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I’m a big fan of automation. Not having to think about mundane things on a regular basis is always attractive, since I want to be able to focus on things that are important as often as possible. Enter Manpacks, a service that automatically sends male underwear every three months, which they figure is just often enough to keep you well stocked.

On its face, it seems just about perfect: I’d have fresh, clean clothes for $8 a month. I certainly spend more than $8 a month on less important things, and I suspect some of my undershirts could use replacing, not to mention the mysterious drop in sock attendance I’ve noticed lately. (Mysterious, but par for the course.)

I did a little digging, both on the site and in my brain, and discovered some other aspects:

  • Shipping is $6, every three months, so it’s really $10 a month (admittedly not a huge jump)
  • I really have no idea how often I buy new socks, or other underwear. I know it’s more than every three months, but does that make me a slob?
  • There’s also the environmental cost of having trucks and planes deliver me this package every three months, when I could just be buying only what I need the next time I’m at the store buying other things
  • What do I do with the old underwear? (Pleasantly, Manpacks has some honorable suggestions, including Goodwill.)

As you might know, I’m currently aggressively paying down my credit card debt, (except when other things get in the way), but I’d love to live vicariously through one of you. Do you subscribe to any automatic necessity delivery services, clothing or otherwise?

Updated December 22, 2011 and originally published March 23, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Smithee formerly lived primarily on credit cards and the good will of his friends. He is a newbie to personal finance but quickly learning from his past mistakes. You can follow him on Twitter, where his user name is @SmitheeConsumer. View all articles by .

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

There is a local dairy that delivers milk to your doorstep, like an old-fashioned milk man. They deliver a half gallon every three days. I have co-worker who uses the service and swears by it. The price is on par with organic milk bought in the store. I’m tempted to try it, but my wife and I simply don’t consume that much milk. We would probably wind up throwing half of it away.

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avatar Kevin

About a month ago I signed up for Alice.com which can help with automated purchase and delivery of a variety of household products. I think it’s a great idea. However, I checked out 25-30 products on the site that I use on a regular basis. After a little more investigation on my next regular shopping trip, I found out that at least 80% of the items were more expesive on the site than in the store I normally shop, sometimes significantly. I guess that’s part of being in an area with a low cost of living, it makes the convenience cost that much more. For me, the added cost (about 20% more over the full list of items I looked at) was not worth it.

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avatar Mary

I subscribe to toilet paper from Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program. It costs very slightly more than I’d pay for it at Target, but any time I can save myself a trip to Target I figure I’m saving $5-10 not buying the random little things I always end up with. Plus it’s awesome just always having toilet paper and not having to think about it!

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avatar The Biz of Life

Why don’t you just go Marine style and use the 8 bucks you save to pay down debt.

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avatar Lulu

I think Manpacks is an interesting idea for those guys who never seem to notice when they need new underwear. I have an ex who wears out undershirts/socks like a crazy person…yet I always seem to have to remind him to get new stuff.

I wonder if there is a female version or do they think that women stay more on top of getting new underwear than guys do.

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avatar Steve

Whenever I sign up for some sort of subscription, I end up with the stuff piling up not getting used. Magazines, produce delivery, etc.

Do people really go through almost a pair of underwear and pair of socks every month? I guess I buy a bunch (10-20) of each every few years – which works out to something vaguely like 2/3rds of a pair a month.

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avatar Erica Douglass

Smithee, reality check. You have a lot of monthly fees for one thing or another (my memory says DNC, plus a podcast subscription, and that’s just what I can remember from your earlier posts.)

I have a lot of spare money. But I aggressively pare down subscriptions. Right now, you don’t need another subscription. You need to get a grip on your finances, and start a side hustle so that you can make more money than you are now. And you need to work on your money beliefs.

Instead of buying more consumables, why not get one business or money-related book from the library and review it here every week? You may learn a lot.


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avatar Eric

Oh Erica the pragmatist :)

But yeah truthful words.

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avatar Harm

Seems a bit desperate….I mean both the business model and writing about it. And giving old
undies to Goodwill? Get real! Waste of money, imho.

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avatar Anthony

I’d have to agree with Erica. I honestly can’t remember the last time that I purchased underwear (probably about two years ago). I don’t think I’m a slob, and every item is still clean…

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avatar jim

This service is over priced. You’d be paying $10 / month or $120 a year and getting 8 pairs of socks, 8 pairs briefs & 8 t-shirts. That should cost about $50 at Walmart. So just order yourself a years worth of undearwear once a year online at Walmart and save yourself $70 a year.

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avatar Candide

True, but WalMart should be avoided, given that it’s evil.

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avatar No Debt Plan

I guess I’m still sort of baffled.

Who needs new underwear every 3 months?

What are you people doing to ruin perfectly good underwear that quickly?

Maybe my desk job life just isn’t as intense as yours… but I hardly buy new undershirts/underwear every year! They go in the washer and out the dryer just like a new pair…

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avatar Financial Uproar

Who buys underwear at Goodwill? Gross!

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