A killer Amazon Subscribe and Save tactic

We really, really like us some Amazon.  For convenience, time savings, speed — and most of all cost — Amazon has a ton to offer.

Some of the groceries we get are a bit pricey because common ingredients don’t agree with some family members.  Often, Amazon comes through with the right products at a good price.

Even better:  a few of the items we buy are made even cheaper with Subscribe and Save.  We get a few percent off of some of our grocery items simply by agreeing to periodic, automatic purchase.  That’s the “subscribe” part that scores us the “save.”

“You ruined my groove, man!”

Once in a while, though, the best-laid plans run afoul.  Occasionally, our individual well-oiled Subscribe and Save machines backfire, and catch us unaware.  Just to keep us from getting too complacent.

My wife’s a fangirl of Torani Sugar-Free Vanilla Syrup.  It makes her coffee taste oh so good.  And we get it with Subscribe and Save.

Unless they’re sold out.  Which has happened a few times.  In that case, the nectar does not arrive on time, and my wife’s coffee becomes very unhappy.

Or, I’m a fanboy of Kitchen Basics beef stock.  Well, that’s not quite true:  I’m a fanboy of the Italian pasta and beef soup that my father-in-law makes with the Kitchen Basics beef stock.  And we get this also with Subscribe and Save.

This item usually arrives, but twice now the stock has been damaged in shipment.  It’s probably due to flimsy packaging.  But, if it doesn’t arrive on time, there’s a household-wide shortage of beef stock, and the bottomless bowl of my favorite soup gets a bottom … at the worst possible time, of course!

The solution to these obviously first-world problems?

Instead of planning the Subscribe and Save period to arrive “just in time,” plan to carry a small amount of inventory.

For the first couple of shipments, buy a bit more — or a bit more often — than you plan to consume.  Then, once you have an extra shipment (or two) worth of product, back off the frequency to match your consumption.  As far as I know, Amazon hasn’t gotten mad at anyone for doing this.

Then, when a shipment does explode all over the truck, or everyone on the planet buys the item at the same time and causes it to go on backorder, it’s not an emergency.  You have a supply.

And the best part is that you Subscribed and Saved the whole time!

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize life's good deals.

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  1. John says

    Just so you know, Amazon isn’t always the greatest for prices. I found it at my local grocery store for about $4.00, and WalMart shows it online ad (in store) for $3.98 = much less than the $6+ (4-pack = $24.62) from Amazon.

    • John Wedding says

      Thanks for the comment, John!

      I think you’re talking about the Torani Sugar Free Syrup, correct. I do see the syrup for $3.98/bottle at Walmart.com, and the 4-pack of bottles on Amazon.com are $24.62.

      However, the $3.98/bottle at Walmart.com is 12.2 fluid ounces ($0.33/oz), but the 4-pack from Amazon are each 25.4 fluid ounces ($0.24/oz).

      So, in this case, the Amazon package has the cheaper unit price, but you’re absolutely right that one place doesn’t always have the best price on anything.

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