A lot of people are opting to sign up for programs like Amazon’s Subscribe and Save, automatically shipping home goods like paper towels, pet food and more on a regular basis, direct to your home. The benefit: you don’t have to leave your home to buy these essentials, and ideally, supplies will arrive on your doorstep when you need them. So, is it a do or don’t?
To help determine this, let’s look at the two different ways to buy in bulk as a consumer.
- Costco or another warehouse store – A Costco membership costs $55/year and enables you to shop at their big box stores and Costco.com.
- Subscription services like Amazon’s Subscribe and Save – This subscription is free and offers discounts to items typically bought in bulk. Shipping is free and your subscription agreement involves having specific items shipped automatically to you on your chosen frequency basis (shipping between 1-6 month frequency).
As a consumer, you know exactly how much you consume on a monthly basis and know how much storage capacity you have in your home to house items in bulk. If you have proper storage, it may make sense to have paper towels, toilet paper, kitty litter and other items delivered to your door on a regular basis. It may save you money and time. If you order at least 5 products to ship on the same delivery frequency, you will save 15 percent. That is a real savings.
However, if you run out and need an item before it’s next scheduled frequency delivery, you lose the free shipping and discount with the Amazon Subscribe and Save. On the contrary, if you don’t use the items enough, your storage will run out. With Costco, there is no frequency delivery. You just either shop at the store or order online, as you need an item.
Yes, there are pros to a subscription program, but personally, I am not in favor of them. I think it feeds into consumerism and can unnecessarily clutter up a home. If you’re thinking about signing up for a subscription program, weigh the pros and cons and see how it fits into your budget and lifestyle.