An Unexpected Benefit of Amazon Prime's Free Shipping

You've probably heard of Amazon Prime, the paid annual membership program that gives its members fast and free shipping on nearly everything on Amazon.com. I started a free trial before the holidays this year. While it's been great to be able to buy a few DVDs and Christmas gifts without tacking on an extra shipping charge, that's not been the biggest benefit of my Amazon Prime account.

You know those household items you tend to run out of at the worst moments? Things like toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent and dish soap? They're the ones you usually forget to buy at the grocery store until it's too late. They're also available online on Amazon, and with Prime's free 2-day shipping, you can have them delivered to your door.

Picture this: As soon as you reach for that last roll of toilet paper, you can order another 12-pack from your smartphone without even getting up (you take your phone to the loo, don't you?). It will be at your door before the last roll runs out, and you probably spent less than if you'd bought it at the corner bodega.

Household items are often the same price or cheaper on Amazon than at your local grocery store. And if you're student without a car, or you use public transportation to get around for your normal shopping trip, you're saving yourself the hassle of dragging big, bulky items around on the subway or bus.

If you don't want to shell out $79 per year for Prime, you can still use the occasional free shipping deal to buy household necessities. Anytime you get an email or direct mail offer of free shipping, don't toss it in the trash. Hop online and spend 30 seconds checking out if there's something you need and you could save yourself a trip to the store. Plus, this page on coupon code mega site Retail Me Not features the latest free shipping deals across several online retailers (Target and Overstock are on the top of the list as I'm writing this).

Do you ever shop for your non-perishables online?

(Images: Stutterstock, Shutterstock)

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