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Is Amazon’s Subscribe & Save Worth It?

Woman standing in doorway accepting cardboard box delivery

If you never run out of items, you probably won't need it. As a mom with multiple children, we use Subscribe & Save as an organizational tool. It serves as a regular reminder to take stock of what we have in our home.

What Is Subscribe & Save?

Subscribe & Save is an Amazon service that allows customers to set up recurring deliveries for products they use frequently. Its goal is to save shoppers time and money.

What Are the Most Popular Items on Subscribe & Save?

  • Beauty Supplies (i.e. shampoo and conditioner)

  • Groceries (i.e. coconut water and tea)

  • Home Supplies (i.e. laundry detergent, trash bags, and toilet paper)

  • Lawn/Garden (i.e. seeds and fertilizer)

  • Pet Products (i.e. food and bedding)

How Much Is Amazon’s Subscribe & Save Discount?

Amazon shoppers save 5% or 15% on items. If a shopper adds 5 or more items to an order to the same address, they can unlock the greatest discount. Now that Amazon has added their 365 groceries, it's easier to unlock the maximum discount, because we run out of food more quickly than household items. Meaning, before groceries, it was difficult to have enough in the order to reach the max discount.

What Is The Frequency of Subscribe & Save?

You can get your deliveries every 2 weeks or up to every 6 months. Below are the different intervals.



2 weeks

1 month

3 weeks

2 months

5 weeks

3 months

6 weeks

4 months

7 weeks

5 months

6 months

Can You Overspend With Subscribe & Save?

I'm sure you can, but Subscribe & Save is unlike other passive subscriptions where you "set it and forget it." Because physical items are delivered to your home, you'll probably notice when you have too much of something (like toothpaste if you have it regularly delivered). As a customer-centric company, Amazon wants to make sure you are only purchasing what you need/want.

Can You Cancel Subscribe & Save At Any Time?

Yes! You can cancel at any time. Amazon also sends an email a week before your expected delivery. At that time, you can make changes to your order, delay some items, or cancel your delivery all together before it is shipped.

Can You Use Coupons with Subscribe & Save?

Sometimes Amazon will offer one-time coupons in addition to the Subscribe & Save discount. They're typically used to incentivize first-time customers. If the service is cancelled before the scheduled delivery, the discount will be cancelled too.

How Does Subscribe & Save Benefit Amazon?

Subscribe & Save offers Amazon and its sellers, a recurring revenue stream. This means that both Amazon and its sellers can roughly predict product demand and sales.

What Are The Downsides of Subscribe & Save?

While we strongly believe there are no other companies that can compare to Amazon, we think it's important to share what you may not like about this particular program.

First, online shopping is super convenient, leading shoppers to easily spend more. You may be thinking, "you just said shoppers typically don't overspend." However overspending is different from spending more. Overspending implies buying something you do not need. Whereas, spending more simply means, shoppers are able to conveniently get everything they want. For example, if an item is not available in-store shoppers may have to figure out what to do without it. Since Amazon rarely has supply issues, shoppers can stock up.

Second, Subscribe & Save orders are not shipped next day (like most Amazon orders). Shoppers really have to plan and keep inventory to make sure they do not run out. For example, if you are low on dish detergent, you can totally order it before your next shipment, but you won't get the same discounts Subscribe & Save offers. It takes time to figure out how much product your family goes through. Amazon displays "most common" next to the option other households choose.

Three, food tends to arrive damaged. We've gotten dented cans as well as broken tops and seals. I'm sure the team will get better at shipping food through this service, but for now we think buying through Whole Foods on Amazon is a better option.

Fourth, prices fluctuate. Some shoppers argue they can find better prices during Amazon sales. Amazon is known to follow the American holiday schedule. For example, there's a Spring Sale in March, a Mother's Day Sale in May, a Father's Day Sale in June, and so on. If you notice a drastic price drop, you can order the product at its marked down price and push your next delivery to a later date.

However, we wanted to double check this theory against our own family's purchases. Since conditioner was one of the first items we bought on Subscribe & Save, we used it for our analysis. The following data only shows the prices at the time of our purchases. Meaning, prices could be lower or higher depending on when items are purchased. We noticed massive price fluctuations on our family's favorite conditioner, but overall prices dropped more than they increased.

SheaMoisture Price Drops and Increases on Amazon over 4 years

I remember noticing price spikes, and thinking we could get a better deal at a local Walgreens. After driving to the Walgreens, we noticed the same item was higher at the store than it was online at Amazon. There was also a limited supply in-store. This can create a problem if you like to buy in bulk. Now, I like to say the above graph depicts our family's loyalty to Amazon. Despite the highs and lows, we trust the company to give us the best deal with convenient delivery no matter how the market performs.

In the following graph we took a closer look at the year-over-year price. We noticed the lowest price was in 2020 at the height of the global crisis.

Lowest SheaMoisture Conditioner year-over-year price on Amazon Subscribe and Save

Amazon being one of the only retailers ready for the emergency could have totally taken advantage of the situation. Instead, they seemed to do the opposite. Amazon customers were rewarded with better deals. More specifically, our Subscribe & Save order was coupled with a "Multibuy Discount." Meaning, when we bought higher quantities in 2020 (6 bottles instead of our typical 3) we got a super low price. According to our records, we ended up spending a whopping $241.51 on conditioner in 2020 compared to only $55.02 in 2022.

Donut graph showing which year we bought the most conditioner from 2017-2023

But this could also be a result of me taking the opportunity to teach our daughter how to do her hair since we were stuck indoors (she used a ton of product in the learning process).

While some argue price fluctuations can be bad, we noticed Subscribe and Save followed those trends by consistently offering a better price no matter where the original price was.

Area graph showing Amazon's Subscribe and Save savings over the course of 2023 for our family

Finally, we also noticed prices varied if we ordered through Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, or Amazon’s Subscribe & Save. All of these different shops can easily be accessed through, but each had different terms in the past. For example, Whole Foods used to charge a $9.99 delivery fee on top of purchases. Amazon Fresh also had a purchase minimum, meaning you had to order at least $100 worth of groceries for free delivery.

Image compares buying conditioner through Amazon's Subscribe & Save, Amazon's Fresh, Whole Foods on Amazon

I’m sure results would be different if we chose another product. However, we wanted to demonstrate the long-term impact of Subscribe & Save in our home. After reviewing our purchase history, we still think Subscribe & Save is the best option.

How Are Reminders Different From Subscribe & Save?

Setting reminders is another feature on Amazon. You can schedule email reminders at different intervals. The main difference is that setting reminders will not automatically order the items and the savings may be less.

Is Subscribe & Save Free?

Yes! Amazon Subscribe & Save is a free service. Meaning, you are only paying for the products that you are purchasing (plus taxes and probably delivery if you are not a Prime member). What's free is the email reminders and a convenient platform to organize frequently bought items.

How Can Non-Prime Members Access Subscribe & Save?

Non-Prime members can create an Amazon account and select the items they wish to subscribe to. Subscribe & Save is designed to make shopping more convenient and cost-effective for all customers, regardless of their Prime membership status.

How To Find Subscribe & Save Items?

Amazon is constantly changing their website and mobile app. We noticed you can access Subscribe & Save many different ways. Below are four options:

  1. The Amazon search bar is on the top of the screen in the middle. Click the black triangle and scroll down to Subscribe & Save (the list is in alphabetical order).

  2. If you’re using your mobile app click the three lines on the bottom right corner. The Subscribe & Save icon is one of the first icons.

  3. If you already have subscriptions, click the center icon on Amazon's mobile app. Your Subscribe & Save items will appear with your next delivery date.

  4. On website, click menu icon on upper left corner and scroll down to Subscribe & Save

And if you're still having trouble, here is the Subscribe & Save page. It features the most popular subscription items, as well as items under $10.

In conclusion, Subscribe & Save is a program that supports the company’s goal of making their customer’s lives easier. As a loyal Amazon customer for over 10 years, we honestly think it's an incredible service that helps buyers get the best deal on a regular basis.

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