Warehouse stores

Amazon or warehouse stores? – The rolling pin

I’ve always been a little addicted to Amazon. Every day, you’ll probably see at least one cardboard box with blue Amazon Prime tape on my steps. We use it to order just about everything from winterizing plastic for windows to vitamins for the baby.

Since the birth of said baby, I have been using Amazon Prime even more than usual. Shortly after bringing him home, I realized we were running out of a bunch of basics: shampoo, toothpaste, and deodorant. Since we do most of our grocery shopping at Aldi, we have to take a separate shopping trip for our favorite branded items.

Related: We all buy groceries – Here are the cards that give them money

Not wanting to drag my baby around, I decided to make our first Amazon Pantry box. It was generally a great experience, and it made me wonder where I could get our essentials for the lowest possible price.

Let’s do some price comparisons to see which one wins: Amazon Pantry, Amazon Subscribe-and-Save, or outlet stores.

What Amazon offers

Besides its normal Prime offers, Amazon offers Prime Pantry and Subscribe-and-Save options. Here’s how these options work:

Amazon Prime Pantry offers a limited number of basic necessities. These include canned and non-perishable foods, infant formula and diapers, personal care items and household cleaning products. Only certain brands are available, but most categories have a fairly wide selection of options.

When you buy from Prime Pantry, you are buying an entire pantry. This is a huge cardboard package filled with all your pantry items. Amazon tells you what percentage of your box each item takes up. For example, a large box of Similac Advance infant formula takes up 4% of a Prime Pantry box. A pack of 12 Quilted Northern toilet paper takes up 14.8% of your box.

Prime Pantry boxes ship for a flat rate of $5.99, but you can often qualify for free shipping if you purchase certain special items. These items change periodically, but I found enough of them suited my needs that I still qualify for free shipping.

What I love: I love that Prime Pantry makes it easy to buy things I actually need and would need to go grocery shopping for. Most prices are discounted and are better than regular grocery store prices. It’s nice to have these essentials delivered right to my door, saving me the extra trip to the store.

What I do not like : Filling your Prime Pantry box is a bit of a game. My goal is to get as close to 100% filling as possible, which usually requires me to add a few items that we will use but not necessarily need. Prime Pantry shopping is also a good time for me to stock up on sale items that fill the gaps in my box. It’s fine if I have the budget for it. If I don’t have extra money to spend, it can be hard to come in under budget, but with a full box.

Amazon Subscribe and Save works for items similar to Prime Pantry, but items are shipped individually. Subscription and savings options are even more limited than Pantry options, but there are still thousands of eligible items. Basically, when you purchase an eligible item, you sign up for regular deliveries of that item. You can schedule items to be delivered monthly, every two months, or even less often, depending on the item.

Subscribe & Save items come with discounts, and these discounts stack to generate additional savings. The more items you add to your Monthly Subscription ship date and save, the more you’ll save. And you can cancel, change or skip shipping months at any time through your Amazon account.

What I love: To be honest, I haven’t tried subscribing and saving yet. But it’s a great concept for items that I always forget to stock or know I’ll need on a regular basis. Plus, stacked discounts could mean serious savings on certain items.

What I do not like : Trying to figure out which will save more (Pantry or Subscribe-and-Save) can be a bit tricky. Also, the monthly shipping date could become dangerous if you forget to factor these automatic charges into your budget!

Price comparison with warehouse stores

Now that we’ve covered the basics of how Amazon’s services work, let’s take a look at some actual prices. We’ll take a branded item from several different categories to compare prices from Amazon Pantry, Amazon Subscribe-and-Save, Sams Club, and Costco. To keep things on par, we’ll look at the unit price.

Remember that you can get different deals depending on when you shop, as all of these options come with frequent sales. And I watch prices online for outlet stores, so in-store prices may vary in your area.

ultra soft and resistant nordic quilted

  • Amazon Prime Pantry – $6.47 for 12 double rolls (equivalent to 24 single rolls) = $0.27/roll
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save$21.05 for 24 supreme rolls (equivalent to 96 single rolls) = $0.22/roll (at a full 15% discount, $0.18/roll)
  • Sam’s Club$21.48 for 36 bonus reels (equivalent to 125 single reels) = $0.17/reel
  • Costco- Exact product not available

Winner – Sams Club squeaks like a slight winner on this one, but it doesn’t outshine Subscribe-and-Save’s 15% discount by much. Costco has the Ultra Plush option, but it’s not exactly the same, so I didn’t compare it.

Folger’s Coffee

  • Amazon Prime Pantry – Country roast: $6.88 for 31.1 ounces = $0.22/oz
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save – Country Roast: $9.84 for 31.1 ounces = $0.32/oz (with a full 15% discount, $0.28/oz)
  • Sam’s Club – Classic roast: $9.98 for 48 oz = $0.21/oz
  • Costco- classic roast; $11.99 for 48 ounces = $0.25/oz

Winner – If you’re looking for specific roasts, it can be difficult to compare these options, as they don’t all offer the exact same products. But if you’re just looking for cheap branded coffee, Amazon Prime Pantry wins for this round.

Dove Conditioner

  • Amazon Prime Pantry – Nutrive Solutions Daily Moisture: $3.52 for 12 ounces = $0.29/oz
  • Amazon Subscribe and SaveNutrive Solutions Daily Moisture: $3.52 for 12 ounces = $0.29/oz (with a full 15% discount, $0.25/oz)
  • Sam’s ClubDamage Therapy Daily Moisture: $6.88 for 40 ounces = $0.14/oz
  • Costco- Product not available

Winner – Once again we run into the problem of stores not carrying exactly the same items. But, as you might guess, the Sams version of this conditioner with the huge pump bottle is much cheaper than the smaller bottles. And on Amazon, it’s a wash unless you put five items in your Subscribe & Save card to get the full discount.

Seventh Generation Natural Liquid Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear

  • Amazon Prime Pantry – Product not available
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save – $24.87 for 80 ounces = $0.31/oz (with a full 15% discount, $0.26/oz)
  • Sam’s Club$28.78 for 150 ounces = $0.19/oz
  • Costco- $28.79 for 150 ounces = $0.19/oz

Winner – Sams Club and Costco are much cheaper here, even compared to the Subscribe and Save discount. Again, it looks like things that come in plastic packaging are going to be cheaper when you can buy them in extra-large bottles!

Tidy Cat Litter, 24/7 Performance

  • Amazon Prime Pantry$5.52 for 14 books = $0.39/book
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save(LightWeight version) – $17.30 for 14lb equivalent = $1.23/lb (with full 5% discount, $1.17/lb)
  • Sam’s Club(LightWeight Version) – $19.88 for 42lb equivalent = $0.46/lb
  • Costco- Product not available

Winner – Sams Club prevails once again. I think what we’re seeing is that items in bigger, heavier, harder to ship packaging will be cheaper in big box stores. Keep in mind that Costco has its own Kirkland brand for many of these items, including pet supplies, which can be much cheaper than your favorite brands.

Huggies diapers (size 5)

  • Amazon Prime Pantry(Little Snugglers) – $9.90 for 20 diapers = $0.50/diaper
  • Amazon Subscribe and Save(Little Snugglers) – $45.95 for 124 = $0.37/diaper (with 20% off offered by Amazon Family, $0.30/diaper)
  • Sam’s Club(Little Movers) – $39.98 for 140 diapers = $0.29/diaper
  • Costco- (Little Movers) – $42.99 for 150 diapers = $0.29/diaper

Winner – Costco and Sams Club win here too, but for a penny a diaper the Subscribe & Save option might be worth it!

Multigrain Cheerios

Winner – Amazon Prime Pantry is the clear winner here, although the Subscribe & Save option is also a great deal if you’re consuming tons of cereal in your house!

The big winner

As you can see, there is no clear winner for these four call options. As a general rule, larger, heavier boxes will be cheaper at outlet stores, while lighter, easier-to-ship items may be better purchased online.

Keep in mind that with Amazon, you may be partly paying for the convenience of having someone drop everything off at your doorstep. Sams Club offers delivery, but it’s not always free.

Resource: Save time and money with these grocery delivery services

Another thing to consider is that the quantities available at outlet stores may not fit your home very well. If you have a smaller space, Amazon sells full-size options, usually at a discount to what you’ll find at the grocery store.

As a busy parent, I have to admit that the Subscribe and Save option is tempting because it shows up at my doorstep without any effort on my part. However, this is obviously not the best way to save money for all these options.

And finally, you come across the idea of ​​branded items. Many of these items are likely cheaper than off-brand brands from Costco or even grocery stores like Aldi.

Whether your goal is convenience or saving money, your best bet is to check out the individual items you’re most likely to buy, then compare them with options like these. When calculating the savings, consider the cost of a warehouse store subscription versus an Amazon Prime subscription, and don’t forget to factor in the convenience factor!