Many moons ago when I only had 2 or 3 kids and I wasn’t homeschooling yet (or maybe just schooling 1 of them), I used to coupon. I had a big fancy binder, I would clip my favorite coupons, and spend hours in the store scouting for my deals.
Now all I have to say about that is: No. Stinking. Way.
There’s no way I have time for that any more. And even if I did, the deals aren’t like they used to be. I have a whole post about why I don’t coupon any more, if you want to read it. But today, I want to tell you about my new love: Amazon Subscribe & Save.
Amazon Subscribe & Save is not a new thing. It’s been around for quite some time now, so whether you’ve used it or not, you’ve probably heard of it. I’ve used it off and on for about 6 years, but I only recently figured out how to really maximize the deals and save big.
If you’ve been hanging out at Our Cozy Den for any length of time, you probably already know that I try to buy most of my groceries at Gordon Food Service. While I’m not one of those moms who cooks with all organic grass fed non GMO ingredients, I do try to cook from scratch with whole, unprocessed foods and very little that comes from a box or package. GFS is awesome for this. There, I buy things like rice, flour, cheese, tomato sauce, spices, oil, and so much more. None of it is name-brand, all of it is bulk.
There are some items I could buy at GFS a little cheaper, but I choose not to. We don’t really want rough industrial toilet paper. We like Charmin. And if there are items that we need a smaller quantity (like I only need 8 oz of sour cream for a recipe), I’ll get that at Walmart.
But there are many deals to be had on Amazon Subscribe & Save that have better prices than Walmart, Costco, SAMs, or many other discount retailers!
Here are my tips for finding and maximize the deals!
1. Know the rules.
Amazon Subscribe & Save offers 5% off an item if you opt for a subscription instead of a one-time purchase. You can choose any time period, though 2 and 6 months are common. You are not obligated to any purchase beyond your initial one. In fact, I recommend cancelling ALL subscriptions once they have shipped, because the coupons/sales won’t apply to subsequent deliveries.
Here’s where you can really start to save: if you have 5 or more different products on your S&S shipment for the month, your discount jumps from 5% to 15%! This is a pretty huge savings that really adds up when combined with other deals (below).
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can also opt-in to Amazon Family, which gives you 20% off certain items, to include things like diapers and other mom-friendly things.
2. Take advantage of a month’s worth of deal-scouting.
When you first sign up for S&S, Amazon will assign you a monthly ship date. This means your S&S shipment will always go out on the 15th of the month, or 23rd, or whatever your date is. You can change this in your account, under your S&S settings.
What this means is you have an entire month to find 5 items to put in your S&S cart, to make your discount jump from 5% to 15%. If I get near my ship date and I haven’t found my 5 items yet, I do not “go shopping” to find something else I want. That’s what they want you to do. Don’t get impulse purchases and overspend. Instead, you can log into your S&S cart, and simply skip all of the items on this month’s shipment, which will push it to next month. Your coupons and sales will carry over!
I tend to place an order every other month — sometimes every 3 months — because I’m not at the point where I buy 5 things every single month.
To find my S&S deals, I follow some money-saving blogs. But they tend to get exhausting because they are posting deals from ALL websites. And let’s be honest, I don’t need that kind of temptation in my life. I sort to see only the S&S and check it every couple of days.
3. Combine SALES with COUPONS.
I love how easy it is to clip coupons on Amazon. You literally just click a button, and your coupon is clipped. It will automatically apply at checkout. You can see a full list of available coupons here. Once again, don’t give in to impulse purchases, only add the things you really use. It’s also helpful to have a price point for certain items. Like for example, when buying snacks for my kids, I love finding snacks for 15¢/serving, and I won’t buy it if it’s over 20¢/serving. I buy Charmin Ultra Soft TP when I can get it for under 25¢/roll. Once you get rolling on this, it will become easier and easier to know what’s a deal and what isn’t.
4. Have a system for your bulk purchases.
Since we buy so much in bulk — both from GFS and Amazon — it’s necessary to keep tabs on when things are running low. Keep a notepad on the fridge and write down the item when you open the last box/bottle/package. Depending on what it is, that should give you enough time to scout a deal to replace it.
5. Don’t stress it too much.
I used to be completely intimidated by the Subscribe & Save program. It seemed too complicated and there was TOO MUCH to sort through. I stopped browsing through pages and pages of deals and just did searches for the items I wanted. Stress = gone!
One of the best things about Amazon Subscribe & Save is that it comes directly to your door. You don’t have to get dressed, go to the store, find what you need, lug it to the counter, haul it home… you just have to check your front porch. It’s simple, easy, and definitely an energy-saver for this busy mom — as well as saving money!
Here are a few questions I’ve gotten from readers about this on the blog and various social media, and my answers. I’ll update it as I get new questions!
What are some of the items you regularly buy?
It changes based on what deals I see. In 2016, I got the following things through S&S: Cheez-Its, Animal Crackers, Colgate Wisps, Scrubbing Bubbles Toilet Gel, Sweet & Salty Snack Mix, Quaker Oatmeal packets, Doritos, Mott’s Applesauce pouches, Dove bar soap, Venus razor refills, Q-tips, Charmin TP, FiberOne bars, Barilla pasta, AAA batteries, Scotch tape refills, Quaker granola bars, Suave Mens shampoo, Trident gum, Pop Tarts, AA batteries.
Many of these items were things we don’t buy on a regular basis. The Pop Tarts for example — I consider those pretty unhealthy and we don’t usually eat them. However, they were for a special occasion (a BIG road trip).
Is it just for groceries?
No! You might think so, but sometimes there is the S&S option on things you wouldn’t expect, like batteries, office supplies, auto care, pet care, health & beauty (make-up), and TONS more. You can see the full Subscribe & Save store here.
How do I view or change my Subscribe & Save cart?
Log in to Amazon, and click the dropdown menu that says “Account & Lists”, then choose “Your Subscribe & Save Items”. There you can cancel or skip deliveries, add new items, change billing/shipping info, change your ship date, and any other account maintenance you want to do!
Will they remind me that my order is shipping soon?
Yes! I get an email about a week before my order ships, so I have a few days to edit the shipment if there’s something I don’t want.