How to Use Amazon to Cheaply Prepare for an Emergency and Stock your Pantry

Update: Since first writing this post, terms of the Amazon Subscribe and Save program have changed. To see what we are doing now, please visit our newest post on using the Prime Pantry program to save more money.

You might laugh if you arrived at my house on the 25th of the month.  You'd see a UPS driver, followed by a FedEx driver, dropping of huge boxes on my front step.  Then, you'd see my 5 kids each grab armfuls of toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, soap, and more as they rush to put them in the various storage areas we have in our small 3- bedroom home.

To the outsider, it may seem that we have picked one of the most expensive ways to stock our pantry for an emergency.  After all, isn't known for some of the competitive price options featured on shows like "Extreme Couponers".  It is also rarely mentioned as a bargain retailer on many mommy coupon sites.

For us, however, Amazon has combined the ability to shop for convenience and price.  Here's how:

1.  We are Amazon Prime members.

We pay a $79 a year annual membership fee (which comes out to less than $6.60 a month, and in return, we get great perks like:
  • Free 2-day shipping on dozens of our regular purchases, including homeschool books, office supplies, and even our natural health remedy needs.
  • Access to Amazon Prime Instant viewing, which gives us free streaming entertainment from our laptop, iPad, PC, or our Roku TV box.  We watch unlimited free shows for Prime members, some of which aren't included in the competing packages for Netflix or Hulu Plus.
  • Free borrows from the Kindle ebook library for Kindle owners.

2.  We clip coupons.  Amazon offers coupons?  Yep.  In fact, many of the coupons are the same value or even higher than those offered in your local paper inserts.  Sure, you are using the $1.00 off coupon for a bigger package than the single items you would buy instore, but the savings adds up. Find out what coupons are available by visiting the home page for any shopping category (like Household Supplies, for example).  You can also scroll down to the bottom of any item description to see if there is a clippable coupon you can select. (See a screenshot below):

Looking for coupons good only on Subscribe & Save orders? See this link.

3.  We shop sales.  Amazon regularly discounts brands on a weekly basis.  Popular brands like P&G, Kind, Pampers, and Seventh Generation are marked down by 15 - 30% with no additional coupon needed!  You can usually find out the sales by visiting the category home page.

4.  We use Subscribe & Save.  By signing up for a monthly (or 2, 3, 4, or 6 month) delivery of an item, Amazon will lock in the price offered on the day you order and automatically discount 5% off the final price of that item.  If you have more than 5 items in your next Subscribe & Save shipment, you'll get a flat 15% off every item in your shipment.  This is on top of the sale price and the coupon clipped (if any.)  Note that you will want to cancel your shipment after it arrives to avoid getting subsequent shipments at a price higher than the original sale price.  We do keep quite a few items in our Subscribe and Save queue because we can't get them anywhere but Amazon and the free shipping appeals to us.  You'll want to monitor prices to make sure they don't go up too much, however.  You will also want to avoid using Subscribe & Save for items you need right away, as Amazon holds everything to issue just one shipment a month.

And don't forget those Subscribe & Save only coupons we talked about!

5.  We use Amazon Mom.  Amazon Mom adds another 5% savings onto our monthly Subscribe and Save order for a total of 20%! (Note: This has been recently changed to only include diapers and wipes.)

Here is an example of items from last month's shopping order that we got a GREAT deal on using the above tactics:

Clip the coupon for $4 off a Seventh Generation Baby Wipes product, and choose the 350-pack on sale for $12.99. Get an additional 10% off with Subscribe and Save. And an additional 5% off with Amazon Mom!

Get the $14.99 pack of Baby Wipes for just $7.04!  That's over 50% off! 

As you can see, this tactic works on anything you can buy through the Amazon programs.  Hot deals go quickly, but we've scored cheap toilet paper, paper towels, and more for our emergency stash.  Plus, it's a great way to save money on everyday items, especially when driving to the store can be so time-consuming and costly! (If you can't make quick money today, you might as well put away essentials for later, right?)

Wanna Try?  You can get a FREE 30-day trial of Amazon Prime via my special link.  Try it for yourself with no upfront payment and see how much you can save!

*Affiliate links were used in this post.  Opinions are 100% my own and all accounts are true!  We love Amazon!