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How To Use Prime Pantry To Make Your Life Easier

Prime Pantry

A few months ago I wrote a post about Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program, which I personally love and have used for a few years now. When we were in the planning stages of that post, my daughter Britta mentioned that she prefers Amazon’s Prime Pantry program. I hadn’t really heard very much about Prime Pantry, but she assured me that it was as worthy of its own blog post as my beloved Subscribe & Save program was. So I gave her the assignment of writing an introduction to Prime Pantry, for your information as well as my own!   Read More: How To Use Amazon’s Subscribe & Save Program

Prime Pantry

Britta writes…   I’m really excited to share my thoughts about Prime Pantry today! I’ve been using it regularly for about a year now, and sometimes I feel like kicking myself for not trying it sooner! I want to start by mentioning that I don’t think Prime Pantry is necessarily better than Subscribe & Save, it’s just different. Prime Pantry appeals to me and my style of shopping, while Subscribe & Save definitely works better for my mom. And I’ll tell you why that is!

I wouldn’t say I have control issues per se… I’d consider myself a “control enthusiast.” ;-) For example, I don’t have any of my recurring bills on auto-pay. I much prefer submitting my payments manually each month, so that I know for sure I’ve done it successfully and on time. On the other hand, my mom has ALL of her bills on auto-pay, and she pretty much thinks it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread. She’s all about the “set it and forget it” options in our modern world, where I’m more of a “set it and hover nervously” kind of gal.

So if you know anything about Subscribe & Save, at this point you can probably see why my mom loves that program, and why it doesn’t really work for me. But luckily for us control enthusiasts, Amazon created an alternative to Subscribe & Save called Prime Pantry. The programs are similar in that you can buy many of the grocery store staples you need, but with Prime Pantry there are no subscriptions and no scheduled shipments. You get to decided what you want, how much you want, and when you want it.

Prime Pantry

What Is Prime Pantry, And How Does It Work?

The Prime Pantry program enables Amazon Prime members to purchase “everyday items at everyday prices.” Prime Pantry items are packed and shipped in dedicated boxes, which are a specific size and are shipped at a flat rate of $5.99 each. So even if you buy 3 items versus 13 items, you’ll still be charged the $6 shipping fee.

Prime Pantry

Since Prime Pantry boxes are a fixed size, each item you add to your order will fill a certain percentage of that box. Amazon keeps track of how full your box is as you go, which helps you get a better idea of how much space you have left for other items. For example, a package of toilet paper may fill 10% of the box, while a box of cotton swabs will fill about 1%. If you’re paying the $6 shipping fee, it obviously makes financial sense to buy more of what you need at once (though that’s not a hard and fast rule, as you’ll see below).

What Are The Benefits Of Prime Pantry?

No-Rush Shipping credit

1. Free Shipping Options

I wanted to mention this one first, because I know what you’re thinking – “Why would I pay $6 in shipping for one box when I can get free shipping on standard Amazon orders?” The good news is that there are two easy ways to get around that $6 shipping fee.

The first way is by selecting the No-Rush Shipping option on a separate Amazon order. When you checkout, you can choose from a few different shipping options, including the usual free two-day shipping option. One of the options you can choose is No-Rush Shipping, which earns you some sort of credit in exchange for a slower shipping time. One of the credits you can earn is a $6 credit towards your next Prime Pantry purchase. So if you’re buying something on Amazon that you don’t really need right away, forgoing the 2-day shipping can save you that $6 in the future!

Select items

The second way to get around the $6 shipping cost is by adding 5 “select items” to your Prime Pantry order. There’s a dedicated page for these items, and you can see how many you’ve added to your box as you shop. It’s definitely worth it to see if any of the items you’re shopping for qualify as one of the 5 items, because you may be able to get free shipping this way without even trying.

Prime Pantry

2. Convenience

Grocery shopping can be pretty stressful for me, even at the best of times. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stood in the same aisle of the store for 20 minutes, trying to decide what kind of toilet paper or pasta sauce I should get. Every item in the store comes in so many varieties and options. It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed at times! And if I happen to be shopping when the store is busy, I’m even more likely to be feeling stressed.

Prime Pantry

Prime Pantry gives me the option to browse for a lot of items online, from the comfort of my own home. I can weigh my options without worrying that I’m in the way, or without someone running me over with their shopping cart. And when I’m done deciding what to get, Amazon ships the items right to my door in just a couple of days.

Prime Pantry

3. Reasonable Quantities

Through Prime Pantry, I can buy items in regular sizes and quantities, just like you’d find at the grocery store. I know that buying things in bulk is an easy way to save money, and I love Costco runs as much as the next girl. But the reality is that I just don’t have a lot of extra space to store things in my two-bedroom apartment!

One of the items I regularly buy via Prime Pantry is toilet paper. It’s nice that I can buy a package that has 12 rolls of toilet paper, whereas a standard Amazon order of toilet paper would have anywhere from double to quadruple that number of rolls. My little two-bedroom apartment is simply not equipped to store 48 rolls of toilet paper at a time!

Prime Pantry

4. Choice & Variety

You have access to a surprisingly wide variety of items through Prime Pantry. Not only can you get household goods like paper products, cleaning supplies, and pet food, but you can also get snacks, drinks, shelf-stable foods, office supplies, supplements, and much more.

And there are plenty of choices available for each item, too. (But not too many, which is great news for those of us who tend to struggle when faced with too many options.) There are plenty of natural and organic options for foods, cleaning products, and baby items.


5. Prices

In my experience, the standard prices for Prime Pantry items are comparable to most grocery stores. There are plenty of opportunities for discounts too! Many items have clickable coupon offers, from $.50 off to $2 off or more. There’s also a clearance section where you can find even steeper discounts on certain items.

Prime Pantry

How I Use Prime Pantry

There’s no right or wrong way to do it, but I thought I’d share my system just so you can get an idea of how it could work for you and your family.

When I’m making a shopping list, I sort it into two parts – things I can order via Prime Pantry, and things I’ll have to get at the grocery store. My Prime Pantry list often includes things like toothpaste, deodorant, trash bags, hot sauce, bandaids, granola bars, and toilet cleaner. Everything that I can’t find on Prime Pantry goes on the grocery store list, including things like fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, and specialty food items.

Prime Pantry

I can’t emphasize enough how much less stress I experience at the grocery store now. My shopping lists are much shorter, and the choices I have to make are generally easier too (conventional vs. organic, and that kind of thing). It makes life at home less stressful too, because we don’t run out of things nearly as often as we used to. Now when I see I’m running low on something, I can easily pull out my phone and add that item to my next Prime Pantry box so I won’t accidentally forget about it.

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Bright Ideas

  • Ha! A new vocabulary phrase…control enthusiast! So much more positive! Love it! Considering this for when we downsize into a smaller house! Thanks for the info!

  • Jillee and Britta, THANK YOU for so much information! I have a question: I’m trying to decide between Prime Pantry and Boxed. Do you know the difference, or if one service is better than the other?

  • I live in a remote part of Southern Utah where it’s a 2 hour round trip to Wal-Mart and 4 hours to Costco and back. So ordering as much of my household needs as possible is not just a time saver but it would cost me more in gas to shop than the shipping fees. And now with your tips for free shipping it’s a win/win/win for me! Thanks so much.

  • Hi. I just found your website a few days ago, thru TipHero, and subscribed the same day. I respect, applaud and admire what you are doing here. I shared you with my best friend immediately, she is also in recovery as you are. I am currently living in an old RV (that I cannot currently move) in my estranged daughter’s backyard. My only transportation is a scooter, which is currently not running, so I walk or bus everywhere. This particular post may be a true life-saver for me. Thank you.

  • Great post! I liked how you compared the 2 options, using both of your personalities because I too am a “control enthusiast” and now I know which one will work best for me.

  • Thanks for this post–a perk of Amazon Prime I didn’t know about! Just placed my 1st order. Super easy–just one piece of info–there are a lot of items where the description appears to be for a different product that what the picture shows. I added several of these items to my cart, and each time, the PICTURED item ended up in my cart. I’d just suggest to double check any mismatched items before placing your order.

  • I’ve been using Prime Pantry for several years. I totally agree – basic things can just come, and no need to stand there in an aisle trying to decide between item A or B. I also find I spend less, because with Prime Pantry I get exactly what I ordered, and I am not impulsively throwing extra things into that shopping cart!

  • Great, clear explanation! I have Prime, but have not used the pantry as I wasn’t exactly sure how it worked, and was too lazy to figure it out. Will definitely give it a try now that I understand it. Thanks, Britta! :)

  • I totally agree with your daughter. Prime pantry is great. Now I have something for her. Walmart groceries.! Similar to prime pantry but with your food items. AWESOME!!! Saves you the lines, the rude people, etc. they even load it go you. You choose when you want to pick up All you have to do is take it in and out it up.

    • Kroger now has this, too, at least in my area. I’m retired and enjoy my outings there, but I see the staff filling their rolling bins with people’s orders. They take care in getting undamaged packages and fresh produce, and get the frozen items last, just before pick-up time. If it ever gets hard for me to get around, I’ll be using this!

    • I use Walmart free pickup most of the time. The down side that I cannot use coupons so I have to make a coupon run from time to time. And I would prefer to use my own shopping bags but of course everything is bagged for you. The “shoppers” use many, many bags often times putting one item per bag. Crazy!

  • Thanks for the great explanation. Amazon has done a TERRIBLE job
    explaining what this is, so that was extremely helpful.
    I would rather clean toilets than go grocery shopping! Anything that
    can shorten my trip is worth it’s weight in gold.

  • I love Prime Pantry. Last month I thought of new way to use it. My grandson is in college in another state, instead of going to the grocery store and than to the post office or UPS I got online, ordered on Pantry Prime and had it mailed directly to him. Needless to say since he is in the dorm I do not send a full box, I do spend more money on goodies for him and less on shipping. I am not a homemade cookie kind of grandmother, I send Oreo and such

  • This was very helpful and so were the comments about jet.com etc. I’m 65 yrs old.
    I never carried a package or had a shopping
    Cart until my two sons married. It sucks
    Walking a bunch of NYC blocks to be greeted
    By a bunch of stairs. By the time you reach
    The door of your home you don’t care if the
    Food is organic you just care about the bulk.
    Well you ladies fixed that for me!!! Thanks much lol

  • Love you explanation, you didn’t miss a
    thing. I tried prime pantry a couple of years ago. Decided to try it before I had the need for it as I am not young anymore. I found
    it quite easy to use and the prices very good.
    I am still using it.

  • Walmart has recently introduced 2 day shipping online to compete with Prime Pantry. The shipping is 5.99 unless you spend $35. I use the app on my phone and iPad and add an item just as I would add to my list. When it hits $35, I order! I love it! I get Walmart prices without having to fight crowds. You can search just for items that qualify or for your favorites. I have found the organic and natural item selection to be much better than at the retail store as well!

  • Can you build a list and save it until you are ready to purchase…I often use my wish list for nice vs need to have items and then order all at once…even though I have Prime it is better for the environment to combine shipping….

    • Yes, you can add items and order once your box is full. You can move all pantry items to your ‘save for later’ list also, in case you need to purchase something from regular Amazon in the meantime. When you get close to a full box, they will even suggest a few items you might be interested in to fill your box to capacity.

  • I use Subscribe & Save for some items, especially cat food, but never tried Prime Pantry. Thanks for your explanation, I shall give it a go. But one place I have had good luck with is Jet.com. Prices are reasonable by New York City standards, high quality meats, groceries are fresh, packaging extraordinarily good, customer service high, and all in all a cut above the rest. I’ve changed from daily going to shop to perhaps once a week when I need just one item. And I don’t have to carry heavy bags several city blocks.

  • I used to wonder…who orders toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. Well, I did after having surgery. I shopped, found exactly what I wanted and had it shipped to my front door. It was not Amazon, it was years ago. I ordered from drugstore.com for all my staples. Sometimes other stores will offer free shipping on cleaning products or laundry items. That’s great too. I really appreciate the service.

  • I can understand folks who shop on-line and at Costco for their groceries and other sundry items. I have checked them all out and quite frankly I think most of their prices are in the stratosphere. I am a bargain shopper and I do not mind going out to the stores to shop. In fact on flyer day I can hit as many as 5 or 6 grocery stores to get what I need.
    What I save by doing this can sometimes be quite shocking. We have large freezers and pantries so we do buy in bulk.

    I am not saying that buying on-line is a bad thing. It works well for some folks, just not me. I like to have some control of what I am buying and sometimes like to actually see and hold the product I am buying as opposed to looking at it on a screen.

    Different strokes for different folks is the way to sum up this post.

    Keep up the good work on this site. Usually I love everything I read here but this time I just felt compelled to voice my opinion.

    • You didn’t mention where you live. Most stores honor another stores ad. That way you still get all your bargains without going to 4 or 5 stores. Just thought I’d mention that.

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