How Amazon’s Subscribe and Save Works
Amazon’s Subscribe & Save is a program that allows you to set up regularly scheduled deliveries of groceries, personal care, and household items. There are thousands of products that are Subscribe & Save eligible and you will get additional savings when you purchase an item with Subscribe & Save.
How to find Subscribe & Save items
We highlight the best Subscribe & Save deals here on FrugalLivingNW.com and in our dedicated Facebook groups as most of the items listed on the Amazon Subscribe & Save page are not great deals (cheaper than WinCo, Aldi, Walmart, and Target).
How to order an item with Subscribe & Save
When you go to the product page, you’ll see two purchasing options:
- One-time purchase
- Subscribe & Save
If you select “One-time purchase” you will pay the price listed on the page and receive the item at the regular shipping schedule (two-day shipping with Prime). This is just like any other purchase you make on Amazon.
If you select “Subscribe & Save” you will get a discount on that item (5%-20% off) and receive it on your scheduled monthly Subscribe & Save delivery day. Your delivery day is determined initially by Amazon and will be sometime in the future, typically between 1-6 weeks away.
You will also need to select the quantity of items you want delivered with each S&S shipment (sometimes you won’t have this option) and how often you want the item delivered (usually between 1 and 6 months).
You are under NO OBLIGATION to continue with a Subscribe & Save item after the first shipment. You can cancel future deliveries anytime after your first order of that item ships from Amazon inside your Amazon account.
What is the Subscribe & Save discount?
You will get 5% off your Subscribe & Save purchase(s) if you have 1-4 Subscribe & Save items coming this month (or your next S&S delivery day).
You will get 5-05% off your Subscribe & Save purchase (most items give you 15% off) if you have 5 or more S&S items coming in one auto-delivery to one address this month (or your next S&S delivery day). The 5+ item discount is 20% off on diapers, baby food, and other baby-type stuff. Some categories, like pet stuff, is lower (5-10% off).
Once you hit 5 Subscribe & Save items in your account for the month, all the previously purchased S&S items will bump up to the highest % off.
If I am at 3-4 Subscribe & Save items this month, I will look for a low-priced item (under $1 is ideal) to add to get me to 5 S&S items. Look for individual bars of soap, small food items like salad dressing or mac and cheese cups, lip balm, deodorant, dental floss, and travel-sized toiletries from the Amazon Subscribe & Save page.
How to set your Subscribe & Save schedule
You get to decide how often future shipments come to your house.
When ordering a S&S item, I always select “6 months” to give myself time to cancel the subscription. You do this when you set up your initial Subscribe & Save order. You can always change the delivery intervals in your Amazon account later on.
How to change or cancel future Subscribe & Save deliveries
All of your Subscribe & Save stuff is managed in your Amazon account.
From the “Accounts & Lists” button at the top of your Amazon page, go to the “Your Subscribe & Save items” link.
You will see a chart displaying the Subscribe & Save items arriving for the next six months. From this page, you can skip an upcoming delivery or cancel it altogether.
How to change your Subscribe & Save delivery date
This is a little tricky. Amazon sets your Subscribe & Save delivery date. It’s almost always going to be awhile out, usually 1-6 weeks away, so selecting Subscribe & Save on an item you need right away may not be worth the 5-20% discount.
Amazon will email you a few days before your Subscribe & Save deliveries are set to ship. If you see the email right away, you will have time to go into your Amazon account to edit what’s coming or cancel it altogether. If you don’t check your email often, I suggest you add a reminder to your calendar a week before your next S&S delivery date to edit your upcoming delivery.
You can get the item sooner with the Subscribe & Save discount by clicking the “change” link next to your listed “First delivery” date displayed on the product page. Amazon will give you 5% off the first delivery, but not the additional savings for having 5 or more S&S items coming on that day (I believe).
Most likely, you will NOT get an option to get them item quickly (like the typical two-day Prime shipping) plus the Subscribe & Save % discount. You need to choose speed or the savings.
How much you will pay on future Subscribe & Save deliveries
Here’s when you really need to pay attention.
You will always receive the Subscribe & Save discount (5-20% off) depending on how many items are coming that particular month.
You will be charged the price you see today on the first delivery of that item, regardless of when it arrives, but that price will NOT necessarily be the price you pay on future deliveries.
Individual product prices on Amazon change all the time and you will be charged the price listed on the day your email confirmation goes out (whether it goes up or down) on future deliveries.
This also applies to coupons and special discounts. You may initially sign up for a Subscribe & Save item with a coupon or percentage off promotion. These discounts only apply to your first (initial) delivery. You will not get the coupon or promotional price on future shipments.
Find available Subscribe & Save coupons here. These coupons will apply to your first Subscribe & Save delivery only, not future ones!
Remember, you can review your subscription price and edit or cancel your subscription at any time and you’re under no obligation to continue your Subscribe & Save deliveries.
How to get the best deals
Here’s the trick to saving a bunch of money during Subscribe & Save deals: I rarely, if ever, keep a subscription past the first month (initial deliver). That’s because the coupons and promotions don’t carry past the first delivery and it’s typically the discounts that make a Subscribe & Save worth doing. So I will almost always cancel a Subscribe & Save subscription after the first month ships out.
This strategy doesn’t take into account the convenience of Subscribe & Save deliveries, so if you are interested in making your life easier by having regular S&S shipments, I don’t think you’re wasting money.
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