Bargain shopping: Save money on Amazon with these tricks
If you like shopping online, then chances are you end up on Amazon pretty regularly. You can literally get anything there, from AA batteries to Zebra pens. And normally pretty quickly and at reasonable prices.
But if you use these tricks you'll save even more money.
1. Look for deals
Amazon has sales all year round and you can find some really good deals. Look for "Savings & Sales," "Deal of the day," and other similar parts of the site.
Plus, returns are cheaper. Under "Warehouse Deals" you'll find the products that customers have sent back. And you'll only pay a fraction of the original price. Usually all you have to worry about is the packaging being slightly damaged. Which often means you get an additional % off.
If you land at Amazon via a rebate website, then you'll also get a certain percentage of cash back. At the moment it's around 4% back on your purchases. Amazon changes which sites belong to their rebate system so it's smart to check regularly, but you can get some good ideas here.
And finally, Amazon regularly has special offers where you can save significantly. Sometimes it's a "Buy 3 for the price of 2" but there are lots of others. Just keep a lookout in the article description. These kinds of offers turn up most often with music and computer games.
2. Get smart about customer reviews
Have you ever read a dubious review on Amazon? Take a look at fakespot.com to find out if a review is credible or if it might be phony. You could save time and money just by double-checking to make sure you don't get something that isn't right for you.
3. Compare prices — really, do it
You can order a lot of products on Amazon in different colors or versions. If you're flexible, then check which is the best deal. Sometimes you can save a lot just by getting a different color.
Like other online stores, Amazon uses a dynamic pricing system — that's how they analyze the market moment-to-moment and push prices to your upper limit. And one of the factors in their algorithm is which browser you're using, so it can be worth a minute to look at the same product from several different browsers (such as Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari).
They also show different prices depending on what device you're on. The reason? Customers searching on a mobile device make faster decisions and compare less. So they raise the prices when you're looking on your phone or tablet.
Take a little more time and a closer look — it'll be worth it.
4. Get free shipping — every time
If you're spending less than the limit and are getting ready to add hefty shipping fees, there's a website where you can search for something that will make up exactly the difference to get you to $35. Someone has thought of everything.
5. Amazon coupons and promo codes are everywhere
Check this out: when you put things in your shopping cart but don't buy them, just eventually close the window instead, then within a few days Amazon will send you an email. You'll get an automated message with a friendly reminder that you "forgot" to complete your purchase. And very often, they'll add a coupon to the email to make your decision to buy that much more palatable. A little patience goes a long way.
If you keep your eyes open online, you can collect quite a few free Amazon coupons elsewhere too. For instance, there are all kinds of organizations online that will give you a free promo code or coupon from Amazon just for signing up or registering.
So scavenge for coupons: it's a harmless way to save a few bucks.
6. Amazon Prime can be worth it
If you shop on Amazon a lot, it could actually be worth it to pay for an Amazon Prime membership. (One advantage, at least, will be that they stop trying to get you to join.)
This program saves you on shipping when you buy products under $35 but it offers other advantages: in some areas you'll even get same day delivery, plus you'll have access to Amazon's music and video streaming service. So it could pay to look at your last couple of months of purchases and see if you spent more on shipping and other fees than the Prime membership costs.
You can also share your membership with other members of the household so the price per person goes down.
If you're a member and they don't deliver the products you've ordered within two days, you can contact customer service. As compensation they're supposed to give you a free month of Prime service tacked on to your regular membership. Another advantage.
AND if you're looking for secure, permanent storage for videos or pics from your phone, you'll have even more uses for Amazon Prime. Here's their storage unit, open for service.
7. Students, wedding planners, families: Amazon has a program for nearly everyone
Now students, you may not have the income to be spending a lot on Amazon, so don't let a good deal tempt you if it's not the right time.
But if you need to do some shopping and you're already on Amazon a lot, as a student you can take advantage of quite an offer: six months of Amazon Prime for free.
Not the way we usually think of saving money, but a wedding registry is pretty essential if you don't want ten food processors and twenty mismatched sets of sheets.
Like many other big retailers, Amazon brings it all together so your family and friends can see what you need and offers them the savings and convenience of getting it sent straight to you.
Amazon has also set up a partner program called Amazon Family, connecting you with sales, offers, and rebates on products that young families often need (hello, diapers!).
Yet another way to save time and more than a few bucks if there are babies or kids in the house.
8. Tracking prices
You should have TheTracktor.com bookmarked if you shop frequently on Amazon: they'll let you know whether a product is at its lowest price or suggest waiting until it goes down. Particularly for larger acquisitions, you can save quite a bit this way.
camelcamelcamel.com is another great price tracker specifically for Amazon, which lets you set price limits on certain items. It then alerts you via email when a product has dropped to your desired price. It's too convenient.
9. Save on regular purchases
Speaking of convenience, Amazon offers major savings (up to 15%) when you get a subscription on everyday items that you have to repurchase regularly. They'll automatically send them to you at the intervals of your choice and you can cancel your subscription whenever you want.
10. Delivery delay? Get alternate products
Amazon is obsessed with customer service. Take advantage.
If it looks like a delivery is going to arrive too late, i.e. after the date when you need the product, contact a customer service agent and let them know. Usually they'll help you out and even send you a substitute or alternate product — and usually the next day.
You might not save on the original purchase but don't miss the chance to reap savings on something else!
11. Think outside the box — or country
Amazon has sites all over the world and they ship internationally. Especially when you're looking for something in particular, maybe something harder to find, it's worth a look at other countries' sites. (Amazon Canada and UK could be your first stops)
But sometimes there's even significant savings on regular stuff. You can log in with your original account, you might just have to pay a little extra in shipping. But given what you can save, especially on a rare or big ticket item, the extra minute or two will pay off.
Use these tricks and share them with your friends to save a little time and money. And we all know, it adds up quickly — a little can go a long way!