How to Make the Most of Amazonís Subscribe & Save Feature
Amazon introduced its Subscribe & Save option on select products in 2007. Since then, online subscription shopping has become more popular, and Amazon has grown the number of items that qualify for the program. Here’s how it works, and how you can use it to save money on weekly, monthly, or yearly purchases.
It’s really pretty simple. Search for a product on Amazon—say dish washer detergent—and look for the Subscribe & Save bubble on the right-hand side of the page. Here, you’ll also be able to select the size (if applicable), quantity, and delivery frequency and schedule of the product. You can change your settings any time on the Manage Your Subscriptions page.
Several days before your delivery is set to ship, you’ll receive an email from Amazon reviewing the shipment details. You can skip or cancel a delivery at this point—say if you haven’t run out of toothpaste yet or you want to switch brands. This email will also show you the price of your item(s), and this is where you need to really pay attention to be sure you save money.
Amazon’s prices vary by day and even by hour, so the price you saw when you signed up for a subscription may not be the price you pay for it in six months. But, with the skip or cancel option emailed to you before each delivery, it’s easy to forego an expensive purchase. While automating purchase like this can make life in general easier, this is one subscription where the price changes, so you’ll need to be a little but more involved with it than with your Netflix subscription.
Or, you can sign up for price alerts on a third-party website and then go online to manually buy the desired items at their lowest price. It’s a little more work and requires diligence, but you can reap consistent discounts and the benefits of doorstep delivery if you’re willing to run out and buy from store on the weeks it’s more expensive to buy from Amazon.
If you order five or more products to be delivered in a single month to a single address, you can save up to an additional 15%. Prime members can save 20% under these same parameters when ordering items like diapers, baby food and formula, and children’s vitamins. Regardless of if you’re a Prime member or not, you’ll get free shipping on all Subscribe & Save orders.
To save even more on items you don’t usually buy, you can use other deal and coupon websites that list or notify you of the best Subscribe & Save deals for the month, which you can add to your regular order before it ships. Amazon also offers coupons that you can virtually “clip” and apply to your order.
Any way you slice it, this Amazon feature can be useful. Just be sure you’re maximizing the savings and only ordering when you need the items!