Mar 06 2013

Saving time and money with Amazon Subscribe & Save?

Back in the day on this blog when I had way more time than I had money, I hit those drugstore deals so hard. I drove across town to other drugstores so I could maximize my savings. I had a stack of coupons and a plan of attack. It was awesome. I still remember the thrill of getting so many toiletries for free or almost free. It really was worth it for us while we were digging out of debt and aggressively saving money before our son was born.

That’s so not where I’m at right now. I have more money, but waaaay less time. I like to get a deal wherever I can, but time really is at a premium.

Lately, I’ve been thinking again about a Costco membership or something similar. My reasoning: I could save some money by buying in bulk, and I could go shopping less often. Save time and money, right?

But these days I just plain don’t like going shopping. It’s not the easiest trip with two little kids in the winter, and when I’m trying to mind them, it’s harder for me to bargain-hunt. And, if I do have some time to myself, I can think of other things I’d rather do than go to the grocery.

Costco membership isn’t free, of course, and then there’s that whole 30-minute one-way drive, plus untold time in the store.

We’ve been loving our Green BEAN grocery delivery and plan to continue that. It offers a variety of grocery items — excellent produce, meats, dairy and some bulk dry goods. But it doesn’t have everything I need.

I need to supplement somewhere else, so I thought I’d take another look at my tried-and-true Amazon.

Amazon’s subscription program has changed some. Your subscribe & save items now arrive on one day per month, rather than a delivery on the 5th, and another on the 12th, and so on. It keeps Amazon’s costs down that way.

Also, if you subscribe to 1-4 items for delivery in a given month, you’ll receive 5% off. But, subscribe to 5+ items to be delivered in a given month, and you’ll get 15% off everything. Note that certain s&s products within the Amazon Mom realm (namely diapers and wipes) can receive 20% off if you also have Prime and join Amazon Mom.

For more info on the Subscribe & Save program*, visit this page on Amazon

I subscribed to a few products that we’re always running out of:

  • toilet paper (I’m thrilled to have two kids who are potty-trained, but wow do we go through a lot of TP these days!). $17.77 with discount and clipped e-coupon, for 3 packs of 6 mega rolls
  • contact lens solution (at the moment this product is sold out, but I subscribed and with discount it’s $11.88 for those 2 bottles) $13.98 for the same at Walmart.com
  • dishwasher detergent ($11.79/85 ct) ($13.87 at Walmart.com) ($17.99/100 at Costco, so the Amazon is cheaper per unit)
  • toothpaste for the kids ($2.97 with discount) ($5.13 at Walmart.com)
  • Pull-Ups for night time ($31.15 with 20% discount and $2 off ecoupon. This is $0.34 each) Compared to Walmart.com’s best price of $0.42 each.
  • calcium supplement ($14.68) The cheapest I could find elsewhere for this size was $18.71 with free shipping
  • dishwashing liquid ($12.15/6 25 oz. bottles with $3 off coupon and discount for the lavender and floral scent) $17.82 for the same quantity at Walmart.com

Some of these items I won’t receive (or need) each month. Some I’ll only need every 5-6 months, and I can set my subscription to that for each item. Next month, I’ll add a few other items such as shampoo, body wash, mouth wash, razors…I don’t even know yet. My thinking is, perhaps I can stagger what we need so we’re always stocked, yet always getting that sweet 15% discount.

I can add grocery items as well.

Browse various subscribe & save categories, including grocery, beauty, health & household, pets, etc.

I used prices at Walmart.com to compare since it was easy to find identical items. With Walmart, shipping is free with certain orders over $45. But, it’s Walmart. Pfft.

I’m optimistic that if I do this right, I can indeed save a lot of time and maybe some money, too. We’re fortunate that we have some storage shelves in our garage for surplus items not ready to be stored inside.

How about you? Do you use the Subscribe & Save program? Which types of items?

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*links to Amazon are affiliate, which means if you click them and make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. Thank you!



7 Responses to “Saving time and money with Amazon Subscribe & Save?”

  1. I use subscribe & save, but usually only for 1 time purchases when an item goes on a great sale, and usually only for specialized products I can’t buy in a regular grocery store. I didn’t know about the discounts for multiple items delivered per month. I’m sure you’re getting some great deals, but I wonder if it could actually save you a trip to the store? I travel with my entourage of 3 preschoolers every week or so for groceries, so eliminating 1 trip per month would be wonderful! But I don’t know if I’ve ever made a weekly trip and only perchased staple items.
    (And way to go Vivie!)

  2. Hey Renee!

    I’d like to get to a point where I’m only going to a store maybe once a month? Or so? I dunno. Or maybe just 2x a month. The weekly trip has gotta go.

    That’s why I love our food delivery service. It’s like a CSA, but I can customize it and add other things, too. I can even add milk!

    Perhaps by getting some paper goods and toiletries in the mail, and my produce box, I can keep it to an honest-to-goodness quick trip to the store, instead of an hour each week.

  3. We’ve used Subscribe & Save for toilet paper for awhile now and just recently started using it for some toiletries and now even cereal. I found some really great deals on a bunch of types of cereals, so I was happy to stock up. I will probably start to look for some other dry goods on Amazon as well.

    I also order from Drugstore.com every so often. They have tons of clipless coupons and often have good sales to go with them. From there we get toiletries, makeup and cleaners.

    We only do our main grocery shopping like once every 4-5 weeks or so and we stock up. Then we fill in with produce, etc. with a quick trip once a week. Soooo much easier with kiddos to consider.

  4. Mary, I like that idea of Drugstore.com. Sometimes they have good sales, and sometimes you can get cashback by clicking through Ebates first.

    I’d love to get to the point of doing main shopping every month!

  5. How I have not researched this before? I use to be queen of the couponing game .. . before children. I regularly hit two drugstores and 2-3 grocery stores every week. I had our grocery bill (including cleaning supplies, toiletries, paper products and make up) down to $150 a month. And then I had children and everything blew up. I can’t even keep up with couponing at CVS and rolling extra bucks. So, I’m going to start comparing prices at Costco, Amazon and the grocery store. Thanks for this!

  6. Things blew up for me, too, once I had kids! Let me know what you find out.

  7. I think it’s a good idea to try to shop less – it not only saves time and hassle, it also saves money too. Less impulse purchases can be made if you don’t go shopping a lot.

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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