Subscription shopping programs are a popular means of making life easier by paying you back your most valuable asset, time. For agreeing to scheduled shipments and automatic billing, time is spared shopping various stores to locate items, or even locating items within one store.
The subscribe-and-save shopping model provides a discount on automatic shipments of your frequently consumed products, like toilet paper, soap, pet food, cereal, canned goods, etc. When selecting a program look to see if it has free shipping and other perks in addition to the discounted price. What else should you considered before embarking on autopilot shopping?
- Is the company trustworthy? Introductory offers are upfront savings, but a subscription that is hard to cancel after a low entry price may result in a growing credit card balance and excess, unwanted products. Check the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) for cited complaints about the program. Read all fine print regarding cancellation and fees. Record any phone numbers or emails regarding cancellation for future reference. The Federal Trade Commission cited the most common complaint regarding programs is deceptive tactics for unauthorized charges, and ongoing billing almost impossible to cancel.
- What if you want to skip a month, or defer your delivery? Look for flexible terms, even if they are hard to locate at first. Can you edit your delivery for a later date, or put it on pause? Being able to control the interval of your scheduled products could make the difference between being a true time saver or just financial waster.
- Is it really a good deal? A program might make sense for you when it offers a decent discount on things you would otherwise have to buy at full price. If you cannot verify you are getting a deal perhaps it is the convenience that is your "discount". Watch out that you don't purchase items that are normally not in your budget just because they are discounted and can easily make their way to your front door. That would be counterproductive to saving you money. Be sure to review pricing at frequent intervals to make sure the items you order are still discounted competitively to be worth the program.