I Love Amazon, but Not Subscribe & Save. Here's Why

Amazon has become a go-to shopping destination for me for a few reasons. For one, I hate battling crowds of people to shop in physical stores. And for another, the convenience of having items delivered to my door is hard to resist.

But despite how much money I’ve spent on Amazon purchases (I placed 105 orders in 2022), and how much I’ve become a part of the Amazon ecosystem (I have both a Prime membership and the Prime Visa card), I’ve resisted signing up for one of Amazon’s flagship programs. That’s right — I don’t use Subscribe & Save.

What is Subscribe & Save?

Amazon Subscribe & Save lets shoppers set up subscriptions to the products they buy often — Amazon says hundreds of thousands of items are available for the service. When you pick a product, you can decide how often it’s sent to you, as well as the quantity each time. The per-item price for Subscribe & Save is 5% less than just buying normally, and if you receive five or more items to one address in an auto-delivery, you’ll save 15%. And anyone can take advantage, so you don’t have to be a Prime member.

You’re not locked into these products or the particular quantity/delivery schedule you set up. You’re allowed to change them, or cancel, or skip deliveries if you feel like it. You just have to remember to do so ahead of time by going to the “Manage Your Subscriptions” section of Amazon’s website. I have a busy life, and adding the task of reviewing automatic orders (and subsequently canceling/changing them) to my to-do list just isn’t appealing to me. I’d rather forgo Subscribe & Save altogether.

No Subscribe & Save for me

While I’m sure Subscribe & Save comes in handy for a lot of Amazon shoppers, here’s why it’s not for me.

I don’t always use products at the same rate

Subscribe & Save offers shoppers the chance to schedule deliveries of some items on a regular cadence. I’m sure this is fantastic for those who know how often they need a fresh delivery of paper towels, diapers, coffee, and beyond. But I just don’t go through items on a predictable schedule, and depending on the deals I find out in the world beyond Amazon, I sometimes buy things from my local grocery store or big-box store instead and forgo the Amazon order.

I don’t like automatic charges on my credit card

Despite turning my finances around and breaking out of the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, I’m still not comfortable with my money moving around on its own. It’s for this reason that I haven’t automated my savings contributions and I don’t use autopay for bills unless it’s absolutely required (looking at you, insurance company that has my car and renters policies). I also don’t like automatic credit card charges, especially when they’re for amounts that aren’t predictable.

I’d prefer to check prices myself

Finally, I’ve decided against Subscribe & Save because prices can and do fluctuate, and I might end up with a charge on my credit card for more than I expected. I’ll note that Amazon sends a price email to Subscribe & Save users about a week before their scheduled delivery, and that will tell you if your items have changed in price, but emails are easily lost in my busy inbox, and when I know I’m running out of something I buy frequently, that’s when I take the time to check prices. And again, I might find a lower price at one of my other haunts — saving money often takes precedence over the convenience Subscribe & Save could offer.

If the internet is any indication, a lot of people like Amazon Subscribe & Save. I understand how not having to think about placing an order for something you use frequently can be a big timesaver for a lot of people, but it’s just not a fit for my life and my personal finances. And that’s perfectly fine — not every service is right for everyone.

If you’re an Amazon shopper, you might want to take Subscribe & Save for a spin. Just watch out for price fluctuations, and if you’re not using up a certain product at the rate you expect, hop into your account and change the frequency of deliveries or cancel them altogether.

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