Apr 6th, 2018

I wasn’t much interested in Amazon’s Subscribe & Save system when it launched, despite its promise to save money on products you already buy regularly (and 15% off if you have 5+ subscriptions). My complaints were two fold:

  1. I thought packages would get stolen from my doorstep
  2. I thought I’d buy more stuff than I need

All that has changed. Thanks to Amazon Key I’m able to receive subscription packages into my house – whether I’m home or not – and can completely disregard the days and times that deliveries occur. With that logistical city-centric nightmare out of the way, I was able to reframe how I think of Amazon subscriptions.

Do you actually save?

I’m now using Amazon Subscriptions in three distinct ways:

  1. to regulate things I buy or use too much
  2. to remind me of things I need to buy but always forget
  3. to refresh things I don’t need but that make me feel so fresh and so clean clean

The real key here is saved time and convenience, not saved money. As Subscribe & Save critics will rightfully point out, directly comparing prices to local retailers shows Amazon savings are negligible if not more expensive. But ask yourself one question: how often do you go to the store for 1 or 2 things and end up getting a shopping cart, basket full, or at least an extra item you didn’t need?

Amazon Subscriptions also save you money by completely avoiding the possibility of impulse buys and that cannot go unnoticed. If you smartly set up your subscriptions, you’re saving a lot more in time and money than the math price-based comparisons will show.

How I Regulate with Amazon Subscriptions

Coffee: Keurig Variety Sampler (40 Count)

I drink way too much coffee and seem to have my Keurig brewing 24/7. In addition to being unhealthy (caffeine: do dumb things faster and with more energy!) it also gets expensive.

My goal is to limit myself to about 1 cup of coffee per day so this Keurig 40 Count sampler is perfect. It gives me a little wiggle room for myself and its nice to have some extras to offer guests. But if I run out? I’ve got to wait for my next Amazon shipment to arrive, keeping my caffeine game in check.

Soda: Zevia Zero Calorie Soda (24 Count)

I have an unhealthy obsession with Diet Coke. It doesn’t help that every time I stop at the gas station there’s a 2 for $3 offer that gets me every time. Just like coffee, I drink way too many, so making a rule of thumb to ONLY have soda from this Zevia 24-Count Variety Pack allows me to draw a line in the sand.

I set up delivery for once every 2 months and won’t buy any other soda, turning my bad soda habit into a once-every-couple-days treat. Hopefully by the end of 2018 I’ll be soda free.

Snacks: CraveBox Healthy Variety Pack (24 Count)

I love the idea of eating healthy, but often find myself in the same predicament: I’m super hungry, my house is a food dessert, and I’m feeling lazy- time to get delivery! It’s easy to slip into bad eating habits but adding this CraveBox to Amazon Subscriptions makes sure I’ve always got a healthy snack within arms reach.

It also ensure that when unexpected guests arrive I’ve got something to offer them, even if it’s just a little nibble.

How I set Reminders with Amazon Subscriptions:

Toothbrushes: Colgate 4-Pack

Most dental professionals recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months so toothbrushes are perfect for Amazon Subscriptions and a good reminder you should open a freshy. You could also consider this for electric toothbrush heads and dental floss.

I’m subscribed to the 4-pack every 3 months which accounts for switching my main toothbrush, travel toothbrush, misplaced toothbrush, and a toothbrush for guests.

Razor Heads: Gillette Fusion 5 (8-Pack)

You might be surprised how often men should change their razor blades according to popular sources. Some say after 3-5 shaves you should swap, others claim every 10 days, and Gillette says they can last up to 5-weeks: it’s no wonder then that 90% of men go by feel instead of the calendar. Well, I’m part of the 90% jumping ship for the calendar via Amazon Subscription.

I’m subscribed to the Gillette Fusion 5 8-Pack every 2 months which means I change my razor about once per week. Not only does changing your razor blades out more regularly offer a cleaner shave with less nicks and cuts, but old shaving heads can also harbor bacteria that may lead to infections. If I’ve got too many blades left when a new shipment arrives it’s a good reminder to swap out a little more often.

Air filters: Filtrete 2-Pack

This is something I ALWAYS forget to do but now it couldn’t be easier- they come in the mail and I swap them out when they arrive. Some people suggest changing them as frequently as once per month, but depending on existing air quality, allergies, pets, and number of people, you can get away with less.

I’ve got 2 units to replace and replace them using this Filtrete 2-Pack via Amazon Subscription every 3-months. If you’re wondering how often you should change your own air filters, you can find some simple guidelines here.

Sponges: Scotch-Brite (6-Pack)

Did you know that sponges are the most bacteria-covered objects in most homes, including toilets? Now perhaps you’ll do what many experts are recommending and changing your sponges every week.

I wish I could find a 4-pack to have delivered each month, but a 6-pack for $5 isn’t too bad. I might be wasting a couple extra bucks each month but I’m saving elsewhere while ensuring I’m not trying to clean things with a glorified toilet rag. Yuck.

How I Refresh with Amazon Subscriptions:

Underwear: Adidas Boxer Brief (2-Pack)

Everyone has items from back in the day with which they’ll never part, but accumulating a collection of golden oldie undies isn’t so sexy- leave that for t-shirts and hoodies. Beyond being a huge potential turn off to members of the opposite sex, do this for yourself- there’s something awkwardly brilliant about slipping into a new pair of underwear with that new car feel (no comment on new car smell).

I put this Adidas Boxer Brief 2-Pack on a 2-month subscription and whenever they arrive, I toss a pair of old underwear in the trash.

Other Awesome Amazon Subscription Ideas:

What you’ll find interesting and successful with Amazon Subscriptions depends on how you live your life: obviously a married mother of toddlers with two pets will have a different set of needs than a single guy living alone. Keeping that in mind – and putting that aside – here are some other items that could serve you really well in subscription form:

I was also surprised to see what Amazon had listed as Best Sellers in the Subscription category:

What great Amazon Subscribe & Save ideas do you use or plan to use in the future? Let us know in the comments!

Subscription Boxes

Amazon has also dipped their toes into Themed Subscription Boxes a la Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox. For example they’ll deliver toys monthly with the “STEM Club Toy Subscription” or send you a premium selection of meats in their “Carnivore Club” subscription box.

Many people aren’t aware these exist and if you’re looking for good gift ideas, look no further.

Adding Amazon Dash Buttons

You’ll notice my above list is missing some very common Subscribe & Save options such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, paper towels, toilet paper, dishwasher detergent, laundry pods, and much more.

My use of these items fluctuates way too much to implement subscriptions, but they’d be perfect for Amazon Dash Buttons with Amazon Key In-Home Delivery. I’ve also been wanting to try the Amazon Dash Wand.

The idea is to simplify and automate as much of my life as possible and you’ll likely see a pattern of this type of topic in the future. If this interests you, please let me know in the comments so I can steer my content towards the stuff people enjoy.

[Featured Photo via Aurelijus Valeiša on Flickr]

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