Saving money with Amazon tools: Prime (free trial), Amazon Family, and Subscribe & Save (and what’s the difference between all of them, anyway?!)

When I mentioned Amazon Family in my earlier post on Sam’s Club, a few people emailed me questions. So I wanted to write a parenting FAQ about the different Amazon programs and options, how they overlap, and how to save money with them: Amazon Prime, Amazon Family (formerly Amazon Mom), and Subscribe & Save.

Amazon Prime:

Amazon Prime Benefits

Amazon Prime is Amazon’s service where you pay an annual free for a variety of benefits including unlimited FREE two-day shipping with no minimum order size. To be honest, that’s what I primarily use it for, and it’s absolutely worth it (and sometimes you can get things faster than two days, which is super helpful for if you’ve forgotten to get a birthday gift or you need more baby shampoo or some other inexpensive item!). Other benefits that I’ve used a little that come with Prime are Prime Music (free streaming for ad-free music) and Prime Video (free streaming for over 40,000 movie and TV episodes). You also get Prime Photos and the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (borrow books for your Kindle for free), but I’ve never used either of those benefits so can’t say much about them.

If you don’t have Prime, you can try it free for 30 days (cancel anytime before the 30 days and you won’t pay anything – you’re just enjoyed free shipping on Amazon. But you’ll probably be hooked): Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon Family (formerly Amazon Mom):

Amazon Family, formerly Amazon Mom, is essentially something that you sign up for on top of prime, where you get the same benefits as Amazon Prime plus special coupons and 20% off diaper subscriptions. You have the option to fill in information about your children (ages, etc.) to get more tailored coupons, but I have not done this – I just stick with the basics.

Amazon Family Free Coupons

Here’s where it gets a little confusing. Once you have Amazon Family, you then have a great page called Amazon Family Coupons, which tend to be fairly high-value coupons on well-known brands. Some of these coupons are regular clip-once and use coupons, while some are only applicable to Subscribe & Save orders, which we’ll get to in a minute.

Amazon Family coupon examples

Subscribe & Save:

Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program essentially gives you a discount on products in exchange for signing up for regular delivery. In general, if you have 1-4 products being delivered via Subscribe & Save in a month, you get 5% off of all of them. If you have 5 or more products being delivered in a month, you get 15% off of them. It basically includes all product categories that you could want refills on – from grocery items to cleaning supplies to toilet paper to high end cosmetics.

Amazon Subscribe & Save example

So for this example, if you added the above toilet paper to Subscribe & Save by itself, your price would be $1.21, or 5%, less than the regular price. If you added toilet paper plus granola bars plus bath soap plus dishwasher detergent plus dog food, so 5 items, you would save $3.63, or 15% less than the regular price, on the above toilet paper, and 15% on the other items as well.

I mentioned how Amazon Family and Subscribe & Save can overlap – you can have either one without the other, but if you have Amazon Family (which is free) you then get a 20% discount on diapers via the Subscribe & Save program. Likewise, if you use Subscribe & Save you can still purchase and get discounts on baby care products using the program even if you don’t have Amazon Family.

Ok, ready to make it more complicated?
Amazon Subscribe & Save coupon example

Subscribe & Save also has coupons that you can use as well, on top of the Subscribe & Save savings (whew – say that five times fast). The coupons are often good for the first month, so you might want to use the coupon to add one brand of dish soap to your Subscribe & Save box in one month, for example, and then the next month delete that brand of dish soap and instead add another brand of dish soap that has a different one-time use coupon to your box. This is totally legit – the idea is that Subscribe & Save is a pretty good deal anyway, so if you get a coupon that’s icing on the cake, and if you want to spend your time switching items out of your box each month to maximize coupons, go for it.


So those are the basics – hopefully now you understand the differences between Amazon Prime, Amazon Family, and Subscribe & Save. I would recommend trying out Amazon Prime if you don’t already have it (so you can use the Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial) and signing up for Amazon Family for the coupons and because that is also free if you have Prime. I think Subscribe & Save can add a lot of value – 5-25% savings on Amazon’s generally competitive prices is nothing to sneeze at – but only if you’ll remember to adjust it when needed. It also is best for folks who use the same products on a regular basis, so if you buy the same brand of children’s shampoo, baby wipes, and dish-washing detergent every month, it’ll save you money, but if you just buy whatever is cheapest at the grocery store or other stores then that might save you more in the long run. But at least you’ll have a better understanding of the basic tools to use with Amazon if you do shop there!







2 thoughts on “Saving money with Amazon tools: Prime (free trial), Amazon Family, and Subscribe & Save (and what’s the difference between all of them, anyway?!)

  1. Pingback: St. Patrick’s Day / Easter Delivery Sales on children’s clothes and shoes (my favorite brands!) – part 1 | momlifehacker

  2. Pingback: Free stuff! Buy an Amazon sample box, get an equal credit | momlifehacker

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