New plan for 2014

Trying an experiment this year… coming up year.. 2014. We’re going to try and limit our errand running and near daily buying of this and that here at the homestead. The goal is to save gas (HUGE when you are rural) and save time… (important when you work at home… need to stay focused and on task to make the magic happen) and buy in bulk to save money! (Everyone likes that, right?)

Well, to do this, part of our game plan is the lovely gift from the girl’s grandparents of an Amazon Prime membership! Now, the free movies and TV shows for a year is just about the best deal around… ($6.58 a month, which is a savings over all the others… Netflix, etc) But, you also get free shipping on any size order. (And some special deals and such like free Kindle book rentals and downloads!) But it’s the free shipping thing that is really cool as well.

No longer do you have to put together a $35 order to get the free shipping.  If we need just one thing, and it’s $6, we just order it and its $6.  We are not in the car, driving to the store, wasting the time, buying other stuff on impulse and probably getting a cheaper, imported good that we have no clue about and have very limited selection.  That is huge!

For example, we needed to get the color ink cartridges for our printer.  Office Max has them for $29. And we have to drive there, 60 mile round trip.  (At least $7 in gas)  (Blue gets 25 miles to the gallon and around here our gas is about $3.50 a gallon…)    And it will take us at least an hour and knowing us, we’ll be inclined to stop for lunch or other things!  So those cartridges are a bit pricey!

But on Amazon…  we had the luxury of looking through several vendors offering the same cartridges for way less!  We ended up buying the set for only $9, free shipping.  Took about 15 minutes to find and select the set for us.  We saved the seller so if we like the product we can order again easily.  Our UPS man drives by twice a day, so he’s not being overly burdened or wasting gas and resources to come to us.  (In fact, it helps to make his run out here more efficient for everyone…   I hear the “Wells Fargo Wagon is a-coming down the track….” in my head when I think about it.)  And it only took two days.  Fantastic.

But one of the best things is that we were able to read the reviews on the products and the companies fulfilling the order (if it was not Amazon)  ((Amazon has many many third party companies that supply products so it really is amazing all they have to offer!))  We were able to read about the product, and select one that had excellent reviews and good customer service.  Wow, that’s awesome.   And we can try and select products that are American made and even close to our home to limit the amount of transportation required to get it to us.  I think that is pretty cool.

Of course, being able to see 150 different vegetable peelers is pretty cool, especially as compared to our lack luster selections locally.  I love supporting our local businesses when it comes to fresh goods, lumber, services, feeds and firewood, but I feel a little less than excited when there is one choice of said veggie peeler, take it or leave it.  And usually, the stuff at the dollar store is imported junk and doesn’t last.  (Which is why we are needing a veggie peeler in the first place!)

And another neat thing is that through Amazon, they have special purchases of large bulk amounts.  For consumables like paper towels or even groceries, I was amazed to find that the majority of the items were at cost or varied within a dollar, high and low.    I hate shopping in the big stores, but I also hate paying top dollar for small amounts of things and having to run out over and over and thus require this arm’s length list of stuff every time we go to town!

So for the last month, I’ve been writing down everything that we seem to go through at a fairly routine amount.   Toilet tissue, paper towels, dog and cat food, dish washing liquid, shampoo and toothpaste, butter, milk, and pop.  Of course, the butter, milk and pop are kinda hard to shop online for.   For fun I tried to see what pop would be through Amazon and I’ll be darned, they had it.   But it had a special surcharge for shipping and a 12 pack would end up being $12!  Hahaha…. no thanks.  The girls are trying to kick their habit, but are still needing it, so I think we’ll just watch for a good sale and stock up.  Butter and milk, well, hopefully in the spring we’ll have our own dairy here but in the meanwhile, those sorts of things as well as meat and fresh produce, that will be gotten around here.

However, I was very very surprised to find our dog and cat food brands available online, shipped for nearly the same or LESS than even dollars stores and Walmart!  Delivered!   No more wrangling those big bags and filling up my cart and such!   The dashing UPS man will pop it on my porch and we’re done!   How wonderful!

Now, of course, we don’t always want brand new products and we’ll always be Craigslist shoppers and such.  After all, we love us a goooood local swap and barter!  But I’m really hoping that this membership will be a wonderful helper to keeping our gas and errand running down to a comfortable level!   It’s fun to get off the homestead now and then, and we will enjoy those times instead of feeling like we are packing the wagon for a 3 month journey to Oregon!   And we do live quite simply, and don’t go for a lot of new gadgets and such.   But it will be nice to be able to replace things that break or wear out with good quality replacements that might last a good long time!  That will be awesome.   And if we can keep our days a little more focus and complete, I am sure that will help our businesses and our livelihood!  And it gives us more time to stay in touch with our animals and our garden and homestead, which results in happier and more content Windhaven girls and critters!  I think it’s an awesome idea…  we’ll see how it goes!

So far, so good!  I want to start a little savings total in my journal, of the shipping savings and cost savings alone.   So far we’ve placed two orders.   One was the ink cartridges.  Which was a savings of almost $25 for one order.  (One third of the membership cost in the first order!)  And our second order we bought a veggie peeler, a can opener, 5 pounds of pancake mix and a salad bowl chopping knife…   and we saved about $15 on that order (everything was a few dollars cheaper than local and we saved the $5 shipping charge)  Not too bad!

(The salad chopping knife was kind of a fun thing…  I love those chopped salads at Subway and it just looks so easy when the ladies do them…  throw this and that in the bowl and use that curved mezzaluna blade to chop it all up!  I found an excellently reviewed USA blade for only $15….  anything to help me eat good healthy salads is a gooooood thing!)

In the meanwhile…  if you are old Amazon Prime pros, are there any really sweet deals or tips and ideas to share with us on how to make it work well?  I already have found a few really cool websites and blogs that share great deals and finds with their readers and are really fun to read!  I want to know what works for you!    We are loving the media downloads…  that alone is a great perk of the Prime membership!  (We just FINALLY got unlimited big girl internet!!!  YAHOOOOOO!!!!)  But now, we’re getting poised to really work this membership and make it well well worth it’s cost!

Should be an interesting year!!!!


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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.


New plan for 2014 — 1 Comment

  1. Utilize the ‘subscribe and save’ feature on foods. If you add 5 or more items to your list you get an additional discount. You can cancel the items at any time so you aren’t stuck with multiple shipments you don’t need – just utilize it for the extra discounts.