How To Save Money on Things You Already Buy - Alice.com Review
Everyone these days is looking for a way to cut back their spending. "Every dollar counts" as the old saying goes... I read an article a while back on CNET about a new site that promised to save me money on the every day purchases I make. I was pretty skeptical at first, but a couple weeks ago I decided to dig up that link and see what they were talking about...
The site is Alice.com - what it claims to be is your source for common household goods you would normally have to go to the local store and buy every day, oh and by the way its prices are supposed to be cheaper too. How does this happen? It's because Alice.com connects you directly to the manufacturers and eliminates the retail middle man. Sound too good to be true? Well, I decided to check it out...
What I Was Looking For...
I approached Alice as a skeptical consumer. I had some very important questions before I even considered using the service. Number 1 was price. Yeah that's great if the products are all $0.50 cheaper than in the brick and mortar store, but if it's going to cost me $5.99 or more to get the good shipped to me that will eat into the savings pretty quickly. Alice.com addressed that problem though: Shipping is FREE. Always. Now that's appealing.
This piqued my interest, so I decided to take a look at per product pricing. Who cares if shipping is free if they charge a dollar extra on every product? To my surprise, this wasn't the case. I took some old grocery receipts from my local shopping experience and compared prices to Alice.com. Some items were cheaper, some weren't. I think the most I saved was about a buck on Tide liquid detergent. For the most part products were on the order of $0.10 to $0.20 cheaper. Doesn't sound like much, but add it up over time and over a bunch of products... Every dollar counts. Just a word of caution, some prices were higher... I like to get my fix on Nabisco's Wheat Thins... I was able to purchase the family size at my local store on sale, for cheaper than the regular size available on Alice. You might have to do some comparison shopping to see what your threshold is for certain products.
Also - there's no membership fee like popular brick and mortar stores that offer deep discounts on bulk purchases of products. Also, you don't have to buy products in bulk. You can buy them one at a time. Signing up at Alice.com is free.
OK - so pricing was pretty good... but what kind of products do they have? Their specialty is consumer products that are non-perishable. Don't expect to be finding milk, eggs, and bread on here. We're talking boxed food: cereal, breakfast bars, snacks, etc... we're also talking about common household cleaning supplies: paper towels, toilet paper, glass cleaner, toiletries such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, and razors. There's a lot more, but I think you get the picture. Now here's what I thought was really impressive. They weren't pushing store brand products, actually quite the contrary... Every product in there was name brand - Nabisco, Suave, Dove, Advil, Kellogg's, Quaker, and on and on...
So I took the bait...
So I shopped around a bit on there, and I liked what I saw as far as products and prices. One feature I found appealing was that the interface was very clean and intuitive. I liked that you could select your preferred products and store them... then when you want to buy them in the future, you simply click and drag them into your shopping cart on the page. Clean and simple. I attached a screenshot of what the products page looked like so you can check it out. It also allows you to schedule reminders for products, and track your budget spending on various categories. All in all the experience was a pleasure.
I made my first purchase:
Qty Item Price Coupon Total 1 Liquid Detergent Tide Detergent $8.06 $0.35 $7.71 1 Body Wash Suave Body Wash $1.97 $0.50 $1.47 1 Toothpaste Colgate Anticavity $3.14 $0.75 $2.39 1 Men's Deodorant Speed Stick $3.87 $1.00 $2.87 1 Suave Shampoo + Conditioner $2.06 $0.50 $1.56 Subtotal: $19.10 - Coupons: -$ 3.10 + Tax: $ 0.96 -------------------- TOTAL: $16.96
Not bad for products that I would normally have purchased at the store for a bit more than that... I didn't even go bargain shopping - I wanted to know what it would cost for me to buy the name brand products that I would normally buy. You could also shop by the best deals... Today I see on there: a 10-pack of Bic shavers, $1.05; Men's Speed Stick, $0.86; TAG Body Spray, $2.29. All significantly discounted.
So about shipping... it's free. Sometimes free means Slooooooow. That's not good - if I'm buying toilet paper, it's because I need it soon. I don't want to be borrowing paper out of the printer to take care of business. Not to worry, Alice.com says it should get there in 2-3 days. It got to me in 2, very well packaged, everything sealed. Even items that could be opened and re-sealed had an extra piece of security tape on the lids to show that they are a fully unused product. I liked that extra assurance.
What's the Catch?
Well, that's what I was looking for... how could a company possibly be profitable with bargain basement prices and FREE shipping? I found it as I was checking out... They have a minimum order policy. Each purchase needs to contain 6 items or more. You'll notice my first purchase was only 5 items as I tried it out. They'll let you slide the first time, but every time thereafter you need to hit the minimum purchase quantity threshold of 6 items.
Really, when you think about it... it's not that big of a deal. For me, a single guy living on his own, I find it a bit tougher to hit the 6 item mark, but with a little bit of foresight it shouldn't be a problem. I like the convenience of just jumping on the internet and having this stuff show up on my front door. No need for a late night run to CVS because I ran out of shaving cream and I forgot to buy it at the grocery store last week... I can just jump on the internet when I start running low and drop it into my cart. It's a pretty quick and painless.
Overall the experience was positive. I'd recommend you try it out, at least once. If you live in New York, California, or some other high cost of living part of the country, you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't check it out. You don't have much to lose except for a few minutes of your time while you explore their site: Alice.com. If you sign up via this link, you'll get $10 off your first $50 spent on the site. Pretty good deal if you ask me.
Full Disclosure: In case you were wondering if I get paid for this review... the answer is not directly. By signing up via my link, you'll get a few bucks and I'll get a few bucks - it's a win-win my opinion. If you really don't want me to get a couple bucks, and you don't care about the $10 that they're willing to give you for being referred, you can just type alice.com in your browser... it's free money though, so why would you?