3 Ways Amazon's 'Subscribe and Save' Has Cost Me Money

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  • Amazon offers a service called Subscribe and Save.
  • It allows you to get items sent to your home on a regular schedule and to pay less for them.
  • I use it regularly, but it has also cost me money.

I've paid a price for this convenient service. 

Like many people, I'm an avid Amazon customer and I buy a lot of stuff from the online retailer. I also take part in its Subscribe and Save Program. For those not familiar, this program allows you to sign up to have items delivered to your home on a set schedule, such as once a month or once every two or three months. You get a discount off the regular prices for Subscribe and Save and it's convenient to not have to remember to reorder products you use often.

While I really like using Subscribe and Save, the program has unfortunately cost me money in the past. Here are three reasons why that's the case. 

1. I've forgotten to cancel or change subscriptions

Because Subscribe and Save is obviously a subscription service, the items I've subscribed to will come on my pre-determined schedule unless I cancel them. Unfortunately, I have sometimes forgotten to go onto the website to cancel items I no longer use or to stop shipments of items I have too big of a stockpile of already. 

When I forget to cancel a subscription, I end up with items I've charged on my credit card but cannot actually use. This is a huge waste. 

2. I've bought things I don't need to unlock the maximum discounts

Amazon gives you a percentage off your Subscribe and Save items simply for signing up to have regular shipments. But you can get an additional discount when you buy five or more items and send them to the same address each month. 

Since I want that extra savings, I often find myself scrounging for things to buy on Amazon if I have only four items. I can usually find something, but it's generally not something I need or would have bought if I wasn't trying to get the extra discount. As a result, I end up spending money to save money. 

3. I purchase products through Subscribe and Save that might be cheaper elsewhere 

Finally, once I have set an item up on Subscribe and Save, I usually don't stop it if I still need the item. I just allow Amazon to send it each month. This means I never comparison shop to see if the price is still reasonable or to check whether I can get the item somewhere else for less.

In a few circumstances where I have decided to price check an item I subscribed to a long time ago, I have found that it's actually more expensive at Amazon even with the extra Subscribe and Save discounts. This means I was overpaying for those items for several months before I canceled my subscription to buy the items at a lower price. 

I'm sure there are probably other items I'm also paying more for, but because it is so convenient to just let them keep coming from Amazon, I may not find that out.

These are just a few examples of how a service that adds convenience and that promises savings may end up coming at an additional cost. At the moment, I've decided it's worth continuing my Subscribe and Save despite the fact it's probably costing me in the end -- but I may make a different calculation later when I have more time to spare.

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