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Personal Finance

Is Amazon’s Subscribe and Save Worth It?

People looking to save a few bucks every month might be interested in Amazon’s Subscribe and Save. This program allows consumers to sign up for automatic deliveries of their favorite items. They can save up to 15 percent on the items, and they can cancel the subscription at any time. If you are still asking yourself “what is Subscribe and Save?” then let’s take a deeper look at the way Amazon’s Subscribe and Save program works.

How It Works

Currently, tens of thousands of items are eligible for Subscribe and Save. These items are found in the Subscribe and Save Store.

Consumers look through a variety of categories, including grocery, household supplies, and personal care. They pick the items they want, add them to their shopping carts, select how often they want to have the items shipped to their homes, and find out how much they’ll save with each order. The amount saved can vary from 5 to 15 percent.

Here’s an example.

After selecting the product, a consumer needs to decide how often to have products delivered. Delivery frequencies range from one, two, three, four, five, to six months. The most common delivery frequency option is every three months.

This would net him a savings of 15 percent off the regular purchase price. Then the item would automatically ship out to him at the time he selected. Deliveries can easily be postponed, and orders can also be canceled whenever.

One of the biggest benefits of Subscribe and Save is free shipping. Shipping costs are waived. That eliminates one of the biggest problems with ordering online.

Issues With Subscribe and Save

On the surface, Subscribe and Save is an excellent way to save money on orders. However, it does have some issues that must be examined.

First, items might change in price from one month to the next, and consumers are then charged the new price. According to the New York Times, one customer was shocked when his $10 box of chewing gum jumped to $100. He didn’t realize the price change until he was charged the $100.

However, Amazon does send emails ten days prior to shipment, so people can avoid this problem by looking over the email and making sure the price is right. Of course, that means they can’t just put the system on autopilot. They have to be involved from one shipment to the next.

This illustrates a problem that’s common with Amazon’s prices. The retailer uses a dynamic pricing structure, so prices can vary widely from day to day and month to month. It’s not the same as going into a grocery store that typically has the same prices from one month to the next.

On top of that, people could get so used to the auto-delivery that they miss out on other deals. Retailers often run deals on different items, and people pick based on what is on sale at any given time. It’s easy to forget to comparison shop when getting something delivered automatically.

Is Subscribe and Save the Best Deal?

According to LendEDU’s data, Subscribe and Save is not the best deal out there. The study compared prices between Amazon and Costco and found that Amazon shoppers spend quite a bit more on the same items.

LendEDU compared 38 identical products at Costco and Amazon and found that Amazon’s products were 56.48 percent more expensive. These products ranged from the Apple iPad to Splenda sweetener.

The biggest price differences were found in food and beverage products. For instance, a Butterball Fresh Hen Turkey was $0.99 per pound at Costco. That same turkey was $3.77 per pound on Amazon.

Amazon did manage to narrow the gap with technology products. While Costco still offered savings on many products, the gap wasn’t nearly as big. For example, the Apple 12.0-inch iPad Pro 256GB Space Gray was $899.99 at Costco. The same iPad was $949.25 on Amazon.

The Bottom Line

While it’s nice to have products delivered to your front door, people can usually save more money if they shop at some brick-and-mortar retailers. They’re typically paying for convenience when they sign up for Subscribe and Save at Amazon.

Consumers have to consider what is more important to them. Do they want to pay a little more and stay home or save some money by going to the local Costco? 

When asking yourself is the Amazon Subscribe and Save worth it, you should make sure you review the information above once more and see how you feel about it.