No idea what presents to buy? Subscription gift ideas that will give you the edge
Subscriptions are a lovely way to extend your Christmas joy, says Sinead Ryan
Someone I know gave his wife a gym subscription for Christmas last year. Safe to say he won't be making the same mistake twice!
Our good resolutions about getting fitter in 2018 mean gyms get a spike in new members but you can be left with a big bill to pay, by direct debit if your use isn't as regular as you thought. This week I'm looking at gym membership, with tips on how to maximise value, while minimising cost.
And if you would prefer to gift a subscription without fear of the silent treatment, there are some top picks to make 2018 the year that keeps on giving.
Joining a gym
Research shows that while two in five people aim to get fitter in January, only 63pc stick at it beyond the first three months. So, consider the following:
* Are you joining for the classes or machines? Make sure the hours and schedule suit what you want to do;
* If you're not interested in swimming, find a gym without a pool. Having one increases the monthly cost, so it's a waste if you don't use it;
* Don't forget local community or sports clubs' gyms. They're often cheaper than purpose-built facilities, even if they're more basic;
* Must you sign up for 12 months or is there a pay-as-you-go option? Ask whether you can cancel your membership at any time, or if you're locked into a year's contract. Work out your likely cost on a 'per use' basis, rather than the monthly fee. The more you go, the less it costs in real terms;
* There's often a discount for annual membership, if you're certain you'll last;
* Can you freeze payments while you're on holiday? Can a friend or partner join for a discount?
There are super, interesting gifts which involve subscriptions and it's a lovely way to extend your Christmas joy by giving something that lasts longer than the season.
If your loved one has a special hobby or interest, you'll be able to gift for the year. Here are some ideas...
Magazines: Subscribe.ie lets you choose from lots of titles including Irish Garden (€48 x 10 issues), Time magazine (€59.95 x 52 issues), Golf Digest (€80.70 x 12 issues), Maternity & Infant (€27 x 6 issues).
You can also buy the Irish Independent and Sunday Independent digital edition for €19.99 per month for every issue.
Cosmetics: Glossybox.ie is much loved by teenagers and young women. For €12 - €14 it sends a box of sample size make-up and accessories every month in a pretty pink gift box. You can sign for three, six or 12 months.
Lookfantastic.com is UK based, but with free shipping. For €20 per month (€17 if you sign for six), you get a beauty box of branded products, plus a copy of Elle magazine.
Socks: Get the man in your life a pair of socks each month from sockfancy.com. It's based in the US, but has free worldwide shipping and costs around $11 per month for sign-ups of three to 12 months. There are lots of fun selections ensuring he'll never get bored.
Feminine care: If you have a young niece who is becoming an adolescent, myladybug.ie, based in Stradbally, sends out a pack of necessities for her monthly period for €9.99 - €10.99 which are discreet, with tips and hints for getting through that time of the month.
Food and Drink: There are lots of subscription offers for the foodie in your life. Thetaste.ie compiles everything from Irish farmer's produce like jams, chocolates and chutneys straight to your door (€49 per month).
Sheridan's cheese club (€120 x 3 months) dispatches four cheeses with tasting notes, while O'Brien's Craft Beer (€72 x 3 months) will send six taster beers with notes.