Amazon Subscribe & Save or Amazon Pantry…Which is Right for You?


Are you eager to know whether you can save more with Amazon Subscribe & Save or Amazon Pantry? If so, let’s just get things rolling with one basic answer, which is this: If you are looking to save money using Amazon Pantry or Amazon Subscribe & Save, you are comparing apples and oranges. In other words, you can save money with both because they are actually quite unique from one another.

Start with Amazon Prime

To begin with, I always ask people if they are Amazon Prime members. If they answer in the negative, I immediately grill them as to precisely why that is the case. After all, and according to the famous Consumer Reports, there are so many benefits that it makes sense for just about anyone to pay for the annual membership ($99).

Yes, you should consider just whether or not you are someone who can benefit and/or take advantage of what membership offers. Yet, if you are like me, and despise heading out for annual holiday shopping, the cost of membership with its free and fast shipping, low prices and wide variety make it well worth it just for that issue alone. However, there are so many times and ways you can find whatever you need, at a very low price, and shipped for free just because of that membership, and that’s not where it ends. Let’s just take a few minutes to explore all of the benefits (apart from mall-free holiday shopping):

  • You can go month to month if you are willing to pay $13 instead of the flat $99 for an annual subscription
  • You get free two-day shipping, no matter what the dollar amount or complexity of the order
  • You enjoy all of the free videos thanks to the include streaming serves, and you get access to many low cost rentals
  • You can enjoy free same-day deliver on more than one million items, and tens of thousands of others if you are within the Prime Now delivery radius
  • You get Prime Music as part of your experience, which is like Pandora without any ads or inquiries about still listening
  • You can store an unlimited number of photos in your Prime Photos area of your Cloud Drive
  • You can be part of the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library with more than 800k eBooks. You borrow one each month with no return dates
  • Amazon Family membership is open to those with a Prime membership. This gives you 20% of many family-specific items, such as diapers, purchased using the Subscribe & Save function. Plus, you enjoy 15% off products in your baby registry.
  • Enjoy access to Prime Now, the mobile app that can have things in your hands within one to two hours (if you are in the cities in which this is available)

You can see there are many reasons to choose an Amazon Prime membership. For that annual or monthly fee, you can stream a huge number of movies and TV shows for people of any age or interest. You have access to free music streaming – and it is amazingly diverse and effective (I have several options for uninterrupted music to use during workouts, and this changes and updates on a regular basis).

For someone like me, the benefits of Prime membership (and an additional subscription to Netflix) are all that I need for most of my entertainment and loads of my shopping.

Plus you get to save with Amazon Subscribe & Save and with the Amazon Pantry feature.  Yes, these are also exclusive offers for those with Prime memberships.Let’s look at the way these work and how you can start to use Amazon Pantry and Amazon Subscribe & Save to save tons on the most consumable items and foods in your home.

How You Save with Amazon Subscribe & Save

So, just what is the Subscribe & Save feature? It is a simple service that lets you choose from thousands of items that you use all of the time. You choose whether to have them delivered each month, every other month, or on whatever basis you think you’ll need to be restocked.

For example, my Amazon Subscribe & Save purchases include everything from my cat’s preferred brand of litter to my favorite vitamins. I also have my household cleaners delivered, paper products, coffee and more.

Because I make certain to have five or more eligible items delivered every month, I also get a 15% discount applied to the cost of the order when it is shipped. My readers know I am big on getting the deepest discounts, even if it means using stacked coupons and other special tactics. However, with some of my Amazon Subscribe & Save purchases, there is really no comparison. The already lower prices, plus the 15% discount, free shipping and the fact that I don’t have to go anywhere to buy my preferred items is just amazing.

And is that it? You just put the items into your subscriptions, get the monthly email alerting you that the order is about to be charged to you and shipped out, and wait for the stuff to arrive? It can be “it” or all there is to it, but there are other ways to save, including a few hacks to consider.

Amazon Subscribe

Hacking Your Amazon Subscribe & Save

Now, if you just want to go basic and save with Amazon Subscribe & Save like almost everyone else, you can. You’ll get those discounted prices that only Amazon offers, but if you add the five item minimum, you get the amazing 15% discount – i.e. using “stacking” to save even more.

  • Coupons – There are also lots of coupons available for Prime members, and they include Popular Coupons where there is an entire section set aside specifically for the Subscribe & Save users as well as the Prime Pantry fans. There are usually hundreds of coupons for the Subscribe & Save products and they are divided into Health & Personal Care, Baby & Child Care, Household Supplies, Grocery & Gourmet and Pet Supplies. They are usually for a specific percentage that is in addition to your usual percentages. Often they are your first order only.

To use them, just click them and then add the item to your Subscribe & Save cart. Don’t panic if you don’t see the discount or dollar off amount. It applies the first time the item ships.

  • Free shipping no matter what – And with free shipping, you are getting a lot from your membership and use of the subscription options. You are never charged for most items, and you can get deliveries when you want or need. Unlike traditional subscriptions that go out every month, you can elect how many items and how often they arrive, and if you need to adjust your monthly delivery date, Amazon has no problem bumping things up or down on the calendar.

So, can you do some further hacking to get even better deals? Yes, but it does take the usual comparison shopping and tweaking. Here are the steps I take to ensure I’m getting the best deals and making the most of the program:

  • Look at the per unit pricing on Amazon compared to your other options (grocery store, Target, CVS, etc.) – Amazon is super nice in that it actually shows you what you pay per unit in the overall price of an item. For instance, I buy all of my vitamins through CVS or Amazon depending on pricing. As I get a bit low on my inventory each month, I just click to the bookmarked items and see where the per unit pricing is lowest. Surprisingly enough, you can see great variations and you may want to make a habit of checking in at least a week before your subscriptions are due to ship out.

NOTE: You won’t always save with Amazon Subscribe & Save because their prices change with the vendor’s list pricing. So, you might see that you are getting a great deal on something now, but next month it could be a real loser. So, make an easy system for yourself to check the prices in your cart versus pricing elsewhere. Then just opt to “Skip it” if you have found it at a better price than your subscription.

  • Consider the add-ons at the last minute – You’ll always know when your order is going to ship, and this gives you the chance to use very best Subscribe & Save deals. There are actually top coupon sites that list the best deals through the subscription options each month, and the Honey app or browser extension is particularly helpful for locating Amazon coupons that apply to your items before you checkout. Keep in mind that by looking for last minute additions to the subscription order, you are always going to hit that 15% discount because it is likely that you will also always have five or more items shipping out each month.

And what about the ways you can save money using Amazon Pantry? Well, they are also pretty darn effective!

Learning How to Save Money Using Amazon Pantry

So, Amazon Pantry is another helpful option and works differently from the subscription design of the Amazon Subscribe & Save service. Instead of signing on for regular, monthly deliveries, your Amazon Pantry items are one-time orders. You pay a flat delivery fee, but before you get annoyed and think, “Then why am I even a Prime member if I have to pay delivery?” give me a minute to teach you a nice little hack.

Whenever you opt for the “Free No-Rush Shipping” option on any Prime item, Amazon gives you a Pantry credit. Once you have that $5.99 credit for just waiting a day or two longer for your Prime orders, you then save money using Amazon Pantry because everything ships free. Amazon also offers free shipping on a Prime Pantry box (with five or more items) on a monthly basis too. So just wait for them to make the offer and go for it. Apply your credit to the goods in the box or use it to pay for the shipping fee when no free shipping is offered.

While you can always save with Amazon Subscribe & Save by having at least five subscriptions delivering each month, with Amazon Pantry you save with a number of things:

Coupons – There are many one-click coupons that can be used on many Pantry items. I have found coupons that knock off a few cents and some that just about give me the goods for free. Take time to explore the coupons Amazon is running and see if you can stack them with other offers the site makes.

Pay attention to their “other” offers – There are many times that Amazon runs promotions to help you save money using Amazon Pantry. For example, they send out emails explaining how you can get from 20-30% off an order. It might be they are running a sale on cleaning products and giving a 30% deduction and another 20% off health and beauty supplies. You use those offers with free shipping and other coupons (and your credit for opting out of faster shipping) and you can save quite a bit of money.

Don’t have the time to wade through the money saving opportunities in Amazon Pantry? The Slickdeals website often lists the best deals available. Just enter Amazon Prime Pantry into their search engine and you’ll see how to build some pretty hefty savings.

Though I am rarely an advocate of taking shortcuts to save a few dollars, the combination of the Amazon subscription options and the Pantry service gets a big thumbs up here. It may not always give you the lowest possible pricing, but it is counterbalanced by the convenience, wide range of choices and overall savings. You don’t ever lose out when you use these options, but if you take a bit of time each month to double check the amount of savings, you are going to see a bit difference in your bank balance almost immediately.


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