How a Scatter-Brained Mama Uses Amazon Prime to Save Her Sanity

How a Scatter-Brained Mama Uses Amazon Prime to Save Her Sanity at


Hubby: Can you get some soap? We’re about to run out!

Me: It’ll be here on Monday!

Hubby: Oh, good.

Me: Can you show a little more excitement than that? I mean, I actually noticed we were running out! And I ordered it! Before you even asked!!

Hubby: (With overly-fake-excitement) Wow. You are on it! I’m the luckiest man on earth.

dial soap

I’ve mentioned before that I order many of my household basics (soap, cleaning supplies, trash bags, toilet paper, etc.) on Amazon. Really, it makes my scatter-brained life easier.

Several of you have asked me to share details, so here you go. This isn’t a sponsored post, but it’s definitely going to be chock full of affiliate links.

Chock. Full.

Here’s how it happened.

Years ago, I signed up for a special free trial of three months of a Prime membership. A Prime membership lets you get free shipping on anything marked as Prime. Without a Prime membership, these marked items ship free when you have a minimum order of $35.

Not having to have a minimum order was awesome.

My trial membership was in the fall, and I was able to grab great deals on Christmas presents. When a certain Barbie was on sale for half off for one day only, I grabbed it. I loved not needing to add enough other stuff to get to free shipping.

As a born cheapskate, I canceled that membership before the three months were up so it wouldn’t charge me. But the next Christmas, I signed up for another one month trial of Amazon Prime. Some people say they haven’t been allowed to do more than one free trial, but I was able to that time.)

(You can sign up for a free month trail here: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial)

I thought I’d cancel again.

I forgot to cancel. Just like I’m sure they’re hoping everyone will do.

I was a little mad at myself, but also a little glad.  I really (like, really really) loved having a Prime membership for those three months the year before.

And I’d started hearing about people ordering toilet paper on Amazon.

We were forever running out of toilet paper.

You know when I think about needing toilet paper? When I’m sitting on the toilet.

Once I yell at someone to bring me some Kleenex, wash my hands and go about the rest of my day, I forget all about needing toilet paper.

You know when I NEVER think to buy toilet paper? When I’m in a store that sells toilet paper.

It’s my reality.

So I didn’t call to see if I could still cancel. And the next time I realized I was going to need toilet paper soon, I went straight to my computer (with my freshly washed hands) and ordered toilet paper. The price was comparable to what I’d pay in the store. (I’ll rant about that in a minute.)

How I Use Amazon Prime to Keep the Basics on Hand

Then we needed trash bags. You think I remember trash bags when I need to remember trash bags? Nope.

And shampoo.


And paper towels.

And dishwasher tablets.

And eyeliner.

And anything else I thought of that I could check in the moment when I remembered we needed it.

That’s the thing I love. I get to act on our need in the exact moment when I realize we have that need. Then, as would happen anyway, I completely forget about it. Two days later, my doorbell rings and that thing we need is sitting on my doorstep.

Delivered right to my doorstep at

It’s a scatter-brained mama’s dream.

Again, you can do this anyway, without a Prime membership, but you have to have a minimum purchase of $35 worth of Prime items to get free shipping. I like being able to ONLY order the thing I need and still get the free shipping.

Are the Prices Comparable to the Store for Household Items on Amazon?

We have to talk about comparable price. As a former couponaholic who prided herself on getting free (if you don’t count the value of the hours spent searching for deals and cutting and organizing coupons and going from store to store) toilet paper, I do feel a twinge of pain when I pay money for certain things.

But when I remind myself that I haven’t used a coupon in several years, I make myself compare the price on Amazon to the price I look for in sales ads. If the price of the item on Amazon (with free shipping) is around that “buy price” I look for in stores, I go for it.

And, to be honest, there have been many times when I was just flat OUT of something and had no choice but to pay the non-sale price. Those irritating memories let me justify paying a small bit more than my ideal price for the convenience of never having to think about it again and having it show up at my door. After all, I’m not taking time away from family or blogging or housework to make a special trip to the store and I’m not using gas to get there.

But, not everything is comparable, so pay attention. I can sometimes get shampoo for the same price that I’d pay in a store, but sometimes I can’t. I haven’t found the dishsoap I like or the deodorant or toothpaste I use for a decent price available with Prime shipping.

Not Everything on Amazon Qualifies for Free Shipping with Prime

Looking for the Prime symbol is very important. It has to look like this:

make sure it's marked Prime at


Many household items have a different symbol called Prime Pantry. This is different. It lets you pay one shipping price for a group of smaller items that add up to a certain price. I’ve never used it.

There are also “add-on” items.


These are usually smaller items like mousse and make-up. If you are a Prime member, they ship free with a prime order that adds up to $25. Or, you can combine various “add-on” items to get to $25.

If there’s an add-on item you need, but you don’t need it right now, go ahead and put it in your cart. When you place an order for something else later, it will ship along with that order for free if that order qualifies. If you make an order that won’t qualify for the item to be added on, Amazon automatically moves it out of your cart. (But always check your cart before ordering to be sure it only has the things you want to purchase right then!)

add on item on amazon gets automatically saved for future order

Is a Prime Membership Worth the Price? (Almost $100 a year.)

So is a Prime membership worth it? Yes. For us. Because I’ve decided to place value on the convenience of being able to order what I need when I need it. I use it multiple times each month.

If you know you’ll be needing some basic household items like these soon, sign up for the free trial of Amazon Prime and give it a try to see if you like it. Just be sure to cancel before the trial period is over if you decide you don’t like it. Otherwise, you’ll be charged for a year’s Prime membership.

There are other perks of a Prime membership in addition to free shipping.

There’s Prime video. Certain videos (though not a huge selection) that would cost you otherwise are free to watch instantly if you have a prime membership. Kind of like NetFlix.

There’s also Prime music. My boys have found a lot of music they can listen to for free on their Kindle because of our Prime membership. When my daughter was in Annie, she was able to listen to all of the broadway version recordings for free with Prime.

And, my favorite, you can borrow one Kindle book each calendar month. It’s not any Kindle book, only ones whose authors have made their digital versions exclusive to Kindle. For example, 28 Days to Hope for Your Home wouldn’t count, but my Disney e-book would.

When I read The Hunger Games trilogy (because my son was reading them so I couldn’t avoid them any longer) they were all free for me to read on my Kindle, one per month. I read most of the Harry Potter books for free this same way. It’s a nice little perk of having a Prime membership. Note, though, that you can only read these free when you have an actual Kindle. This doesn’t work on the Kindle apps.

More Things to Know About an Amazon Prime Membership


With a Prime membership, if you order something when you’re not desperate, you can choose “No-Rush Shipping” and get a $1 credit toward a digital purchase (like music or one of my e-books).

And this isn’t a perk that’s specific to Prime (anyone with an Amazon account will have this), but it’s worth mentioning for the excessively scatter-brained types. I bought my printer on Amazon a few years ago. When I need ink, I search what I think I need, and Amazon TELLS ME IF IT’S THE RIGHT INK. All caps there, because that’s music to this paranoid mama’s ears.


I’m really not trying to sell you a prime membership. (Though it totally seems like I am.) We didn’t have one for a very long time, and we survived. But now that we have had ours for two years, I feel it’s safe to say we always will. We like it that much.

Since it’s about to be Christmas shopping season, you might want to try a free trial to see if you love it like we do. If you’re a student with an email address that qualifies, you can get a really great deal with AmazonStudent’s free trial: Join Amazon Student FREE Two-Day Shipping for College Students.

FB How a Scatter-Brained Mama uses Amazon Prime to Save Her Sanity at

Soon, I’ll share how we use Subscribe & Save, a really cool feature on Amazon that isn’t exclusive to Prime members.

I’d love to hear your experiences with ordering household basics on Amazon. And remember that every single link in this post was an affiliate link. This means that if you get to Amazon on any one of them, anything you buy today will earn me a small commission without affecting the price you’d pay.

Also, note that the prices on Amazon change ALL the time. (Like, multiple times a day sometimes.) So the price you see if you click through might not be the price I paid.


If this makes sense to you, and you want more home management strategies that actually make sense (to us not-naturally-organized types), check out my new book, How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind. The book will be released wherever books are sold on November 8th, so pre-order now. HowToManage_3D


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  1. 1

    I find I save money with Prime because I’m only ordering what I need and not adding a bunch of stuff to get the free shipping.

    Also, if you use their app, you can order toilet paper before you even leave the bathroom. You can manage wish lists and gift lists from the app. So when my husband mentions something he wants while we’re in the car, I add it to my list.

  2. 3

    I’ve been able to do the free trial many times over the years. Finally “broke down” and got it when they did th $67 special. I was excited about the price break. Thanks for the details.

  3. 4

    Amazon student is even better 6 mos free prime, then 4 years half off prime cost. But you do need a student email account

  4. 7

    I love our Amazon Prime…and how timely you should mention toilet paper. I need that exact brand, so I ordered using your affiliate link. Great post!

  5. 9

    I love Amazon! The prime tv is great for young kids shows, not so great for adults lol, I’m also a long distance commuter, and I love that of I think it’d something I need I can wishlist it out order it from the app rather than trying to remember when I get home that I need to look it up. And two day shipping has saved my butt on more than one birthday present that was forgotten until the week of the birthday!

  6. 10
    MelindaJane says:

    I lurrrrve Amazon Prime! I can find literally ANYTHING on Amazon, it seems. Do you use Prime Pantry?? I keep meaning to look into it…. Any thoughts?

  7. 13

    I’ve enjoyed Amazon Prime for the video. We’ve watched Parks and Recreation and Parenthood for free. The selection isn’t mindblowing, but we are able to avoid paying for cable and netflix AND get free shipping on Amazon purchases. Win-win for us! 🙂

  8. 14

    I love my amazon prime membership for all it offers. We not only love the free two day shipping on Prime items but the video streaming and the music. I’m just going to throw this out there to you and you may not be as impressed as I was. I started using a new company called It is fantastic. It does have a membership fee of $49.00 a year but right now if you google free membership you can get a code for a 6 month membership for free. It is almost like an online Sam’s club. I have found some items at half the price of Amazon prime. You do have to order $35.00 minumum to qualify for free shipping. And most items arrive within 2 days and they are makred that way. I would love to hear if anyone else uses them and what they think. I also have ordered from I have not found their prices to be as great but they are not bad. I love when I can get anything ordered over the internet and shipped free to my house.

  9. 15

    I feel like our prime almost pays for itself. Our family is almost all out of state, so we try to order prime for all gift giving occasions, saving the cost of shipping and time at the post office. We’ve even ordered furniture off Amazon and had it shipped free. If we got rid of it, it would be a major adjustment!

  10. 16

    I love prime. We are on my sister and her husband’s account so we just get the free shipping and not the other stuff. Some years I’ve done almost all my Christmas shopping on Amazon. My husband just bought a new ski jacket. They didn’t have his size at the store so he checked Amazon when he got home and not only did they have but it was on sale. I’ve thought of ordering toilet paper and such but haven’t yet.

  11. 17

    When I decided to get Prime, I reduced my gas budget by $20 a month to pay for it. I figured that if it wasn’t actually saving me the fee plus additional money, it wasn’t worth having it.

    After 6 months, gas had gone UP at the pump and I was reducing my gas budget further because I wasn’t using it all in my allotted timeframe. Also naps. Many more naps.

    The fact that I, as a disabled person, can avoid going to stores as often as I manage to avoid it because of Amazon is awesome. But like you, I do my pricing research for pretty much everything.

  12. 19

    Thanks for explaining it 🙂
    While I’ve seen it many times, I haven’t bothered to check it out yet.

    With a single person retired household, I don’t know that I can justify the cost…
    but I think when I get ready again to “stock up” the trial membership will be great!
    I tend to buy only in major spurts – spaced 6 months apart or so 🙂

    Thanks again !

  13. 21

    Had no idea about the $1 credit for ” no rush ” shipping !

  14. 23

    I love Amazon Prime! It’s been worth every cent! I don’t even shop for the household that much, but it was great for Christmas gifts. In addition, I have things on my wish list and check periodically to see if they’re on sale-I got a Little Green Carpet Machine for half price a few weeks before Christmas (I have 3 cats that take it in turns to barf on the carpet…usually just after I’ve had it cleaned), and since it was Prime, there was no shipping-less than fifty bucks for a carpet steamer? Heck Yes!

    I do use it a lot for food items-we like particular brands of certain things-beer batter mix for fish, chicken fry mix for chicken, a certain German stew seasoning, coffee flavoring syrup, etc. I buy these things once or twice a year, but it’s nice not to have to track down a store that carries them because stor inventory can change drastically during the year and the same store won’t always have the same thing.

    As you said-it is a wonderful thing for the scatter brained! 😀

  15. 24
    Mary/FishyGirl says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention the Subscribe and Save feature! I’m the Queen of Scatterbrained, so being able to just pick the toilet paper we use and then have them send me a case every couple of months (or whatever frequency I choose) is worth the price of prime to me. So I get all of the benefits you mentioned above, and the only time I have to think about toilet paper is when I need to bring new packages up from the basement to the bathrooms. Otherwise, it just appears on my doorstep.

  16. 26

    We’ve had Prime for several years and would not be without it. I haven’t used it to buy household items,but I like the idea very much. Every time I go to the store I buy 15 things I didn’t need! So even if the amazon price isn’t the cheapest, I will probably still save money.

  17. 27

    We’ve been utilizing the Amazon Dash Buttons. When I go to get a roll of paper towels and notice we are low, I just hit the Bounty button. When my laundry detergent is low, I hit the Tide button. My product is ordered without need of going to the computer. I’ve enjoyed the paper towel and detergent buttons so much that my husband ordered five more buttons for various products. Price is comparable to the store and I dropped our Sam’s Club membership, which was about the same price as Amazon Prime.

  18. 28

    Late to the party, but I’ve been using Boxed and Jet, and both of them have *mostly* Costco/Sam’s Club level prices. Again, you have to be aware that you’re about to run out of stuff, but I HATE HATE HATE going to crowded stores, and having it delivered to my home with free delivery and good prices is a total win. I’ve also made checking supplies in the kitchen and the bathroom part of my weekly routines, so we’ll see if I can make that stick.

  19. 29

    We have had Prime for a couple of years and love it. I don’t use it for the standard household items like paper towels or toilet paper because I buy in bulk when they are on sale at my local store, but I love, love, love the quick shipping time and the convenience of not having to go to the store. I can order specifically what I want/need with no impulse buying or expenditure of gas and time. My son is in college so I can send things to him for free shipping too. Haven’t used the music perk yet, but we do stream movies when we can find them for free. I think it is a good value when you consider everything.

  20. 30

    I’ve had Prime for a lot of years now, and I just love it. Recently, Walmart got in on the act too. They now have “Shipping Pass” for about half the price of Prime. Well, I order a LOT from Walmart as well. As long as there was $50 worth, the shipping was free—slow, but free. I signed up for the free trial last month, though. Made an order yesterday, and it’s going to be on my porch tomorrow. I will be paying the $45 a year to keep the “Shipping Pass” for sure! I find that a lot of times, is better on price for our regular household buys….sometimes Amazon is…I check both before I make the order though 🙂 Have you tried shipping pass yet?

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