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How Amazon Subscribe & Save Helped Me Take Charge of My Budget

amazon subscribe and saveGuest post from Alison of Experimental Wifery

Call me naïve, but in almost six years of running a household for my family, I have never come in under budget for household goods.

It’s a conundrum. A good budgeter doesn’t spend money she doesn’t have… right? But laundry detergent and Band-Aids are staples, the things I need to keep my home clean and family life running smoothly. How can I not buy them when I need them?

I chock my problem up to optimism. After all, who wants to admit that their family of four — one of whom isn’t even potty trained — really goes through more than ten rolls of toilet paper a month?

I knew that I needed to find a way to keep track of what I actually needed each month (and how much that actually cost) if I wanted to get control of my budget.

I’ve known about Amazon Subscribe & Save for a while now, but it is only in the last few months that I’ve used it to take charge of my spending on staple household goods. Believe it or not, I’m spending less than 75% of what I used to spend on these items each month!

Here’s how:

1. No More Budget Surprises

Before I started using Subscribe & Save, I consistently under-budgeted for staples like diapers, toothpaste, and hand soap.

Now I know exactly how much I pay for those things every month so I can easily budget for them in advance. For bigger purchases, like our once-every-three-months case of toilet paper, I can break the amount down into monthly installments that I set aside for later.

2. No More Blind Eyes to How Much We Actually Use

When I pick up a refill on dishwasher soap here and a box of diaper wipes there, it’s easy to lose track of how much I’m actually buying.

By buying most of household staples in advance and in bulk, I have to face the reality that our daughter really does go through about 150 diapers a month! Because I see the cold-hard facts, I have to budget pragmatically instead of optimistically.

3. No More Big-Box Runs

Every woman knows that it is almost impossible to walk into a Target to buy one thing without coming out with a full shopping cart. By making my normal big-box purchases online, I keep myself out of budget-busting temptation.

4. No More Wasted Gas

Even though gas is surprisingly inexpensive these days, last-minute trips to the store really add up. The pre-scheduled deliveries from Amazon save me from unplanned shopping trips.

5. More Fun Time with My Children

No, time with my children isn’t really a money-saving advantage. But that time is priceless. Shopping with a toddler is stressful for everyone — at least in our family.

Because I shop online, we get to spend our time together doing things we both want to do!

This are just a few of the many reasons I love using Amazon Subscribe & Save to… SAVE! If you’re a Subscribe & Save user, I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.

Alison blogs about learning to be a better woman and wife at Experimental Wifery. She’s a wife, mommy, and high school English teacher. She signs for her Amazon.com packages near Washington, DC.

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22 Comments

  • Kelly says:

    great points!

  • I could not agree with you more! Amazon has been a lifesaver. I started using it a lot when my twins were born. It was tough to get out during the Chicago winters to buy things like diapers. Four years later, I’m still using Amazon and loving the time and money it saves us.

  • Julie C says:

    Please watch the prices on S&S items; I have friends that use it and they were surprised to track their purchases and see with new eyes the price increases. Amazon changes products that they send because an item is discontinued; beware of the cost price of the new items sent.

  • Jessica says:

    I love Amazon Subscribe and Save, however, I find they remove their options too often. I’ve probably had 4 subscriptions canceled on me usually after I start to rely on the delivery!

    • Alea says:

      I’ve noticed that as well. I don’t think anything I’ve ordered has stayed on the list for more than 2 shipments.

      • Laura says:

        Same here. 2 shipments max! Subscribe & Save is a really great idea, but if it doesn’t work in real life, it doesn’t make sense.

        I wish it were easier to find things in the S&S store. Every time I click into the store to get an item, I have to reclick again, or I am in the regular store without realizing it. And I get happy that my items are there. And then I get sad because they really aren’t. ; )

  • Jessica says:

    I’ve had so-so experiences with it. A few of my favorite subscriptions got cancelled by them or suddenly doubled or even tripled in price. You still have to check on whether you’re getting a good value. I can get toothpaste, floss and shampoo free after coupons at the drug or grocery store. In fact, Walmart paid me $.50 in overage to get a bottle of Garnier shampoo today (that $.50 applied to the other items in my order). And my kids grew out of diaper sizes so fast that having a subscription didn’t really pay off because the next shipment they’d need a new size.

  • Michele says:

    I am a single mom – soon to be empty nester when my community college daughter transfers to a four year.
    Anyone in a similar situation using this service?

    • I like the service. I used survey gift cards to pay for the services. I also get my Google calendar twice a month to check my items, and if an item is out of stock, and I can help it, skip that month, as to not lose my 15% discount monthly. Now, what I really like is Amazon pantry; the prices are only 2-5 percent more than sale prices at my local Walmart, and I can get organic goods much cheaper than whole foods and the fresh market. Sometimes, not having to go to Walmart is worth the delivery fee to me!

    • lauren says:

      There is something called Prime Pantry for smaller quantities.

  • Alea says:

    I hear you on the household budget. That’s where I’m struggling the most too, and going over all the time for the same reasons. I decided recently that I need to look over my expenses in that category for last year and see what was restocking things we use, and what was a one-time expense (yes, I take good notes on my spending). I’m hoping from there I can figure out exactly what my budget should be and how I can keep on track. I know there are things categorized as household that aren’t ‘needs’ that are taking up the budget for actual needs.

  • Christina says:

    My husband and I live in rural Alaska and we couldn’t survive without the awesomeness of Amazon Subscribe and Save! We are able to purchase many staple items for much cheaper than they would be at the only store in our village. We have had a few subscriptions cancelled and have seen the prices go up a little bit, however, using the service is still far more beneficial for us than those drawbacks. Subscribe and Save works for us because we don’t have the option of going to a store to use coupons.

  • Gloria says:

    What all, software, printable do you use to track budgetary spending in such detail?

  • jenny says:

    I love s&s!! I just check in on it every month when I get the reminder email and change things up. There are some amazing deals on bulk snacks (5 kids. You just need some quick and easy snacks) and don’t forget to check the coupons – there are always good ones like 25% off kashi items.

    For household goods, the special cat food we need is way less than in stores, and if you watch for sales you can find really cheap dish soap, sponges, and other things like that. Scan through where it says what other people are subscribing to, those are usually good deals. I generally get different items every time since we don’t use many disposables and I’ve been able to get a 3 or 4 month supply of things we do buy.

  • HappyWife says:

    Thank you for sharing this because I have struggled to keep track of my toilet paper, laundry, dish soap, paper towel buys.
    going to work on keeping track of that better.

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