3 Pros and Cons of Amazon's Subscribe & Save Program


I shop on Amazon more than at most other retailers. I find that the prices are quite competitive, and I love the idea of not having to leave my house to get the products I need. 

Generally speaking, I’m also a fan of Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. The way it works is simple. You subscribe to a product you use regularly and set up a shipment schedule based on your needs. If it’s vitamins or supplements, you may opt for a monthly shipment. If it’s beauty products you use less frequently, a shipment once every three months might suffice. 

As someone who uses Subscribe & Save all the time, I can tell you that the program is worth signing up for. But you should also be careful when it comes to using Subscribe & Save. Here are the main pros and cons you should know about if you’ve never used Subscribe & Save before.

Pro No. 1: You can save big on the products you need

The whole “save” part of the Subscribe & Save program is legitimate. It’s common for me to save 15% on the items on my list. So for every $100 in recurring purchases I make, I save $15 and only spend $85. That’s good for my budget. 

Pro No. 2: You don’t have to stress about running out of the things you need

It’s not always easy to keep tabs on inventory at home, especially for items you’re not using yourself. In my case, there are certain products I have on Subscribe & Save that my kids use — not me. So I’m less likely to know when we’re running out.

The good thing is that since I have those automatic shipments set up, I’m less likely to encounter a scenario where I have to run out to Target or the supermarket at the last minute to replenish.

Pro No. 3: You’re not locked into your shipment schedule

Even though Subscribe & Save lets you set up shipments ahead of time, you get an opportunity every month to make changes to your delivery. So let’s say you’re supposed to get a bottle of body wash next month, only you have extra and don’t need another bottle right away. You can simply skip that delivery and your credit card won’t be charged. 

Con No. 1: Your products aren’t guaranteed to be in stock

I tend to fall back on Subscribe & Save for the items my household uses regularly. But problems can arise when an item you rely on is out of stock at the last minute. That’s happened to me before, and you usually don’t get a lot of notice from Amazon. In other words, while Subscribe & Save can usually help you avoid a last-minute scramble, sometimes, it causes one.

Con No. 2: You risk losing money if you forget to cancel

You can cancel any item you have set for Subscribe & Save at any time. But if you forget to cancel something you no longer need, you may be out of luck, since certain items can’t be returned. That happened to me years ago when my daughters became potty trained and I neglected to cancel a bulk shipment of diapers.

Of course, you can avoid this issue by being more careful and reviewing your subscriptions at regular intervals — something I probably didn’t do that time because I was deep in the throes of potty training twins. 

Con No. 3: You may miss better prices elsewhere

The prices for Subscribe & Save items tend to be pretty competitive, because you’re getting a discount on top of Amazon’s everyday low prices. But once you arrange for a given item to be shipped to your home regularly, you may just set it and forget it when, in reality, that item may become available for a lower price elsewhere. I can admit that I’m not so good about checking prices once I set up my subscriptions. And you might fall into that trap, too.

All told, I think Subscribe & Save is worth trying out. Just be aware of these pitfalls so you can avoid them as best as possible.

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