Amazon Subscribe & Save, Target Subscriptions, and Sam's Club Subscriptions each offer discounted prices in exchange for your automatic reordering of products at regular intervals. All three are extremely easy to set up. Both Target and Amazon are free, but Sam's Club’s subscription service requires a membership. Choosing the right service can save you time and money, so let’s compare:
Amazon Subscribe & Save
Amazon Subscribe & Save brings the everyday essentials your family needs to your doorstep every month. However, it's not just on autopilot–there are some pros and cons.
Save up to 15% on every subscription order. You save 5% on every shipment automatically. But you can increase that to 15% off if your order has 5 or more subscription products. For example, let's say your subscription box has laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, some cleaning supplies, body wash, and shampoo for the family, and the total comes to $100. After the discounts are applied, you're only going to pay $85. That's a deep discount from the start.
Clip Amazon exclusive coupons. Amazon has specific coupons for its Subscribe & Save program. You can simply click "Clip Coupon" and automatically save on your first order. A heads up–coupon savings are only applied to the first shipment.
Browse the huge selection. Hands down–Amazon Subscribe & Save has the best selection. Amazon has 23 different departments that are eligible for Subscribe & Save: pet supplies, makeup, arts & crafts, toys for the kids, tools for the husband, and more than 33,000 different grocery items.
Tip: It's okay to add something that you only need once or occasionally. For example, when the car needs new windshield wipers, I simply add them to the next month’s box.
Save 20% on diaper subscriptions. Every parent knows diapers are expensive and any penny saved is well worth the effort. If you join Amazon Family and add diapers to your subscription box, Amazon slashes the price of diapers 20%. But there’s a catch–you have to join Amazon Prime, which costs $99 per year. If you’re not convinced Prime is worth it, Amazon will give you a free 60-day trial of Amazon Family to see if it's right for you.
Set the delivery frequency. This gives you flexibility and convenience. Choose how frequently you want your items delivered, and Amazon will do the rest of the work for you. There are no commitments, obligations, or fees–and you can cancel your subscription at any time.
Get free shipping without Prime. Delivery is free with every subscription order, even if you are NOT an Amazon Prime member.
Find prices that beat Walmart. Amazon offers some of the best prices around on literally everything. Something my family uses a lot of are batteries. I've notice you can't beat Amazon prices. Don't just take what I'm saying at face value; the numbers speak for themselves. Amazon is more than 15% cheaper than Walmart.
Energizer Lithium AA Batteries Radioshack: $22.99
Energizer Lithium AA Batteries Best Buy: $19.99
Energizer Lithium AA Batteries Wal-Mart: $15.36
Energizer Lithium AA Batteries Amazon Subscribe & Save: $13.04
Shipping takes up to one month. Amazon allows you to set your own delivery date for your subscription. But your deliveries only come once per month, so if you need something right away, you’re out of luck.
Returns usually aren’t free. Amazon.com only offers free returns on some items. Look for "free returns" next to the price to confirm that the item qualifies for free returns.
Target Subscriptions is very similar to Amazon Subscribe & Save; everyday essentials are delivered to your doorstep. But, just like Amazon, there are some pros and some cons.
Save nearly 10% on every order. Target knocks 5% off the top on every subscription order, but if you use a Target REDCard (available in debit or credit) you can save an additional 5% on your total order (9.75% off total).
In-store gift card promotions are often valid on subscriptions. Target will often give $5 or $10 gift cards when you double up on a certain product. That's the case right now for Bounty paper towels. For example, right now if you order three bottles of Tide detergent, Target will give you a $5 gift card.
Take advantage of coupons. If you see a $5 off $20 Target beauty purchase offer at your Target store, you can bet that the same promotion is running online. Look for the promo to be advertised on the product page. Example: during a beauty promotion, look for $5 off $20 purchase code on the L’Oreal mascara page.
Returns: Returns are easy with Target Subscriptions. If you don't like the product, you can simply take it to your local store.
Free shipping: Target offers free delivery on every subscription order.
Selection is sparse. While Target Subscriptions include thousands of items, if you’re looking for something very specific, you may be out of luck. For example: I feed our furry family member Purina Pro Plan. Target only carries lower-end Purina dog foods, but Amazon has Pro Plan.
Navigating the website is confusing. Selection is great, but navigating Target.com and the subscription portion can be a bit confusing. I found it very easy to accidentally click away from subscription eligible products without even knowing it.
Sam's Club Subscriptions
Sam's Club Subscriptions are also very similar to Amazon and Target. You'll find household essentials that you and your family use every day, delivered to your home.
Get wholesale club prices from home. Sam's Club Subscriptions offers warehouse prices online. Unit prices are competitive with Walmart’s or Target’s regular prices. Plus, bulk items are convenient if you have a million kids like I do.
Look for ‘Instant Savings’ on top of already reduced prices. Sam's Club offers "Instant Savings" (their version of a sale) on a variety of products. Look for $2-$3 savings on dozens of items each week.
Free shipping: Just like the others, your subscription box will always be delivered free of charge with Sam's Club.
Limited selection: Sam's Club's selection is a fraction of what Target offers and a drop in a large bucket of Amazon. However, this is typical of wholesale clubs, whose low prices hinge on ordering large quantities, but fewer varieties.
Comparing prices and Amazon's prices being better: Sam's Club may offer warehouse pricing, but it's still not as cheap as Amazon. For example: Amazon is substantially cheaper for diapers pretty much across the the board, as illustrated by the price of Pampers Swaddlers below.
Pampers Swaddlers, 144 ct Target: $45.19
Pampers Swaddlers, 144 ct Amazon: $36.14
Note: Sam's Club got into the subscription service years after Amazon and Target. Consequently, Sam's Club doesn’t have many of the extra perks that the other two have. But, especially given that Sam’s is a Walmart enterprise, I can't help but be both excited and curious for what the future may hold.