Thrifty Amazon Haul – Car-Free & Gettin’ My Frugal On

Thrifty Amazon Haul - Car-Free & Gettin' My Frugal On {Volume 001}

No no, I’m not out of ideas! I’m trying to be clever so I could build it up to something later. This is my thrifty Amazon haul for the month of May. I love Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. I get a box every month at super low prices that majority of brick & mortar stores can’t compete with even at wholesale. Plus, it’s delivered to your doorstep.

“Honey, I’m trying to fight myself on this. Who is going to read this? Why would they care?” I asked my husband.

“Well not everyone knows it’s possible. People think Amazon is always more expensive than traditional stores so they don’t bother to look. You learned how to get around it.” Hubby replied.

Frugality as a Past Time

I always get a huge kick reading about somebody’s thrifty finds. I use to binge watch YouTube videos of hauls where the YouTubers talk about how they got so and so and how much they paid for it.

It’s the cheapo in me. I get a high from it. Have you seen that show Extreme Couponers? The feature guests on that show devote their entire time to clipping coupons and hoarding basement full of stockpiles, free! They have 30 bottles of mustard and 40 jars of peanut butter purchased with coupons all for free!

The problem?

It’s not the most economical use of time (although it’s definitely entertaining). Every single episode makes me ridiculously hyper. When I re-watch it, I can’t even pause it until the episode is done. The couponers devote to it full-time and even dumpster dive for coupons everyday. I’m not that extreme and I think the opportunity cost is high with a “hobby” like that. There’s no need for 87 boxes of Raisin Bran. Err…OK bad example…I actually do but I’m a host! 🙂

I focus on Amazon which is something different and much less work in my opinion than going at it with scissors. I’ve been doing my Amazon S&S monthly hauls for 12 months now but I only started documenting it a little over a month ago (results in infographic below). This might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I figure it’s worth sharing to test the waters. I’m too lazy and disorganized to clip actual coupons more than once a week but I can still manage to do AirBnB and live car-free with Amazon’s help.

The Set Up

Just making it clear that besides grocery shopping for the basics of food (meat, produce, grains) I don’t do much shopping in discretionary departments like snacks, beverages, or pre-made products. You can see our monthly income and spending report. We reserve $500 a month for food for 3 adults (me, hubby, and dad.)

Don’t you run 3 AirBnBs?

Guilty.

Doesn’t AirBnB guests need snacks and drinks?

Absolutely.

You don’t even have a car – how do you buy that stuff?

Amazon is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Living Car-Free

My hubby and I live car-free so some things are harder on us. Necessary things like toilet paper, dog food, rice, detergent, drinks…anything bigger/heavier than what would fit in my shopping trolley is pretty much impossible.

Since we live in a large metropolitan city and a good portion of our property tax funds the public transportation system here, it’s smarter to live car-free. We save $600 every month by not having a car. We give our driveway parking space to our AirBnB guests and can charge more per night for that benefit. Even if I didn’t get my Amazon finds at discounted prices, it’s still worth it.

I don’t even bother going into Safeway or Albertson’s anymore. I go to the Asian supermarket nearby to get the necessities like produce, meat and eggs then I go home. That’s it. That’s the entirety of my in-person shopping.

Amazon to the Rescue

Amazon is the reason I don’t buy discretionary items anymore. I go to the grocery store and get the basics knowing I can just wait for Amazon’s price on certain things (without urgency) to drop and then I’ll pick it up. Good things come to those who wait. Often the items sold are in bulk since it saves Amazon shipping and probably helps clear space in the Amazon warehouses too.

Amazon has constant price fluctuations so the key here is catching it when it dips to a low. The best part is the free shipping! I don’t have to lift a finger and it comes to my doorstep. I’m pretty sure Amazon is losing profits with me though. The shipping alone would cost more than what I paid for the price so…yeah..

Scenarios

  • Common scenario: 24 packs of pita chips that’s $2 less than my wholesale’s club with free shipping.

 

  • Uncommon scenario (but does happen): 6x full size packs of shampoo for $3.99 (possibly because of a pricing or inventory mistake.)

 

  • Seasonal scenario: last summer it was super hot so Amazon had a massive chocolate blow out from their warehouses. I’m talking 24 bars of full-sized Mars candy bars for not even $5 delivered. I’m talking Lindt white chocolate truffle wholesale boxes for $9! These things retail for at least 3x times as much anywhere else! And Amazon’s only getting rid of it because it’s going to be hot and they need it out of the warehouse before it melts. I still have candy left over from last July!

Wholesale

Since we run AirBnBs it’s really not a concern when it’s in wholesale size bulks. Amazon has amazing steals. The brick & mortar wholesale stores are not always guaranteed to be a good deal for things like bulk snacks, shampoos, detergent, floss…actually most things I consider expensive actually.

Dog food is a great reason why Amazon is saving my car-less rump. Grace’s bags of kibble ranges from 30 to 50lbs. I’m only 100lbs. Brick & mortar stores won’t fly even if I did have a car. Who in the world is going to help me load kibble (or rice!) from the store and into my car? I can’t lift past 25 lbs! Holds head in shame.

Amazon, along with free shipping, have huge discounts on high end dog food via S&S. I stockpiled 80 lbs of premium dog food in the garage that I paid no more than $80 for it on Amazon. My only requirements are for the kibble to be higher grade than Alpo and I want to make sure it’s around $1 per pound for kibble and under $1 a can for high grade wet food. Usually in the wholesale clubs, they have generic/low grade dog food starting at $1 a pound. Anything better than the lower grades will be inching towards $2 a pound.

PetSmart/Petco subscriptions aren’t great either. They usually have more hoops you have to jump through. There are shipping minimums/restrictions or “you have to buy this to get this” nonsense. PetSmart/PetCo products are always taxed. Notice below some of my Amazon items are not taxed.

 

Quick Tricks

  • Look under the S&S section on Amazon.
  • Check camelx3 for the history on the item.
  • Cross reference with Walmart (don’t shop at Walmart. I just check to see if Walmart thought it was an enough drop to match Amazon’s price.)
  • Apply for the Amazon Store Card. The rating is justify but-but-but extra 5% off! 🙂
  • Make sure S&S is always over 5+ items to get the 15% off.
  • Remember to cancel the S&S item after delivery.
  • Bing Rewards has Amazon gift cards for searches.
  • Download and use Edge browser for extra Bing points.
  • Check out with smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a small % to the donation of your choice.

So…

Brick and mortar chains are just an overall disappointment to this millennial. Can they just die already?

Did I mention free shipping?

Also the extra 5% off (always) with their store card?

Chances that it might be tax-free. TAX-FREE!

Don’t forget the $600 saved a month and not having to leave the house for bulky groceries!!!

All hail our Amazonian overlords.

Thrifty Amazon Haul (Volume #001):

Check Out Our Thrifty Amazon Haul - Car-Free & Gettin' My Frugal On! - Infograph
Infographic of the things I got off Amazon this month.


27 thoughts on “Thrifty Amazon Haul – Car-Free & Gettin’ My Frugal On”

  • I didn’t know it was that easy to sign up and then cancel for subscribe and save. I will definitely use that trick next time.

    Never heard of Bing rewards either. Amazon just keeps getting better. And they certainly aren’t making any profit off you but Amazon didn’t make profits off anyone until a couple years ago so it’s all good 😉

    Thanks for the write up.
    Grant @ Life Prep Couple recently posted…The Power of The Mind: Elite vs Average

    • It’s super easy to cancel S&S and there’s no repercussions. Amazon saves money by sending it out together without the Prime 2-day. I didn’t do it before either because I thought the same thing.

      Bing Rewards is great because they’re paying you to do searches. Every search or quiz you do, it’s like you found a penny on the ground! It adds up! 🙂

    • Hehehe thank you Ms. G!! Yep they do and poor unconscious shoppers pay it. Chewy.com is a great alternative too.

      I only explained half my strategy. I wanted to write out a full freebie guide that would be enticing enough to get people to subscribe.

    • That’s true (and aww that’s really cute haha!) A list is a great idea! I spend three times more on groceries when I’m hungry…

      Amazon works better for singles and child-less individuals. If I have children someday, I probably would have to consider a car. Toddlers and buses don’t mix.

    • I’ll write out the full directions on the Amazon S&S hack and send it to you first to review (you can tell me if it’s bad haha! :p)

  • I don’t think most people realize how much money you can save by shopping at the Asian grocery store. I find that vegetables and some fruit is SO much cheaper!

    And yes to the Subscribe and Save hack! I use that for my skincare addiction, haha. But hey- every dollar counts when it comes to anti-wrinkle cream.

    I love Amazon, but would also suggest Walmart- depending on what you buy [if you have a specific brand or item in mind] I find that Walmart can be even cheaper. I love their “pick it up in-store” free system, but I imagine that’s a bit difficult without a car. However, they offer free shipping on lots of stuff!
    Ying-NavigatingAdulthood recently posted…How We Saved Over $2,000 On My Engagement Ring

    • Oh you have a skin care addiction too?! OH GOOD GOOD, my friend, welcome to the club!

      I do shop at Walmart (when I have to) although the customer service and return policy isn’t as friendly as Amazon’s.

  • I was talking to a friend the other day and said I need you to convince me why I shouldn’t buy Amazon stock. With the purchase of Amazon they have a huge moat and are gobbling up everything in sight. He said, the only way Amazon is going to fail is if Jeff Bezos passes away. Otherwise Amazon is going to be a well run company for a long time. So I totally agree that Amazon is amazing!!!
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…When Gratitude Requires Hindsight

    • Haha thanks Mr. MSM! My hubby and I are holding firm on our stocks for now. Amazon has a few issues: not very profitable and no dividends. They believe in investing in themselves (which is why they probably will continue to take over at this rate.) Bezo’s is truly a genius though – he’s a very frugal one at that!

  • I went through Amazon and looked at the price histories too! Nearly everything we buy is cheaper at our wholesaler club (BJ’s). Maybe that changes in a few months since Amazon is opening a warehouse down the road from me. That’s with the 15% off.

    This could all change in the coming months as Amazon is opening a warehouse minutes from my house; however, methinks not. ‘Tis a sad day in the Celt household.
    Cash Flow Celt recently posted…How Tulips Broke the Market: A Case Study

  • I loveeeee these kinds of posts – thanks for laying it all out! I don’t buy nearly enough of anything, but I’m eagerly anticipating the day I have my own digs / family so I can hop on the Amazon train! And so far, in Canada, Amazon offers the only credit card that doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees! It’s just the straight exchange rate, and it’s an excellent way to get banks to stop trying to up-sell you on your current credit card : )

  • Thanks for sharing. I used to do get the $5 amazon gift cards by doing those Bing searches too and bought stuff for our baby. This is a reminder that i should start it again.
    Also can i get some Mars bars? j/k 😄😄

  • Amazon is amazing!

    We use basically everything Amazon has to offer. There are so many great deals to be had. We are always tweaking our subscribe and save based on the price history of items. I think our mail person hates the weight and amount of times they have to drop off our Amazon packages. They will be getting a nice gift at Christmas time!

    Also, we always check the open box items on Amazon. We have saved a lot on baby items with this.

    I can’t wait to see what Amazon does with Whole Foods! Thanks for sharing!
    Cameron – Save Splurge Deny Debt recently posted…Money Lessons my Toddler Has Taught Me

    • Yes!!! I love Amazon Warehouse deals! Ugh! Can’t even, this post is not sponsored and I’m foaming at the mouth. I’m writing a complete e-book on my Amazon hacks muahaha. I should give my mail man something nice too, what a trooper!

  • Love these tips! And LOVE Amazon! I love ordering furniture off Amazon, delivered to my door, what could be better…especially things like a hundred pound foam mattress!?

    I have made my fair share of uncanceled subscribe and save mistakes. I had a weak moment and subscribed for a box of 100 slim jims. LOL. Needless to say I was shocked to get an email invoice for the 2nd box 6 months later. And then because I was so direly trying to cancel the order for the 2nd box, I actually forgot to cancel the subscription…and a 3rd box showed up 6 months after that. 😵😵😵

    I’m DEFINITELY going to have to try using Bing now!
    Jing recently posted…Money Diaries: June Week 5

    • Amazon has the BEST mattresses! I have like 8 beds and as a host, awww yeah, so much love for those memory foam mattresses!!! I totally freaking forgot to put that in!!! Next time 😀 thank you Jing you lovely angel!

      Lol well, at least slim jims doesn’t really “expire” :p I haven’t had one in forever, now I’m craving some.

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