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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6, 2014

Sock of the month club toes the line on silly spending

By Clark Howard

Subscription plans for products or services are popping up all over. And while getting you to pay an automatic, recurring monthly fee for something is a marketeer's dream, I have long warned you to be careful with such plans.

I'd much prefer you manage your payments manually so you can keep close tabs on your monthly spending.

Now there's a new emerging form of subscription and it's one that sounds so silly, I almost thought it was a joke when I read the headline on the story in The New York Times!

Companies offer "sock of the month" clubs geared heavily toward men where they'll send you one outrageous pair of socks every 30 days in exchange for a monthly fee of $10 to $12, plus shipping.

Among the fledgling outfits pushing this business model are Soxiety, Sock Panda, and Ankle Swagger, to name just a few. The funniest thing of all? In some cases, guys are just getting a pair of plain black socks at $12 a pop, month after month!

Now I don't know about you, but I feel bad when I spend $2 for a pair of socks…but $12 every month?! You can just go to Target or Walmart and buy a pack of 12 black dress socks for a unit price of $2 or less. If you want something fancier, try Costco's Kirkland Signature brand for around $2.50 a pair.

It's neat to see new startups succeed in today's market. But I think this is a case of overspending on something you could get for much cheaper.

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