More consumers turn to Amazon to do their online shopping than anywhere else. According to a report by eMarketer, a market research company, Amazon’s share of e-commerce sales in the U.S. was expected to be a colossal 43.5% in 2017. EBay’s sales were the next highest with a share of 6.8%.
If you spend a lot of money shopping on Amazon every year, you might be missing out on opportunities to save. To help you maximize your savings potential, we’ve put together a list of nine savings hacks you can use when shopping on the website.
9 Amazon savings hacks you can use every day
Amazon is already a low-cost leader in online shopping, but using these nine hacks can help you squeeze even more savings out of your everyday purchases.
1. Use the warehouse
Amazon Warehouse is like a massive online clearance rack with many of the same items you can get on the main website. Here you’ll find a flurry of close-out sales, open-box discounts, and marked-down refurbished products.
“There’s a bad connotation with refurbished,” said Tracie Fobes, a personal finance expert and blogger for Penny Pinchin’ Mom. But she believes there shouldn’t be.
“Refurbished means an electronic has to go through a rigorous process to be checked before it can be sold,” she said. “It’s cleaned and everything is checked to make sure it works properly.” In some cases, you might even get a warranty.
2. Check the price history
One way Amazon encourages shoppers to buy now is by showing you a retail price and a discounted price. For example, here’s a smart TV that’s listed at $599.99 but offers a $200 discount with a final price of $399.99. Why wouldn’t you jump on that?
But if you visit Camelcamelcamel, a price-tracking website, you can see that the TV hasn’t been listed at $599.99 since it first debuted on the site almost a year ago. What’s more, the price has recently been as low as $369.99.
In this scenario, it’s likely that the price will drop again. So if you can wait to replace your current TV, you could save an extra $30.
3. Take the bribe to delay shipping
If you’re a Prime member, you automatically get free two-day shipping. But to save costs, Amazon offers incentives to delay your shipping a few days. In the past, I’ve been offered free shipping on Amazon Prime Pantry orders and a $1 credit for digital purchases and e-books.
It’s not a lot of savings, but if you don’t need your shipment until the no-rush delivery date, it’s still nice. I’ve gotten several 99-cent video rentals and Kindle books with no-rush shipping credits.
4. Abandon your shopping cart
If you’ve ever left something in your Amazon shopping cart, you might have received an email a week or two later reminding you that you never completed your purchase. If you wait a little longer, you might be offered a discount if it’s a third-party seller.
“It doesn’t often happen on Amazon, but there are rare instances where they want you to buy, so they’ll throw a discount your way,” said Fobes. “It’s always worth a try if you don’t need something right away.”
5. Flag late shipments
If you’re a Prime member, your two-day shipping benefit is guaranteed. If you ever get a shipment late, report it to Amazon. You might receive some form of compensation, such as a partial refund, a credit for future purchases, or a complimentary one-month extension of your Amazon Prime membership.
To automate the process, consider using the Paribus app. Once you connect your Amazon account, Paribus will track your shipments and automatically contact Amazon if one comes late. The app also tracks your Walmart.com purchases if you paid for guaranteed shipping.
6. Use all your Prime benefits
Arguably the biggest benefit you get from Amazon Prime is the free-shipping feature, especially if you shop a lot. But it’s far from the only valuable perk you get with membership.
“So many people look at the shipping, but Amazon Prime is so much more than that,” said Fobes. “You have photo storage, video, music, you can get early access to lightning deals. There are just so many perks that the $119 [annual] fee just goes far beyond the free shipping.”
For example, you don’t need to pay for photo storage if you can get it with Amazon for free. Also, you can get access to free books, magazines, and audiobooks with Prime Reading. Take some time to explore the perks you get with your Amazon Prime membership, and consider how they can save you in other ways than shopping.
7. Get the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card
It’s usually best to stay away from store credit cards, but the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card is a rare exception. The card offers:
- 3% cash back on Amazon purchases
- 2% cash back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores
- 1% cash back everywhere else
You can use your cash back as a credit on future purchases. Avoid this option, however, if you have issues with overspending.
“You have to have the money in your bank account at the time you use the card,” said Fobes. “Don’t think you can just pay it back when you get your paycheck. Your paycheck is never a guarantee, and you don’t want to accrue interest.”
8. Trade in your used stuff
If you have any used items that you no longer want or need, consider trading them in for Amazon gift cards. Amazon will even search your order history for eligible items and let you know what you might get if you trade in.
A few things to consider before you try to trade something in, though:
- The item must function perfectly.
- There can’t be any cracks or major scratches or other blemishes.
- You can’t trade it in if it’s not listed on the trade-in page.
To make sure you get the best return, however, compare the price Amazon offers with other ways to sell stuff online.
9. Go wild with coupons
The Amazon coupon page offers deals in most of its categories. You can filter by popularity, expiration date, and discount percentage, or you can search for a specific brand. While this might take a few extra minutes, you can save a lot over time if you make it a practice to check the page every time you shop.
Avoid getting carried away
Saving money when you’re shopping online can be exciting, but it can get out of hand if you allow it to. If you end up buying something that you don’t need because you got it at a discount, you still spent more than you would have if you hadn’t been offered the discount.
As you explore these savings hacks, focus on using them only on purchases you would have made with or without the savings opportunity. And if you use a credit card, make sure to pay off your balance in full each month. By doing these things, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll also avoid spending money unnecessarily.
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