Living with credit, New products

Amazon Subscribe and Save can save … sometimes

Kimberley Carmona

I hate going to the grocery store. I am just not patient enough to wait in line to purchase things such as laundry detergent or to find and use store coupons. To save myself trips and money, I started using Amazon’s Subscribe and Save.

How it works: Amazon’s Subscribe and Save allows you to subscribe to household goods and choose how often you want the goods to arrive at your door.

To make Subscribe and Save more tempting, Amazon provides discounts for subscription items. If you subscribe to one item, you get a 5 percent discount off the price. If you subscribe to five or more items, you receive a 15 percent discount off the total price.

The catch is that everything has to arrive at the same place at the same time, whether it is monthly or every three months. Shipping is also free.

One day at work, my co-workers and I talked about Subscribe and Save. They wanted to know if customers saved money or if it was just the convenience of getting items delivered. I said that ordering through Amazon was the cheapest choice.

During my next trip to the grocery store, I found myself checking on prices on goods that I had subscribed to on Amazon. A few items had store coupons that made it cheaper than Amazon’s prices. That is when I realized that I had to re-evaluate Subscribe and Save.

To figure out if I am saving money, I compared prices on the five items I currently subscribe to. Because Amazon sold the Clean & Clear scrub in a package of two, I doubled the price for Wal-Mart and Target.

Wal-Mart Amazon’s Subscribe and Save Target
Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Scrub $9.94 for two scrubs $9.48 for two scrubs $9.98 for two scrubs
Burt’s Bees Lip Balm – Package of 2 $4.92 $4.28 $4.92
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes – 225 Value Pack $8.97 $9.51 $9.99
Febreze NOTICEables – 2 reffils $9.47 $9.49 $9.99
Clorox Toilet Wand Refills – 20 count $8.48 $8.48 $8.69
Discounts 0 15 percent discount 0
Total: $41.78 $35.05 $43.57

The winner? Amazon Subscribe and Save saved me $6.73 for this month’s subscription on five items. Wal-Mart came in second. Target finished third.

Amazon’s service also provides coupons to help bring down costs. None of my items had coupons available, so I was able to save the 15 percent. Of course, I save even more when you factor in my time and gas spent driving to and from brick-and-mortar stores.

With Subscribe and Save, the items listed arrive at my doorstep every two months. By learning how much is used, I was able to schedule the delivery at the perfect time to get that 15 percent discount.

I was relieved to discover that Subscribe and Save saved me the most money. However, after doing a price-comparison, the subscription service does not always provide the cheapest options when it comes to food.

For example, a 60-packages box of Nature Valley Biscuits with Almond Butter costs $46.50 on Amazon. Costco has a 30-packages box for $12.98. At that rate, a 60-packages box would cost $25.96 at Costco. That alone would save me $20.54.

Another way to save money is to remember that Amazon prices fluctuate. By staying on top of your subscription items and their prices, you will save the most money. When Amazon emails 10 days before a recurring delivery to inform you of the payment, that gives you time to find a cheaper item at the store and cancel the subscription for that cycle.

Before you start to subscribe to items on Amazon, figure out what items are best to have delivered for you and your household. In my case, Amazon is cheaper for toiletries and cleaning supplies. I haven’t tried it yet for groceries.

But Amazon Subscribe and Save is saving me money. It also saves me a trip to the store.

See related: Save money by having groceries delivered? Yes!

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