Amazon Subscribe & Save: Save Hundreds & Automate Your Shopping

amazon subscribe and save

One of the best things about being out of debt (or even not being in debt up to your eyeballs) is that you can occasionally afford to spend a little more upfront to save more on the backend. For example, a few years ago we started a budgeting category (see how to make a budget) to pay our car insurance premiums. Our particular car insurance company offers a $60/year discount if you pay the full amount rather than paying monthly. So by budgeting the full payment/12 each month we are able to save $60 a year.

While it may not sound like much, I see opportunities like this all around me, and as we take advantage of more of them it just allows us to progress faster towards our financial goals. Recently I have been looking for opportunites like this with bulk grocery and household items.

Automate your shopping with Amazon.com

It turns out that Amazon.com sells groceries (mostly dry goods) and many household products as well. So I figured that I could buy some of the products that we purchase month in and month out anyway from them in bulk and at a discounted rate.

Subscribe and Save

After digging in a little, it turns out that in addition to the bulk discount they have a program called Subscribe & Save – which (as the name suggests) allows you to set up a subscription to that particular product (you will have one sent every 1,2,3 or 6 months) and they reward you with an additional 15% discount. Combine that with the time and fuel saved going to grocery store or Target each month and you can start to see how the savings can add up.

I wanted to dig in and do a little comparison shopping to see how the prices stack up. From what I have seen it seems like it would be pretty easy to save a couple hundred dollars a year using Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program.

I did some comparisons vs. my local grocery store and some against Walmart (who prides themselves on low prices). As you can tell below, not every item came out cheaper (against Walmart) using the Subscribe and Save, but some of them came out big winners. And if you factor the cost of your time and fuel costs, etc, you could make a strong argument for Amazon’s program.

Spreadsheet Calculator

Since I am a spreadsheet nerd (as my wife calls me) I created one to compare the costs. You are free to use it on Google Docs here (anyone can edit it, so try not to break it for everyone else ;) ). I used it to calculate the data listed in the table below…

Comparing Amazon’s Subscribe and Save

Product Local Grocery Store or Walmart PX/yr Amazon SnS PX/yr Annual Savings Using Amazon Subscribe & Save
Seventh Generation Dish Liquid $32.04 $25.82 $6.22
Kleenex Facial Tissues $54.96 $62.63 -$7.67
Epson 78 Printer Cartridge $59.52 $40.47 $19.05
Duracell AA Batteries 20-Pack $21.88 $16.95 $4.93
Tide HE Laundry Detergent $190.32 $112.20 $78.12
Huggies Little Snugglers Diapers $285.29 $195.32 $89.97
Bounty Paper Towels $51.17 $47.06 $4.11
Organic Maple Syrup $132.80 $67.32 $65.48
Newman’s Own Organic Raisins $89.80 $59.76 $30.05
Total Savings: $290.25

Costs listed above include shipping costs and are based on my best guess estimates of how much of a particular item we would use in a given year. You can see more of the specifics in the spreadsheet.

My Questions I had about the program

Before signing up I had a few questions that I needed to get answered. You can find many of the answers at Amazon’s Subscribe & Save Page, but here are the answers to my concerns….

  • You can cancel your subscription at any time.
  • They only charge you when the item ships
  • All orders ship for free
  • They send you an email before they send the next item, so if you haven’t used up what you have you can adjust (or cancel) your subscription.

Conclusion

After running some numbers we have concluded that we will save hundreds each year using the program (we will be subscribing to more than what is listed above). And almost equally as exciting to me is the fact that in some cases it will save me a trip to Target and that I don’t have to think about buying toilet paper ever again. ;)

If it sounds like something you might be interested in, I recommend checking out some of the eligible Subscribe & Save items and using the spreadsheet to see what kind of savings it would yield for you.



















FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: In order for us to maintain this website, some of the links in the post above may be affiliate links. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to readers. Read more here.

10 Comments
Add a comment
  1. Now that is great money saving information. I will definitely check the SSP.
    Thanks
    CinPep

  2. I didn’t know about this program – it sounds pretty good. I’m all about saving money and TIME, so this might be something to look into.

    I wonder if you can request the shipment earlier if you run out of a product..

    By the way..that’s a lot of maple syrup ;) Almost have to create a new line in the budget for it!

  3. I recently thought of purchasing cosmetics and toiletries online because I only use a few select items all the time. This is something I will be looking into because it looks like I can save money here…even with the cost of shipping.

  4. This sounds great BUT I am greatly concerned with Amazon’s selling policy of porn and kiddie porn. I will not be using Amazon until they pull all this stuff off!

  5. Thank you for publishing this article to my weekly compilation.

    Hope to see another one soon.

    http://ditchtheboss.blogspot.com/2010/11/your-financial-independence-compilation.html

  6. I’ll tell you what else is a cool service to combine with subscription to groceries–Amazon Prime! Yes, there’s a fee: $79 per year. But it means you’ll get FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING with no shipping minimum. So you’ll get your subscription orders in only 2 days.

    Bob–if you haven’t already checked this out, you might want to check into a free trial with Amazon Mom subscription. The trial includes 3 free months of Amazon Prime–and with the holidays upon us, I can’t think of a better time to have free 2-day shipping! (Plus, you get a discount on diapers and other mom stuff–and no, you don’t actually have to be a mom to sign up.)

  7. Did you know that if you’re an Amazon Affiliate and someone orders through you, you can earn a commission each time a Subscribe and Save item is shipped? It’s pretty interesting when you start to think about getting that small income over and over. What do you think of this idea to generate passive income and/or to get “free” products?
    http://moneyformyhoney.blogspot.com/2011/01/get-free-everyday-products.html

    • Corey: I’ve tried what you’re doing. It can work, just make sure you make the writing of your blog the top priority, not the sale of items on it! You’ll do much better that way! :)

  8. I used subscribe and save to get Fancy Feast appetizers and Fancy Feast Cat food, as well a few other things. I cancelled all today. This is a classic bait and switch system. Watch your bill. The savings you see will only happen the first month. After that, I wound up paying double to what I would pay locally. Read the fine print. Amazon has the option of raising the prices as much as they want after the first month. I would avoid this service or if you are in it, make sure to check the costs every month.

    • They send an email each month to confirm the price. I have only had one item go up to much in a years time. Love subscribe and save. I never think about toilet paper or garbage bags anymore!

Add a comment

*