How to Maximize Your Savings with Amazon Subscribe & Save — Stock up when you stack coupons, add instant savings, and avoid surprises!
But, woman cannot survive on one store alone! My second favorite place to shop for groceries, personal care, and household items may surprise you: I’m a huge fan of Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program, and get a shipment from them just about every month. I use Subscribe & Save to stock up on everything from laundry detergent to snack food to cat food, and everything in between.
If you haven’t yet tried Amazon Subscribe & Save, you’ve been missing out on some pretty nice savings — both money- and time-wise. So, here’s a little rundown of:
- How to use Amazon Subscribe & Save to get free shipping + up to 15% off your purchase price (20% off on certain items, for Prime members!)
- How to stack coupons & instant savings with Subscribe & Save discounts
- How to use filler items to increase your savings
- How to avoid unexpected price increases, and
- How to lock in good deals
Let’s get started with subscribing & saving, shall we?
As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
How to Maximize Your Savings with Amazon Subscribe & Save
Note: The screenshots in this post are for illustrative purposes only. They do not necessarily reflect current Amazon pricing or coupons, which are subject to change at any time.
So, how does this work? Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program signs you up for automatic repeating deliveries of your subscription items, at an interval of your choosing. But, importantly: You can skip or cancel any item at any time.
Amazon rewards you for subscription orders with free shipping, plus up to 20% off the item’s one-time purchase price.
Do I need Amazon Prime to use Subscribe & Save?
Before we get started, let’s tackle two of the most common questions about Amazon Subscribe & Save: Do I need an Amazon Prime account to use Subscribe & Save? Do I need a Prime account for free Subscribe & Save shipping?
You do NOT need an Amazon Prime membership to use the Subscribe & Save program. And, free shipping is always included in an item’s Subscribe & Save price — whether or not you’re an Amazon Prime member! That being said, though:
- Some Amazon Subscribe & Save items are available only to Prime members
- Some Amazon Subscribe & Save coupons are Prime-only
- Amazon Prime members qualify automatically for Amazon Family, which unlocks extra savings potential on certain baby and personal care products
I’ll talk more later on about special Subscribe & Save perks for Prime members, but no, you don’t need Prime to use Subscribe & Save in general.
How does Amazon Subscribe & Save work?
With that out of the way, here’s your step-by-step guide to using Amazon Subscribe & Save.
When you order an item on Amazon using Subscribe & Save, you’re signing up for repeat auto-deliveries of a product in exchange for free shipping, plus (generally) a 5-15% off discount on Amazon’s current price. To use this feature on qualifying products, look for a “Subscribe & Save” option under the regular item price.
Check the radio button next to Subscribe & Save in order to subscribe to the product. Use the drop-down arrow under “Deliver every:” to pick a subscription frequency, then click “Set Up Now” to be taken to the checkout page.
Any item you subscribe to is automatically added to your next Subscribe & Save delivery. You can, however, skip a shipment, cancel items, or move items to a later month’s shipment at any time.
You’ll want to watch: Amazon now often tries to sneak in a first shipment of your subscribe & save item before your Subscribe & Save delivery date. Look over on the right of the page under Subscribe & Save options for a “first delivery on” note. Click “change” to change that ship date so that the product ships with your next Subscribe & Save delivery (and gets the multiple-item discount we’ll talk about next), rather than earlier.
Again: Subscribe & save orders always ship for free; you don’t need to have Prime, and there is no minimum purchase threshold.
Multi-item discounts with Subscribe & Save
Subscribe & Save shipments containing one to four separate items qualify for a 0-5% discount off the one-time purchase price of each item, while orders of five separate items or more qualify for a 5-15% off discount. You’ll need to have five separate Subscribe & Save items scheduled in the same delivery shipment in order to get your extra % off. Once you add the fifth item, that additional discount automatically applies to all qualifying items scheduled for that month.
Increasing the Subscribe & Save quantity of a product does not count towards your five; they need to be five separate subscriptions.
The difference between 5% and 15% off does seem rather paltry on my little nail polish shown above — but, what happens when you’re subscribing to a $20 jug of laundry detergent pods… and/or a $25 family pack of TP? All of a sudden, that extra % off starts to make a difference. On the particular $19.99 laundry detergent price shown above, for instance:
- One-time purchase price, $19.99
- With a 5% Subscribe & Save discount, $18.99
- With a 15% Subscribe & Save discount, $16.99
Subscribe & Save at the 15% off tier now saves you $3.00 on your detergent, and also gives you free shipping (even without Prime). Saving several dollars on each large item can really start to add up — then, we can sometimes also stack on Subscribe & Save coupons (which we’ll talk about in a bit).
Amazon Subscribe & Save Filler Items
So, how do you score that extra % off savings? Make sure that you have at least five items in any Subscribe & Save shipment, so that you get up to 15% off all the items in your order. The best way to do so is by adding one or more cheap $1-$2 Subscribe & Save filler items to your shipment to help you get up to five total items, arriving on the same delivery date.
- Find a list of over 100 cheap Amazon Subscribe & Save filler items under $2.00 here.
- This list is updated every Thursday.
- Amazon prices change constantly; check the current price before subscribing
While it may seem paradoxical having to buy more to save more, adding cheap filler items often lets you save more than that $1-$2 filler item price on each expensive item in your order… and, you get a bonus handy filler item out of the deal.
This is why I often Subscribe & Save to things like the cheap little nail polish we talked about above. Yes, I buy filler items I’ll actually use (there are so many to choose from, something will work for you). Even better, though, adding something like a nail polish or other low-cost item(s) will save me more than the cost of that nail polish: Having five+ Subscribe & Save items drops the price of every bigger-ticket Subscribe & Save product in my delivery.
Does Subscribe & Save Pricing Change?
When you subscribe & save to a product, your very first shipment of that item locks in at the price at the time you ordered. In the above example: My upcoming 8 pack of Puffs facial tissue locked in at $7.47, which was their 15% off Subscribe & Save price at the time I subscribed. So Amazon will only charge me $7.47 when the Puffs ship, rather than the $9.60 Subscribe & Save price these currently run (15% off their single shipment cost of $11.29).
Watch sales on Amazon, and Subscribe & Save to products you need when you see them drop to a great price. Important notes here:
- If you skip a shipment, either as a whole or on a specific item, you lose the locked-in price
- If you change the date a shipment is scheduled to arrive, it does not affect the locked-in price
All future shipments after the first will be charged at the current Amazon Subscribe & Save price for each item. If you subscribed to get a deal or use a coupon, you may wish to cancel after the first shipment
Amazon sends you an email to review your Subscribe & Save order about a week before it is due to ship, which will include the items that are going to ship, their prices, and final cost of your order. You can make cancellations or adjustments at any time, and your credit card will not be charged until just before the items ship.
Combine Coupons with Subscribe & Save to Stack Your Savings
Now, let’s get crazy and start adding coupons! Remember that $19.99 pack of laundry detergent pods we talked about, which dropped to $16.99 on the 15% off subscribe & save tier? Well, when I look at the page for the item, I see that I can also check a box to clip a digital coupon for another $3.00 off my first Subscribe & Save order of that detergent.
How do Subscribe & Save Coupon Discounts Apply?
So, in what order do these discounts apply? Luckily for us: Your % off Subscribe & Save discount applies to the pre-coupon price of the item. This means that you’d get 15% off the original $19.99 price of the item, and then get another $3 off for clipping the coupon. My $19.99 detergent now drops to $13.99, after applying both the $3.00 coupon and my 15% off subscribe & save discount. You’ll see the coupon discount apply on the final checkout screen.
More good news: If you have a % off coupon to clip, it stacks with the Subscribe & Save % off. For example: If you clip a 15% off Subscribe & Save coupon, and stack it with a 15% off Subscribe & Save discount, you’ll save a total of 30% off the single-item price.
Things to Know About Subscribe & Save Coupons
Here are a few things to keep in mind about Subscribe & Save coupons:
- Subscribe & Save coupons only come off the first shipment of an item
- Subscribe & Save coupons only come off a single item
- Coupons are limited to one use per Amazon account
- Coupons disappear off an item’s page when they hit their limit or expire
- You must clip a coupon to your account in order for it to apply
Sometimes, you can just pick up an item at a good price with its subscribe & save discount. But sometimes, just as at your local grocery or drugstore, the real savings come in when you combine that Subscribe & Save sale price with a coupon!
How to find Subscribe & Save Coupons
When looking at the product page for any subscribe & save item, always check for coupons. These are usually listed under the item’s price in the middle of the page, as shown above.
Coupons may also be listed right under the Subscribe & Save price on the right-hand side of the page. Wherever you see the coupon on the page, check the box next to that coupon in order to apply it to your account. (If you’re not logged in when you click to clip a coupon, a login screen will pop up. Just log in to your account, then click the coupon again to clip.)
In addition to watching for coupons on individual item pages, you can also browse through all available coupons to look for deals.
- Browse current Subscribe & Save coupons here
- Look on the left-hand side of the page to sort by category
While browsing, when you see a coupon you like, just click “Clip Coupon” to add it to your Amazon account. Then, either click the picture of the product or the product description line right above the “Clip Coupon” button to see all of the items that qualify for that coupon.
Once you clip a coupon, it will remain in your account until you use the coupon or it expires. You need to clip the coupon before subscribing to the item, or it won’t come off.
While Amazon coupons are one-time use per account, they often run similar offers and re-offer coupons, so you can check back in the next month or so to see if a coupon offer has reset so that you can clip it again.
Combine Instant Savings with Subscribe & Save to Stack Your Savings
Amazon often runs instant savings deals on select products, letting you save extra — either when buying multiple qualifying items, or when you hit a specific dollar amount on qualifying items. These promotions do stack with Subscribe & Save, but the thing to remember here is that Amazon counts each subscribe & save item as a separate order.
That means that you have to change the Subscribe & Save quantity on a single qualifying item to hit the required quantity or dollar amount in order to stack; you can’t mix/match the items in these promos and still benefit from a subscription discount.
So, for example: On this buy two, save $5 instantly sale, I found a qualifying product that was also available for Subscribe & Save. Changing the Subscribe & Save quantity to two triggers the extra $5 discount for buying two qualifying items, letting you layer on both of those savings.
At checkout, these instant savings will show up as a “Multibuy Discount.” But now… let’s get super crazy with our savings!
In case you were wondering: You can also stack coupons with both instant savings and your Subscribe & Save discount! The above summary shows what happens when layering a $5 off $20 offer with both a 15% off coupon, and with a 5% off Subscribe & Save discount.
Prime Member Only Subscribe & Save Offers
While you do not need a Prime account to use Subscribe & Save, some special Subscribe & Save offers and coupons are reserved just for Amazon Prime members.
First: Amazon Prime members receive an Amazon Family discount of up to 20% off subscriptions to diapers, baby food, and other select products, when they have 5+ subscriptions in a month. (This beats the normal cap of up to 15% off!) And, these Prime-only discounts often stack with coupons for additional savings.
Amazon Prime members will also sometimes see Subscribe & Save coupons that aren’t accessible to those without a Prime account.
See also: Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
Cancel or Edit Subscriptions Any Time
You can cancel Subscribe & Save orders at any time with no penalty (up until the items lock for shipment, which is when Amazon charges you for them). I often cancel items right after their first shipment arrives, using its delivery as my reminder to cancel.
How to Access and Change your Subscriptions
So never fear: You’re not locked in to receiving these items forever! Here’s how to access and change your Amazon Subscribe & Save items. Start by logging into your Amazon account (if not logged in already) at the top right of the screen, then click “Account & Lists” right under your name in the upper right. You’ll see a menu item for “Subscribe & Save Items” a little way down the list.
(Alternatively, you can find your Subscribe & Save items under “Memberships and subscriptions” when you are viewing your account on Amazon.)
When you go into your Subscribe & Save items, you’ll see the most current shipment listed first, along with when it’s scheduled to arrive and your last day to edit this delivery. (Note that the “Estimated savings” Amazon lists here does not include coupons and instant savings, just the savings off the single-shipment prices of your items.)
At the top of the screen, you have the option to see your upcoming deliveries, to view all of your subscription items, or to change your settings — such as shipping address, payment method, or what day your monthly (or weekly!) subscriptions should arrive.
If you hit “Skip” under any Subscribe & Save item, it pops up a confirmation screen where you can choose to “Yes, skip this item” or “No, don’t skip.” If you choose yes, Amazon will move the skipped item your next delivery — but, tread carefully here. Skipping removes any coupons, instant savings, and/or locked in price on that item.
If you wish instead to cancel a subscription, clip on the picture of the item. This pops up a new menu, where you can click “Cancel subscription” at the bottom of the list. See detailed instructions on cancelling Amazon subscribe & save items here.
Amazon will ask if you are sure if you wish to cancel your subscription to that item. Click “Confirm cancellation.” (You are now required to select a reason in the drop-down menu shown above.)
Amazon Subscribe & Save: Just That Easy!
If you’ve been nervous about Amazon Subscribe & Save, give it a try. It’s super easy to cancel, and always worth it for the extra discount + free shipping. And, always look to see if there is a coupon and/or instant savings deal to combine with your Subscribe & Save discount for extra savings.
Questions? Comment here. More Amazon savings? Well:
- Browse all Amazon Subscribe & Save items
- Shop 100+ cheap Amazon subscribe & save filler items under $2.00!
- See also: Is Amazon Prime Worth It?
Amazon pricing is subject to change at any time. As an Amazon affiliate, I earn on qualified purchases. This guide was updated in May of 2021.