Here’s the latest entry in our ongoing series on how to save on Amazon! While most of us tend to use Amazon as our go-to site to check for the best prices (and for convenient delivery to our doorstep), Amazon’s very ubiquity has made it so sprawling and so unwieldy that it’s not always apparent how to find the best deals.
This post was updated in June 2018 with new Prime Pantry Membership Info
In mid-2018 Amazon added a Prime Pantry membership option that allows you to waive shipping fees on orders $40+ — and made this a more attractive option for frequent purchasers by raising the flat rate Pantry box delivery fee for non-members to $7.99 (from its former $5.99). We’ll talk a little bit more about whether Prime Pantry membership is worth it, below.
How to Maximize Your Savings with Amazon Prime Pantry
Here’s how Amazon Prime Pantry works, as well as the best ways to save on your Amazon Prime Pantry orders. This will help you decide whether Prime Pantry is worth it to you, or whether it’s even an option you want to explore.
Note: Screenshots are for illustrative purposes only and don’t necessarily reflect current Amazon pricing or coupons, which are always subject to change.
How does Amazon Prime Pantry work?
Amazon Prime Pantry allows Prime members to fill and ship a large box with non-perishable grocery and household items, either for one flat rate shipping fee (currently $7.99 per box), or for free on orders $40+ with a monthly Prime Pantry membership.
Each Pantry item takes up a specific percentage of a Pantry box, which is calculated both by bulk and by weight: Heavier items take up a bigger percentage, and larger items take up a bigger percentage. A Prime Pantry box will ship with as many or as few items as you like; you don’t need to fill a box up 100%, but you can’t go over 100% full. You’ll see a note under each Pantry item indicating what percentage of your box it fills up.
Prime Shipping — Issues to be aware of
Since Pantry items are not included in Prime two day shipping, you won’t necessarily want to use Pantry for time-sensitive shipments. Prime Pantry items also ship only to business and residential addresses in the contiguous U.S.: No P.O. boxes, no APO/FPO.
How does Prime Pantry differ from subscribe & save?
While Amazon subscribe & save items often reward you with discounts and free shipping for bulk purchases, Prime Pantry is intended to be convenient for shoppers who might want just one or two of an item. Take this Barilla whole grain lasagne, for example. At the time of this post (prices can change at any moment…) I can purchase one box at $2.11 as part of my Prime Pantry box…
… or, I can purchase twelve boxes for as low as $27.52 with subscribe & save. While subscribe & save often works out to a better per item price, in this case, Pantry is actually a better price per box — and since it would take us years to go through 12 boxes of lasagne noodles, this makes the Pantry deal a better option for our family this time. Make a habit of comparing per item or per oz pricing, just as you would in traditional grocery stores.
If you’ve been watching Amazon’s offers over the past couple of years, you might also have noticed that some of the deals that were traditionally available on subscribe & save have sneakily been moving over to Prime Pantry, or that the same item is available with both, but with different pricing. Always check to see which is the better deal for you if you’re also a subscribe & save user: Sometimes Pantry is cheaper; sometimes subscribe & save will be cheaper. Prices in Pantry fluctuate just as often as prices across the rest of the Amazon site.
Is Prime Pantry membership worth it?
At the time of this post, you can get $5 off your Pantry order of $40+ with a 30 day Prime Pantry membership free trial; just use code PANTRY5 at checkout.
Yes, you need a Prime membership in the first place to do Pantry at all, and then:
- If you choose to pay ANOTHER $4.99 a month on top of your Prime Membership for the Prime Pantry membership add-on, you can get free shipping on all Pantry orders over $40.
Prime Pantry membership is worth the price if you ever use Pantry. Pantry shipping is now up to a straight $7.99 per box without a membership: It will cost you less for a month of membership than it would to ship a single Pantry box, and you can cancel at any time.
So if you want to try Pantry, you’ll want to take advantage of the free 30 day membership trial, use the $5 off code, and then cancel your membership if you find the service is not right for you.
Take Advantage of Prime Pantry Coupons
Be sure to use Amazon Prime Pantry coupons to bring down the cost of your Pantry items and make your box more affordable. Any available coupons will be listed on an item’s description page, or you can browse all Prime Pantry coupons here. Just as with coupons on regular Amazon purchases, these coupons do change up regularly and are available for only a limited time.
You’ll find both % off and $ off coupons in Prime Pantry each month. As with all Amazon coupons, these will only come off once, on one Pantry item — so for instance, the $.50 off a 5 pack of Kraft mac & cheese coupon shown above would only come off a single 5 pack, even if you added two or three boxes to your Pantry order.
You won’t be able to re-use a Pantry coupon until it resets or reappears for you.
Watch for Free Shipping Promos or Order Discounts
Amazon runs monthly Prime Pantry promos (such as the save $6 when you buy five select items offer at the time of this writing). These do often include lower-cost items, making them a good price after instant savings. Items and promos change up every month, and Amazon also often adds new qualifying items as they sell out — so it’s worth checking back later in the month if the initial batch doesn’t meet your needs.
Look for current Prime Pantry promos in the tabs at the top of the Pantry page.
Stack coupons with these promos
You can always stack Prime Pantry coupons on qualifying items in these free shipping promos, which helps you bring down the cost of your box even further.
Watch for No-Rush Shipping Promos
Whenever you place a regular non-Pantry order on Amazon, watch for “no-rush shipping” promos. Amazon regularly offers incentives for Prime members to opt into slower shipping, and sometimes you’ll see “get a $5 reward for Prime Pantry” as one of your options. Use this option when available (and when your shipment isn’t time sensitive), and that $5 credit will auto-apply to your next Prime Pantry order. Note that these do expire: You’ll receive an email when an offer credits to your account, which will list the expiration date.
Important: These $5 Prime Pantry Rewards will not stack with each other (one $5 credit per order) but you can stack them with other promos and Prime Pantry coupons.
Shop Prime Pantry Clearance
Just as with the clearance cart at your favorite local grocery store, sometimes the Prime Pantry clearance section is overflowing with deals, and sometimes the pickings are slim. Either way, it’s worth taking a quick peek into the Pantry clearance section any time you’re putting together a box — you never know, this time you just might get lucky!
Shop Whole Foods Items on Prime Pantry
Since Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, they’ve become the exclusive online retailer for select Whole Foods items — and they have chosen to only make these items available via Prime Pantry. Shop a number of 365 everyday value pantry items at similar prices to what you would find in store, making this a great option for Whole Foods fans who live further away from a physical store or enjoy the convenience of online shopping.
So, is Prime Pantry Worth It?
Prime Pantry is a useful option to have in your Amazon savings arsenal, especially if you have less storage space for bulky household and pantry items, live in a rural area where grocery prices are higher and stores less convenient (or in the city without a car!), or are shipping to a college student. That $7.99 flat rate is cheaper than filling and shipping a large box from your local post office (not to mention your savings on gas and time), and you’ll really start to save when you stack Prime Pantry coupons, free shipping promos, and credits.
I do use Prime Pantry occasionally, but only when there are great stacking promos available. I tend to use subscribe & save much more often, but can see using Pantry more when I have a student living further away from home.
Want to Save More on Amazon?
- How to Maximize Your Savings with Amazon Subscribe & Save
- 20 Amazon subscribe & save items under $2.00 (updated every Thursday)
- Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
Any more tips on maximizing your Prime Pantry savings? I’d love to hear them here.