Shopping in stores has become increasingly obsolete over the past couple of years. Why? Well, a lot of people just don’t have the time anymore to go browse and sometimes online stores have better deals, so we try to kill two birds with one stone and get it all done online. Signing up for an auto-shipment plan is convenient, especially for busy career people or parents who don’t want to be bullied into buying a bunch of stuff they don’t want or need.
You can buy a lot of things online these days and have it shipped directly to your home, a convenience that most people are willing to pay for. And pay for it, they do. People are buying a lot of stuff online now that was previously only purchased in brick and mortar locations. From band-aids to meal kits to dog food, people love to shop online and the variety of items you can get delivered expands every day.
One of the facets of shopping online is that, with some sites, you’re able to set yourself up for auto-delivery. If you’re purchasing a product you know you’re going to need again in the future, you can sign up to have that item shipped to your home on a regular basis. Some sites offer percentages off or discounted prices for signing up for these auto-delivery plans, but are they saving you money or are they costing you more?
The Pros and Cons of Auto-Shipments
Obviously, one of the pros of signing up for auto-delivery is the immediate discount. If you’re buying expensive dog food and you know you’re going to need it every six weeks, then Chewy’s percentage off is a pretty enticing deal. It’s something you can set up on a schedule that suits you, for instance four weeks, six weeks, or eight weeks out and they’ll discount it. Total win, right?
Another pro of the auto-ship is that you don’t have to remember that you need something. If you’re buying your vitamins online, it’s helpful to not have to make a note to remind yourself to buy them. It’s a lot easier to have it timed perfectly for them to arrive right when you’re about to run out of the current supplement. The same thing goes for protein powder, K-Cups, or even toothpaste. These programs take the onus off of you having to remember everything or making “quick” jaunts to the store after work. There’s nothing worse than making a mental note to remember toothpaste and realizing you forgot it when you go to brush your teeth.
However, one of the cons of these programs is that often people forget about them and their accounts are hit with a charge they weren’t expecting. For people who maintain a tight budget, getting the initial discount may have been the selling point, but unless you make a note of the delivery date or you’re maniacally checking the website, it’s pretty easy to forget that you set yourself up with auto-delivery of shampoo or energy drinks. Getting hit with a charge you forgot was coming is a budget shaker and for a lot of families, every penny needs to be accounted for. In some cases, you might find hidden costs as well. If you are liable to forget, do yourself a favor and make a note of when something is coming. With enough advance notice, you can usually change the delivery date.
Another obvious disadvantage is that you may end up with a lot of products building up around your house if you’re not timing your deliveries correctly. The opposite is also true. If you think the 50 pound bag of dog food is going to last six weeks and it only lasts for five then you’re scrambling. However, if you think it’s only going to last for three weeks and it lasts for six, you’re going to eventually end up with bags and bags of dog food lying around the house, and who has the space for that?
In the long run, if you time them correctly and keep a close eye on delivery dates an auto-shipment plan can save you a lot of money. Typically, the initial money or percentage off continues for the life of the auto-delivery, so you’re getting your items at a discounted rate as long as you let them bill you automatically. However, you’ll have to do some legwork and responsible shopping to make it all work out.