In Which I Gingerly Poke at Amazon Subscribe & Save

There are so many options. Way too many options.

I wish my bathroom were this cute. Photo credit: m01229, CC BY 2.0.

I think this image explains why I was so hesitant to jump into the world of Amazon Subscribe & Save:

For starters, the toilet paper labeled “Amazon’s Choice” isn’t the least expensive option. If you look at price by count, the Extra Soft pack of 18 large rolls is the least expensive—plus you get that $1.50 coupon—but I don’t even know if a large roll would fit in my bathroom. (With my toilet-paper holder, a regular-sized roll comes pretty close to touching my bathroom wall.)

Then, when you click on the Scott Extra Soft Toilet Paper link to see if there is any information about roll dimensions, you find a bunch of customers complaining that the large rolls are actually regular rolls, or they aren’t as large as they used to be, or… well, there are a lot of people who are NOT HAPPY with their Scott Extra Soft Toilet Paper.

It’s worth noting that the Scott Extra Soft Toilet Paper reviewers do not clarify whether they bought their rolls from Amazon or from a third-party seller, which feels like a detail that should be included. After all, you might remember the time I bought shampoo from a third-party seller and had to immediately throw it out:

I’ve also bought hair dye from Amazon that arrived pre-opened, with dye goo running down the side of the bottle. I threw it out too.

But Amazon Subscribe & Save products are shipped directly from Amazon, which means they’re probably going to be okay. Right?

So let’s go back to my toilet paper options. We know from this weekend’s shopping that I was able to buy four rolls of regular Scott Tissue for $4.89, or $1.22/count. Subscribe & Save would be significantly cheaper, and I’d be able to stock a larger pile of toilet paper than I would ever be able to carry home from the Safeway.

I guess my hesitancy here is that it seems like a lot of work, to go through all of these options and set up the subscriptions. What if I considered other brands of toilet paper, too? I could spend a ridiculous amount of time optimizing this… or I could just grab the one labeled Amazon’s Choice and still save $0.62 on every toilet paper roll. (Yes, shipping is free.)

But I’m going to have to start Subscribing & Saving in August, aren’t I. I feel like I owe it to you—and to myself—to give it a try.

I tried Amazon Prime Pantry last year, and was disappointed to learn that my typical shopping combined with Amazon’s limited set of eligible products didn’t even fill a Pantry Box. I ended up tapping the “add more Kleenex” button until the thing was full enough to send, and then I had enough Kleenex to last for several months, which was nice, but… it still felt twice as stressful as just going to the store and getting what I needed.

But I would probably get used to Subscribe & Save, right? Amazon would get a little more of my data, which isn’t that big of a deal since Safeway was getting it anyway, and I’d spend half as much on toilet paper and, assumedly, other products. (Yes, I did think I would spend part of this post making a spreadsheet clarifying just how much I would save on each product. Then I realized that Subscribe & Save had an overwhelming amount of options.)

I’ve always used The Billfold to force my own hand, financially—which is why I originally started saving 10 percent of each paycheck and now 15 percent, and got out of debt, and the whole rest of it. So… the numbers say I gotta try Subscribe & Save, too.

Any advice from those of you who have done it before?