Monthly Archives: May 2013

Using Amazon Subscribe and Save, Part 2

Mr. Saver is here again to talk a little more about Amazon’s Subscribe & Save (“S&S”) program. You can view yesterday’s Intro post on the Subscribe and Save program here.

First off, let me say that you can save money with the S&S program even if you use it in its most basic form, which is to:

  1. order the products that you normally use,
  2. set them on a reasonable recurring delivery schedule, and
  3. then wait for the products to arrive.

However, you can save more money if you give your S&S account a little TLC.

The simplest way to save money with S&S is to try to ensure that you have five or more products being delivered in a single month in order to get a 15% (rather than the standard S&S 5%) discount.  Regardless of the schedule you initially set up when you first ordered your S&S product, you can easily change the next delivery month for the product by going to your S&S page (you can access this by clicking on “Your Subscribe & Save Items” under “Your Account” on the Amazon home page).

The S&S page displays all the products you are currently subscribed to in the program.  To the left of each product is the product’s next delivery date (e.g. “June 15”) and the delivery schedule (e.g. “1 unit every 4 months”).  By clicking on the “Change” button to the right of the delivery schedule, you can change both the delivery month and frequency.

Once you have a little experience with the S&S program, you will find your own best rhythm to the shipments.  For me personally, I have found that bimonthly shipments work best to keep us well-stocked.  Mrs. Saver may occasionally say these bimonthly shipments keep us TOO well stocked, but we agree to differ on this issue.

In tomorrow’s blog post, I will explain how you can lock in your best price using S&S.

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How to Save 15% with Amazon Subscribe and Save

"Honey, the Amazon order is here!"

“Honey, the Amazon order is here!”

By Mr. Healthful Saver

It is my pleasure to guest write the Healthful Saver blog today and give Mrs. Saver a day off.  Like Mrs. Saver, I love to save money, but I readily admit that I don’t like to work hard to do so.  One of the easiest ways I have found to save money is Amazon’s Subscribe & Save (“S&S”) program.

If you shop at Amazon at all, you have likely come across items offered in the S&S program.  The program includes household items that one buys routinely throughout the year like vitamins, shampoo, and water filters.

When you purchase your first item through the S&S program (by clicking the “Subscribe” button), you choose how often you want to receive the item (e.g. once a month, once every three, etc.) and which day of the month you want your S&S items to arrive.  You can easily cancel the subscription later or change the frequency so there is no danger in buying something via S&S, even if you are not sure if you will want to order it more than once.

All items ordered via S&S are discounted 5% off normal Amazon prices and come with free shipping.  If you have five or more S&S items arriving in a single month, you instead receive 15% off the normal Amazon prices for all those items.  Amazon will ship all those items to you in one box and they are, in essence, passing the savings along to you.

With the discounts, the prices in the S&S program range from so-so to very, very good.  In general, I find the best deals are on products that I would normally need to buy in a speciality or health food store.

While the S&S program is simple, there are some strategies to help ensure that you get the lowest prices.  I will discuss one of those strategies in tomorrow’s post.

Menu Plan Monday – 5/20

IMG_3505-privateAs I mentioned in my post “What I Did This Week to Save Money“, I am keeping the menu this week focused on using items I already have at home so that our lawnmower and car maintenance appointments don’t hit the weekly budget so hard.  When I put my mind to it, there were a lot of good dinner choices already on hand.

Monday – Sweet and Sour Chicken and Egg & Veg Fried Rice

Tuesday – “Old School” Tacos, corn.  We’re talking hard shell tacos, grated cheese, shredded lettuce – just the way the school cafeteria used to do it up.

Wednesday – Tuna Salad, Deviled Eggs, and Fruit … rescheduled from last week

Thursday – Hot dogs and pea soup

Friday – Eggs, bagels and fruit

If you would like to see some other menu plans for inspiration, head over to orgjunkie.com.  What’s on your menu this week?

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What I Did This Week to Save Money – 5/18

It was a great week for the budget – we ended the week with 50% of our weekly money unspent.  I attribute this to meals at home, no trips to CVS, no checks for school events, no haircuts.  Not every week can be this way, but we took advantage and put most of the surplus into savings.

We also….

  • Ordered school supplies for next year.  When I order early, I receive a discounted price.  The biggest savings comes from staying away from Target in August when there are so many temptations!  We set money aside for the school supplies a few months ago.

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    Magnolia Blooms – So Pretty

  • Had one day this week where we bought nothing and I didn’t drive anywhere.
  • Stuck to our meal plan this week and only needed $ 65.00 in groceries
  • Got some Johnsonville Cajun Chicken Sausage for .78 double couponing.  This will be enough for 2 meals. Now I am seeking an easy recipe for jambalaya.

Planning for the future:

  • Started a frugal meal plan for next week to minimize  grocery expenses because we have lawnmower and car maintenance scheduled.  These costs ($ 100.00) have not been separately budgeted for, so we may be looking at a week where all or most of our weekly money is spent and there is no surplus to allocate.  By having a “cheap week” we avoid having to borrow from our savings to cover weekly expenses.  If you are a Dave Ramsey fan you call this “getting on the beans and rice.”
  • Husband expressed wish to add a budget category called ‘Work Expense’ for retirement gifts, going-away party refreshments, etc.  We will add $5.00 or $10.00 to this fund when we do not spend all of our weekly money and build it up.
  • Discussed a summer weekend trip we have budgeted for but we now believe we need to allocate additional money to cover museum entrance fees.  We moved some of the surplus money from this week to the trip fund.

It is hard for me to imagine life without a written budget, especially when you have two people spending money.  The budget takes all the purchases we have each made (and yes, that includes cash too) and funnels them into one picture.

I would love to hear how your week went and about any financial planning you did for the weeks ahead.

So You’re Debt Free… Where are the Granite Countertops?

This post was partially inspired by my dear friend, who asked recently whether we had any home reno projects planned.  She knows we paid off our house two years ago, but as of yet, there aren’t a lot of outward signs that we are living any differently or “living like no one else” as Dave Ramsey would say.  There’s no BMW in the driveway, and, sadly, no granite countertops either.

I pondered our debt-free lifestyle myself over New Year’s as our family discussed travel plans for the summer.  Should we take a dream vacation out West?  Could we afford it?  The “brat” part of my brain said, “You have NO payments, so book the vacation and I’ll take a day at the spa, too, while you’re at it!”

I came to the realization that in the first few years after becoming debt-free, “living like no one else” partially means saving like no one else.  If you really embrace the idea that you are going to be debt-free for life, you have now turned into your own bank.  Want a new car?  The money is coming from your own accounts, not GMAC Financing.  Need a roof? That’s coming our of your short-term savings, not a home equity loan.  Braces?  Kitchen reno?  You get the idea.

It’s kind of daunting.

The up side, though, is huge.  When you set your monthly budget, you are completely free to allocate your money however you see fit.  You don’t have a $400.00 payment to set aside for Nissan, or a $1000 payment to your mortgage company.  You alone determine your goals and how to fund them.  A cherry on the top…. there is more money to work with because you aren’t paying interest to borrow someone else’s money!

We said yes to the vacation.  The spa and the granite countertops will have to wait.

What are your thoughts on living and saving like no one else?

Menu Plan Monday – May 13

Free-Downloads-Vector-Vintage-Stove-GraphicsFairy-red

It’s looking like a warm week ahead, so in menu planning I am thinking of easy meals that let everyone get outside after dinner.

Monday – Make Your Own French Bread Pizza and Caesar Salad
Tuesday – Brats (German sausage) on the grill, baked beans
Wednesday – Busy with activities, husband bringing home Mexican food using birthday coupon
Thursday – Tuna salad, deviled eggs, French bread, fruit
Friday – Fend for Yourself night… Quesadilla, grilled cheese, PBJ etc

If you would like to see some other menu plans for inspiration, head over to orgjunkie.com.  What’s on your menu this week?

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What I Did This Week to Save Money – 5/11

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This week I wanted to change things up a little with my weekly post.  As I was cleaning off my nightstand I found the bead you see pictured.  This spring our family went to a Native American Pow-Wow where we met an artist and her adult special-needs son.  The son offered us each one of these beads with a leather tie.  The woman explained that this was a good luck bead; however, it wasn’t to bring you good luck, but rather to remind you to appreciate the good luck you already have experienced in your life.

To me, that is an invitation for gratitude for the people and the things I am so fortunate to have in my life.  A car that runs – so lucky!  Water that comes out of a faucet!  Parents and a husband who have always been there for me.  The love of my child.

All of this abundant luck, finer than anything from the mall.  Thank you.

What does the good luck bead remind you of?