Our Best Tips for Saving Money Through Amazon’s Subscribe & Save

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

You may have noticed those little flags on some of Amazon’s product pages touting discounts on groceries and household items using Subscribe & Save, but totally brushed them off. After all, you hate commitment! (You learned that the hard way with your gym membership. Sigh.) But there are some great reasons to give Subscribe & Save another look. Mostly the fact that you can slash your expenses if you use it wisely. Luckily, we have some tips to share to help you do just that.

1. Subscribe to a bunch of stuff to save more money.

So this is Subscribe & Save 101, but to reiterate in case you haven’t looked into it: You get five percent off your first subscription item. Subscribe to five or more, however, and the discount bumps to 15 percent. And for diapers (if you need ’em), it’s 20 percent.

2. Skip the Prime membership if you don’t need it.

Unlike Amazon’s other grocery discount programs (Prime Pantry and AmazonFresh), you don’t need the $99 annual Prime membership to opt into the savings or the free shipping. (Hey, it’s one less thing to commit to!)

3. Cancel any time — even immediately.

See a really good deal or discount on the base price of a Subscribe & Save item? Go ahead and subscribe to get the deal — then unsubscribe after placing the order if you don’t think you’ll want a replenishment in the future. This way, you can get the discount without adding reoccurring expenses to your budget down the line.

4. Take advantage of the coupons.

Check them often, as they change regularly (so bookmark this page), to see what kind of loss leaders Amazon is putting out there. When this article was written, you could get 30 percent off Clif energy bars, 35 percent off Terra Chips, and $5 off select Tide Pods.

5. Keep track of fluctuating prices.

You may find your pup’s favorite kibble on sale when you first subscribe, only for it to jack way up when the next shipment comes due. On your first purchase, add subscribed items to your “Wish List” and use that little comment space to type in the current price, including the price-per-unit (it takes, like, three seconds — just do it). When you get the new shipment alert email, pop back over and double-check that you’re still getting a deal. Switching to a different package size — even a smaller one — or flavor might net a better value.

6. Shop from your phone.

This actually goes for shopping for pretty much anything on Amazon. Oddly, it’s easier to see price differences among the different varieties of an item on the app or mobile site, using the drop-down/scroll menus, versus on the desktop version, where you have to click each selection individually.

7. Use it for bulky or heavy items.

You may find that the price of, say, your go-to flavored sparkling water is a teensy bit higher than what your local store charges — but having someone else do the heavy lifting to deliver a case or two to your door? That’s priceless.

What do you use Amazon’s Subscribe & Save for? Do you have any money-saving tips?