserve to have at least a single day each year where everyone else tends to them. (And I say this in full confidence knowing I’ll enjoy the heck out of my Father’s Days in the future when I have kids.)