Amazon’s Subscribe & Save is a great feature,
but it’s a little complicated, and it’s a little more of a commitment than most of us want when we’re casually buying from Amazon.
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In fact, you have to wait for your subscription to ship a lot of the time! it’s almost the complete opposite of what Amazon stands for as they push towards quicker and quicker shipping. So Amazon.com isn’t set up to make it easy to use Subscribe and Save.
Here’s how you hack it.
Find at least one item that’s $50 or more that you want more of at least twice a year.
This is pretty easy for most of us to find if you pay attention to what you normally buy on Amazon throughout the year. They allow you to get the discount even on deliveries that only happen bi-annually!
Find super cheap add-on items to meet the 15% off requirement of 5 items per delivery.
Amazon does NOT want you to do this. So this is the tricky part and where I can help you. I’ve made a list of really cheap products everyone can use at least twice a year (see below).
Even better, I’ll also show you how to find your own crazy cheap Subscribe and Save products to fill in your delivery. So if the above list still left you with the savings itch, read on!
hOW sUBSCRIBE AND sAVE wORKS
Here’s how I started using the 15% off discount consistently. One day I looked at the ingredients to the whey protein powder I was using in my smoothies. It had whey protein in it, sure, but it also had some very artificial ingredients that aren’t great to consume on a daily basis. I’ve already reached my lifetime quota for acesulfame potassium, thank you very much.
So I worked my way through the various options and ended up with a pure whey version that is great without being the most expensive. It’s from grass-fed cows, which I know from experience makes a big difference in beef and milk. Grass-fed beef is actually one of my favorite ingredients for my meat recipes; I have a lot in my freezer. So I believe people when they say that grass-fed cows make a huge difference in the quality of whey protein. It’s backed up by the science I’ve seen and my own experience.
So that’s all great, and 5 pounds of the protein is not much more expensive than the cheap stuff with the unhealthy additives. But there’s a Subscribe and Save option which would let me save 15% of $80. That’s $12! But Amazon says I need to have 5 items in my next delivery to get that discount. Hm… If I can save $12 every time I get this, it’s worth going the extra mile to figure out how to do it.
I’ve gotten the 15% off on occasion, but I had to add 4 more items to my Subscribe and Save delivery that, if I’m honest, I didn’t really need. I never found products that I wanted every few months for the offered price.
This time I decided to find a way to do it sustainably.
Here’s what happens when you search “subscribe and save” in the Amazon search bar:
You can see we got about 120 THOUSAND items in our search. Insane. No human can sort through that.
My first impulse is to sort by Price (Low to High). That results in this:
Suddenly we have about 30 items. What in the world happened to all our results? 120,000 to 30?
What happened is Amazon is specifically trying to stop consumers like you and me from hacking the Subscribe and Save 15% discount. They’ve changed the way their own website displays this particular page! Amazon tries to make a lot of things easy, but they’re making this harder. Now I know I can get great savings, or they wouldn’t try so hard to stop me.
So I went through manually to find super cheap items that everyone can use at least once every 6 months.
Here’s a list of items you can add on to the stuff you really want, for $4 or less:
And from $4 to $10:
Even better, here’s the way to find your own:
Either click here, or:
- Select a department (e.g. Health and Household)
- Type ‘subscribe and save’ in the Amazon search bar.
- Hit the Enter key
- Scroll down to the additional sorting options to find the twin boxes ‘$Min’ and ‘$Max’
- Input ‘1’ into the ‘$Min’ box and ‘3’ into the ‘$Max’ box
- Hit Enter again
This doesn’t filter out the results the way that Amazon does when you sort by lowest price, but keeps everything super cheap. When I do this, in the department Health and Household alone I get 161 items eligible for the Subscribe and Save discount between $1 – $3. That’s something I can work with. You’re welcome to try $0 to $3, but nothing comes up for under a dollar.
Now if I buy 4 of the $3 items, that comes to $12 pre-discount. So even if I choose the maximum price in my range, I still save money!
How much do I save?
In the end, my savings are: ($80 + $3 + $3 + $3 + $3) x 15% = $13.80.
I added $12 worth of items and saved $13.80! I saved $1.80 and got $12 worth of items I’ll definitely use for free!
And that’s not even the best case scenario. If I use items worth $1.50 each my total cost is lowered to $73.10.
Here were my actual savings in the end. This was my finalized delivery:
- $79.99 5 lbs Protein powder
- $39.99 5 lbs Organic Cacao powder
- $1.39 hand soap
- $1.89 Vaseline
- $2.33 dental picks
Total pre-discount: $125.59
Total after discount: $106.75
- I had 2 items worth $120 that I was going to buy anyway.
- I added 3 more items worth $5.61 which I would have bought some time in the next few months.
- Amazon sends me all 5 items, not just for the same price, but for $18.84 less!