I am not a personal advertiser for Amazon. Maybe they will contact me after this post; but Subscribe and Save has helped the Jelineks save money. No joke. Here is the story.
For the first year of our marriage, we lived in a pretty small apartment and had no kids. This meant we ate out often, had take-out in front of the TV, never really cooked, didn’t keep a lot of food on hand and truthfully, did not think much of it. When we bought our first house, we got a little bit better at cooking and having food on hand. However, we were still notorious for going to the grocery store, spending $100 on food and then coming home with nothing to make for dinner. We certainly didn’t plan meals or really communicate about them in any way. Every now and again, one of us would decide to cook a meal. Not until we had two kids eating regular food were we forced to actually put more thought into our trips to the grocery store.
Now, the drive I take home from school every day takes me past a Target, Wal-Mart, Aldi and grocery store. This makes it very easy to stop at any one of these locations and quick run in to grab something. Dog food, carrots, paper towels, bread, milk; you name it and I have stopped to get it on my way home. I was in Target so often I felt the cashiers and I knew each other on a personal level. Here is the problem. You can not (or at least I can not) walk into any of these locations and get only the thing you went there for. It’s not possible, I have never met anyone that could do it…….ever. Even if you had a list!! So I would go to Target, get my one thing and a cart full of other stuff I “needed” and then be on my way home. I convinced myself it was a good deal or I would use it soon. If you read, Decluttering Take 2, you know I did not always use those items I “needed”. Oh and let’s not forget the Target or grocery budget. It would be blown each month because of all of my extra little stops. Again, I tried to convince myself it was okay, but I knew it was really not.
At the end of December, we went on a family trip. So in true Jelinek fashion we were talking while road tripping to our destination. We were talking about money…..ugh…..and ways to possibly save money in the new year. (I think we do this every year.) Jason suggested Amazon Subscribe and Save. I was skeptical. Amazon One Click made it much too easy for my husband to purchase things and have then in two days. I thought this might be another one of those types of things. But here is the info. You don’t have to be an Amazon Prime member to use Subscribe and Save. It is a subscription service in which you must pick at least 5 items to be sent to your house each month. You can vary the items’ frequency but you must have 5 items. If you do, you save 15% off of the price for each item. If you have less than 5, you only save 5% on each item. I make it a point to always hit five.
The main reason we started doing this was because of dog food. At the time we started Subscribe and Save, we had two labs. One young and one old; which meant two different kinds of dog food. I hated going to the store to push around 40 or 80 pounds of dog food. Then I would have to haul and load it into the car. Yuck!! So dog food was the first item we added to the list every month. Dodger has since passed away so we only have one dog food bag now. We put toilet paper and paper towels on rotating months, one month paper towels, one month toilet paper. The quantity is large, so one box of either one will last our family of five easily for two months. Then we added some snack foods for the girls. We originally added granola bars and Gold Fish every month because the girls can polish off a box of granola bars in days. Not kidding. But since we started Subscribe and Save, I felt we needed a little bit more variety. So I have them rotating with Pop Chips and cereal. I added another kind of granola bar for Jason and I and put it on a rotating month with the other variety of granola bar for the girls. I also discovered these all natural fruit strips the girls seem to like so I added those to our every other month situation. Here is an example:
Gold Fish Crackers
Granola Bars (girls)
Granola Bars (Jason and I)
So here is why it saves us money……I don’t go to the store as often. Period. I realize this may not be the pearl of wisdom you were probably looking for, but that is it. If I am not in the stores, I don’t spend as much money. The necessity items I would go to the store for are brought to my house. Yes I still need to make a Target run, but I find I am much better at looking for things I need to get and then making a list so I only have to run once a month instead of every day. Then if I add some extra items while I am there, I am only there once and not fifteen times. Yes I still need to go to the grocery store, but I try to meal plan for the month and only go there once as well.
There are of course limitations on what you can get on Subscribe and Save but they do have quite a variety. Everything from coffee to granola to paper towels. They do not have a lot of generic brands, which may be cheaper in the store. But again, my thing is if I go to the store, I tend to spend more money then I need to. They don’t have any perishable items, like fresh fruits and veggies, or any meats, but how much of those items are in your cart compared to pantry items?
Challenge time!! Perhaps Subscribe and Save is not right for you and your family. Since this post is titled One thing we did to save money, what is one thing your family does to save money each month? Could be a big thing or just a little thing? Saving money is always on the minds of busy people and families. Comment here or on our Facebook site, Speaking Jelinese. I appreciate all of the likes, comments and shares, so please hit those buttons!!
Talk to you soon,