Picture something straight out of the Jetsons—you push a button and your household supplies appear in two days—on your doorstep! It sounds way too good to be true, but it’s not. Meet Amazon Dash, the amazing new household supply service anchored by buttons you place around your house. Rumor has it, this is a phase-one project that Amazon is testing, and that they may move to other similar services soon (and what mom wouldn’t want to be able to push a button and get her groceries?).

What is it?

Amazon has made handy, branded buttons (they stick on things like Command hooks), and they make it easy for you to get what you’re needing with just one push. No more forgetting your list at Target, or forgetting what you needed when you place an Amazon order. The program is by invitation only (it’s sort of in beta mode right now) and only available to Prime members. Prime members can request an invitation here.

If you’re like me, and you imagined an industrious toddler pushing it 100 times and 100 bottles of Tide showing up at your door (and on your credit card), there’s no need to worry—the program has an auto lock feature that prevents a second order from happening until the first has been delivered. The program has certain brands and sizes of popular products available with the button, and all you do is connect your Amazon account over Wi-Fi to decide what size product of that brand you want.

How does it save me money?

The Dash button prevents spontaneous trips to the store when you run out of something (and paying full price). This is perfect for items you use all the time like formula, diapers, and wipes. You can view the list of available product lines here.

Some items on Amazon are really good prices, and this makes it easier to access those items. It’s also convenient, and if you’re a working parent (like me), who values their time over items where the margin is a bit higher on Amazon, then you’ll love the Dash button.

Keep in mind these are not coupon prices. Amazon Prime is typically higher than what I’d pay in-store, but again, sometimes I lack the time to coupon, so these are better than paying full price. I like the Larabars, and at just over $1.00 per bar, they’re reasonable and healthy. I also buy Tide Pods, when the price drops (more on that below), and I’m a loyal Huggies buyer.

How does it COST me money?

The cost of convenience may cost you more than you realize.

  • If you’re a loyal Amazon follower, you know that the prices fluctuate often. Pushing the button before you check the price can cost you if you don’t pay attention. I’ve seen my beloved Tide pods waver as much as 0.50 PER POD!
  • Obviously, Amazon prices can be higher from the get-go, but Amazon also offers coupons, so if you use the Dash button, those coupons don’t show up like they do if you’re on a phone or a laptop, which means you miss out on savings.

How should I use the button?

If you’re lucky enough to get the Dash button, you might want to heed this advice:

  • Place it out of the reach of children, or where you might bump into it easily, to prevent repeat orders.
  • Pay attention to your phone/emails and check for confirmation emails when you do push it. These will list the current price and what you paid, and you can cancel it if you move fast.
  • Track Amazon prices (I use a little notebook…totally nerdy, but it works), and write down comparisons between coupons, stock-up prices, and what you’re willing to pay if you run out and are desperate. These will help you gauge what a “good price” looks like for your personal lifestyle and budget. If a price stays pretty steady, you can feel more confident pushing the Dash button and not worrying about a massive price hike.
  • Watch for new brands and products to be added to the available list above, and then track those prices too. You may find a smashing deal, but be willing to do the legwork to make the button work for you, not against you!
  • Check for coupons on your smart phone or laptop before you use the Dash button (we know, it sort of takes the fun out of it, but it’s good to know before you order).

This is a post by Grace A. from Medford, Oregon