How I save time, money, and mental space using Amazon

I hate Walmart.

<Insert long, progressively more cringe-worthy recap of a recent visit to Walmart>

Target is cool, but long lines aren’t.

So why go? Is there a better alternative that’s all encompassing, or nearly? Ebay? Boxed? Vons groceries to my door?

Amazon. Here’s what I do to save tons of time, money, and mental space.

What you’ll need:

Amazon Prime Membership is the best $99 you’ll spend. It’s the foundation of your easier-with-’zon life and you’ll want to buy it rightnow rightnow. You get:

  1. Free 2 day shipping on most items (including stupidly heavy stuff)
  2. Access to a lot of media through Amazon, such as Prime Music, Prime Video, Prime Photos, and other goodies that don’t help you shop cheaper but are totally cool. Side note — Prime Music is an awesome desktop app.
  3. Sharability within your “Household”.

Amazon Prime Rewards Signature Visa: a spiffy metal credit card that does a lot, but most importantly, gives you 5% back on your Amazon purchases. This is where you’ll do all of your Amazon purchases, effectively giving you a 5% discount on everything you find, but giving it back as cash credit toward more purchases.

Tricks of the Trade

Amazon Subscribe and Save: to be brief, Subscribe and Save is a free, no contract, no penalty way to schedule recurring shipments of select items to your home at your specified interval. The big benefit here is the discount you receive on shipments of more than 5 items — up to 15%. Here’s an example of this months delivery to the Vernon home:

Lots of dogs = lots of cleaning

You’ll notice some items we’re getting at as much as 15% off, with even more back because this charges to our Amazon Visa card. Some of these come every month (90 pounds of dog food, for example), where as others come at 1 to 6 month intervals, like the paper towels we order every quarter. Subscribe and Save is excellent for a wide range of things that you need every month. Things you may not think of:

Snacks-Beef jerky, chips, gummies

Household Disposables-Air filters, toothbrushes, even undershirts

Construction Supplies-Screws, grease, gloves

Trying to run a small business like we do at Subscribe and Save keeps us fully stocked on notepads, whiteboard markers, packing tape, and Advil.

Again, the big benefit of Subscribe and Save is that you can cancel, push back, add, remove, basically any changes you can think of at any time with no penalty. The downside? Not every item on Amazon is eligible for and it can be tricky to find the actual Subscribe and Save “store”. I’ve linked it here.

Amazon Prime Now app:

Download this to your phone if you live in select cities. As of this writing, applicable cities include:

Atlanta-Austin-Baltimore-Boston-Chicago-Cincinnati-Columbus-Dallas-Fort Worth-Houston-Indianapolis-Las Vegas- Los Angeles-Orange County-Manhattan-Brooklyn-Miami-Milwaukee-Minneapolis-St. Paul-Nashville-Orlando-Phoenix-Portland-Raleigh-Richmond-Sacramento-San Antonio-San Diego-San Francisco-Seattle-Tampa-Virginia Beach-Washington, DC.

Prime Now gives you the ability to shop for items in the fulfillment center nearest you. These include perishable items like eggs, milk, butter, lettuce, etc. At first, the service was pretty skimpy on what was available. Now it’s fully fledged.

Think of Prime Now as your mid-week trips to the grocery store. Except you’re not going. It shows up at your door 1–2 hours after you order it via independent courier, and the only additional expense is the option (but recommended) tipping offer for your driver. No delivery fee.

An example of how I recently used Prime Now:

4:00pm: Internal monologue - “Ugh. I don’t have dinner and don’t need fast food.

4:01pm: Order romaine lettuce, frozen chicken strips, caesar salad dressing, croutons, parmesan cheese, and ice cream in the Prime Now app at my desk.

5:00pm: Arrive home, take care of dogs, change into more comfortable clothes, preheat oven.

6:08pm: Accept Prime Now delivery at my door.

6:41pm: Eating chicken caesar salad with ice cream for dessert+guilt.

In Summary

You don’t have to “go to the store” if you live in one of the above cities and are willing to plan out your needs a bit ahead of time.

Subscribe and Save is where you get all of your disposable stuffs.
Prime Now is where you get your perishable food.
Amazon Prime is for everything else.

Enjoy more time at home, less Walmart horror stories, and boxes you can sell on apps like OfferUp!

-Josh Vernon