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.
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.
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 paper towels.
And dishwasher tablets.
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.
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:
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!)
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.
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.
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