Have you ever considered trying an online “Subscribe & Save” program to try and save money on household essentials? They sound great…but do they actually save you money?
No doubt they save you time as you no longer have to shop for items that are often big and bulky as they’ll get mailed to your home automatically and on a regular basis.
The two most popular subscription programs right now are from Amazon.com (Details) and Target.com (Details). They are both completely free to use and offer free shipping to your home. Target gives you an extra 5% off all orders and Amazon gives you an awesome 15% off if you have at least 5 items delivered on your monthly delivery day. You set the delivery schedule with the ability to easily change the timing, shipping address and quantities.
So I figured it was time to test them both out on some popular “Subscription” items to see if you really could save money. Here are the results…
Here is what I discovered when it came to buying diapers:
Amazon Subscribe: Huggies #4, 144ct, $43.86 – .30/ea (Best Bet)
Target Subscribe: Huggies #4, 70ct, $24.99 – .35/ea
Costco: Huggies #4, 180 ct, $45.99 – .26/ea (Best Bet)
Walgreens: Huggies #4, 44ct, $20 – .45/ea
Rite-Aid: Huggies #4, 104 ct, $35.99 – .35/ea
Amazon Subscribe: Luvs #4, 172 ct, $28.30 – .16/ea (Best Bet)
Target Subscribe: Luvs #4, 144 ct, $24.99 – .17/ea
Walmart: Luvs #4, 144 ct, $24.94 – .17/ea
Amazon Subscribe: Pampers #1, 198 ct, $43.29 – .22/ea (Best Bet)
Target Subscribe: Pampers #1, 164 ct, $39.99 – .24/ea
Walmart: Pampers #1, 198ct, $43.29 – .22/ea (Best Bet)
Final Result: Mixed bag. When it came to smaller diaper sizes like the Pampers #1 size, you’ll get a better price at your local Walmart. But when it came to the #4 diaper size, both the Amazon and Target subscription programs (as well as Costco) will save you some money.
Although I think it is very important to mention that for many busy moms & dads it’s totally worth the extra buck or 2 to get diapers sent directly to their doorstep.
When it came to buying food for our four-legged friends here is what I discovered:
Amazon Subscribe: Pedigree Adult, 33 lb, $20.95 – $.63/lb
Target Subscribe: Pedigree Adult, 50 lb, $25.99 – $.52/lb (Best Bet)
Walgreens: Pedigree Adult, 15 lb, $15.49 – $1.04/lb
Amazon Subscribe: Iams Adult, 30 lb, $30.06 – $1/lb (Best Bet)
Target Subscribe: Iams Adult, 40 lb, $42.99 – $1.08/lb
Walmart: Iams Adult, 40 lb, $43.99 – $1.10/lb
Walgreens: Iams Adult, 3.3 lb, $7.49 – $2.27/lb
Final Result: Winner. As a dude who has always had bigger dogs, there is nothing worse than having to lug and tow a 50 pound bag of dog food home from the store every month.
So I was very pleasantly surprised that a huge bag of dog food via the Target subscribe program can be had for only slightly more than if I had gone to Costco and hauled it home myself. How incredibly convenient is that?
Buying Toilet paper from an online subscribe program seems smart. But will shipping costs make it a loser?
Here’s what you need to know.
Target Subscribe: Charmin, 24 rolls, $13.29, .55/roll (Best Bet)
Amazon Subscribe: Not available.
Walgreens: Charmin, 16 rolls, $9.99, .62/roll
Rite-Aid: Charmin, 12 rolls, $10.49, .87/roll
Target Subscribe: Quilted Northern, 48 rolls, $24.69, .51/roll
Amazon Subscribe: Quilted Northern, 48 rolls, $20.35, .42/roll (Best Bet)
Costco: Kirkland Brand, 30 rolls, $15.99, .53/roll
Final Result: Winner. My wife and I always buy our TP from Costco, the Kirkland 30-roll to be exact.
I always figured it was the best deal around so I was quite surprised that both Amazon and Target subscribe programs came in under Costco. Throw in the free shipping and it is a total no-brainer.
Here is what I discovered when it came to buying paper towels:
Amazon Subscribe: Brawny, 24ct, $25.42, $1.06/ea (Best Bet)
Target Subscribe: Brawny, 24ct, $28.49, $1.19/ea
Costco: Brawny, 15ct, $18.99, $1.27/ea
Final Result: Winner. Both the Amazon and Target subscribe programs beat the Costco price on Brawny paper towels.
Buying a lot of laundry detergent at your house? The Target subscribe program is worth looking at.
Amazon Subscribe: Not available.
Target Subscribe: Gain HE Liquid, 150oz, $14.24, .09/oz (Best Bet)
Walgreens: Gain HE Liquid, 100oz, $13.49, .13/oz
Amazon Subscribe: Tide Powder, 95oz., (68 loads) , $17.09, .18/oz
Target Subscribe: Not available.
Costco: Tide Powder, 254oz., (180 loads) , $29.99, .12/oz (Best Bet)
Rite-Aid: Tide Powder, 95oz., (68 loads) , $18.49, .20/oz
Final Result: Mixed bag. Gain HE liquid is a better deal via the Target subscribe program that at Walgreens. But you’ll get a better deal at Costco when it comes to Tide powder laundry detergent.
I also tested Cascade Complete dishwashing detergent and the results pointed to Costco being the cheapest.
Amazon Subscribe: Not available.
Target Subscribe: Cascade Complete Liquid, 60 oz, $6.49, .11/oz
Walgreens: Cascade Complete Liquid, 60 oz, $5.79, .09/oz
Walmart: Cascade Complete Liquid, 75 oz, $5.97, .08/oz
Rite-Aid: Cascade Complete Liquid, 75 oz, $6.49, .086/oz
Costco: Cascade Complete Liquid, 125 oz, $9.49, .075/oz. (Best Bet)
Final Result: You’re better off shopping for Cascade at Costco or Walmart.
Can coupons be added to a Subscribe & Save order?
It almost seems to good to be true but you CAN indeed combine coupons. Here is the skinny:
- Amazon.com: Check out the Subscribe & Save Coupons page at Amazon to see all of the coupons you can use with their “Subscribe & Save” program. To redeem a coupon just, “Click on a coupon and select Subscribe Now and set delivery quantity and frequency.” Offers include discounts on Baby & Child Care items, Vitamins & Dietary Supplements, Household Supplies, Health Care, and Personal Care products.
- Target.com: From the Target website, “Online promo codes may be used for your initial Target Subscriptions order only. You must apply them at checkout. If your subscription item is on sale or eligible for other online promotions at the time your order is placed and your order meets the promotion guidelines, you’ll automatically receive the discounted price and/or promotion. This, in addition to your 5% subscription discount, will ensure you’ll always get the best deal. Better yet, you can use your REDcard for an additional 5% discount.”
Ask the Reader: Have you ever tried an online ‘Subscribe & Save’ program? How much money were you able to save? Did the convenience factor make it worth it if the item cost just a little more than your local Costco or Walmart? Please leave me a comment as I’d love to get your feedback.
By Kyle James