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Amazon’s subscribe and save

I know I say at CookCheap.org that you can buy any ingredients you want (and still cook cheaper than eating processed food). But I think there’s some value to sharing some of my shopping tips for more specialized ingredients for people with different eating needs.

A friend, for instance, just found out she has to try to eat gluten-free. Well, that ain’t easy (or cheap) if you rely on processed foods (which also taste – well, just awful). If you want to buy almond flour (which I highly recommend, as I do Elana’s Pantry, the website and cookbook on cooking gluten-free with almond flour), then you might well have to buy it online. I have to buy some ingredients online even here in the larger New York area – it doesn’t make sense for me to drive an hour for ingredients from an energy consumption or time consumption point of view. Plus, if they’re products that even a health food store gets only a few of at a time, there’s not much more carbon footprint to having them shipped to my house versus having them shipped to a local store.

I’m really enjoying Amazon’s Subscribe and Save options for these types of ingredients. I subscribe to a two-pack of agave nectar, for instance. If you participate in Amazon’s Subscribe and Save plan, you get 15% off the cost of the item, plus free shipping. I purchased Wholesome Sweetener Organic Blue Agave, which Amazon already lists at a discount of the retail price: $16.89. (This is for two 44-oz bottles.) On Subscribe & Save, I get 15% off, so the cost to me is $14.35, or $7.17 a bottle. I have shopped at many stores and you cannot find organic 44-oz bottles of agave for $7.17 in any store around here.

On the Subscribe & Save plan, I can choose it have it shipped every month, or every 2, 3, or 6 months. I already use similar services from QVC (I get our vitamins that way) so it’s nothing to me to check it every month or so, when I’m doing the bills online, and see if I want to cancel or delay or skip a shipment.

I would buy something this way even the first time I buy it, because you can always cancel the Subscribe & Save, but if you like it, you can keep going. In a small family like mine, it is going to take me a while to go through a bulk order of whatever it is – choosing 6 months right off the bat lets me move up an order if I want, but I don’t get inundated in products I don’t want and don’t want to pay for!

I buy tea, agave, and stevia this way, and I’m looking at this four-pack of whole grain dry foods – rice, mixed rices, and whole-wheat couscous. I’m looking at making a lot of soups with my dried food this fall and winter and some nice rice I can throw in by the handful would be a good addition, but I don’t want to eat white rice. And variety is key when I have to work my way through a bunch of bulk ingredients.

Couscous is so incredibly easy to cook – have you ever used it? It is much quicker than rice and is so good – we need to do some couscous recipes here at CookCheap.org!

What cooking ingredients might you have shipped to your house, if it would save you time and money?

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